- - - 7/22/2009 - - -

Kitadake Photo Gallery

Filed under: — Andy @ 9:27 pm

The Kitadake Photo Gallery is now up!

- - - 7/21/2009 - - -

Sunrise at Kitadake

Filed under: — Andy @ 5:40 pm

Use your mouse to pan around

- - - 7/20/2009 - - -

Kitadake - day 3

Filed under: — Andy @ 10:09 pm

Day 3. We woke up very early, way before the sun stared to rise to see that the rain and clouds have disappeared. The stars and the milky way were extremely clear and beautiful. We ate a big breakfast and set off to summit the mountain before the sunrise. Our goal for the day was to not only climb Kitadake, but also to make it to the top of Ainodake, the next mountain along the ridge and Japan’s 4th tallest mountain.

We made it to the top and eagerly awaited the sunrise…

The three of us at the very top of Kitadake.

3193 meters and one of the greatest views I have ever had.

The next task - climb along the ridge to Ainodake. Unfortunately, it takes a lot more up down climbing and a lot more time to get there.

Along the way, Japan’s 4 tallest mountains can be seen:

1) Mt Fuji. Also in the picture is a very rare mountain bird called the "Raicho”.

2) Kitadake. Eating lunch with the mountain in the background.

3) A bit far but it really sticks out. Yarigatake

4) Ainodake. We finally made it to the summit.

3189 meters, and another spectacular view.

Now time was running out and we had to start heading down. Probably the most painful thing my legs have experienced in a very long time.

- - - 7/19/2009 - - -

Kitadake - day 2

Filed under: — Andy @ 9:51 pm

Day 2. We got up with the sunrise for an early start up the mountain. After the morning breakfast and hot tea, we started our climb up the steeper sections of the mountain.

Halfway up, we entered the clouds. The rain started to get worse and the higher we went up the wind also got stronger.

When we finally made it to the ridge, the wind was almost dangerously strong.


Wind on Kitadake (avi[xvid] - 3.8MB) - until I can stream it somehow.


Due to the wind and rain, we decided to take refuge in the mountain hut until the next morning.

- - - 7/18/2009 - - -

Kitadake - day 1

Filed under: — Andy @ 9:44 pm

Day 1 of a 3 day backpacking trip to Kitadake, Japan’s second highest mountain. In our group was my friend Tatsuya along with one of his coworkers. Kitadake is in the Southern Japanese Alps on the border of Yamanashi and Nagano, and although Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan Kitadake is a bit more difficult to climb. The weather for day one was a bit rainy, but still not bad weather for climbing.

Me, Mr. Kino, and Tatsuya

One were over the suspension bridge the hiking starts.

We each had 3 days of food and supplies in our backpacks.

Once we got to the first checkpoint all of the good tent spots were already taken, so we had to set up our tent on the only flat place left, the remaining snow. Needless to say, sleeping on snow, even with a mat, is very very cold.

- - - 7/12/2009 - - -

Okinawa Revisited - part 2

Filed under: — Andy @ 9:37 pm

For the second day we went up to Nago to see the Churaumi Aquarium and Pineapple park. Kokusai street also hasnt changed much since I left.

Churaumi Aquarium

At the aquarium

A friendly sea turtle

A not so friendly lionfish

The big whale shark tank. I had seen this many times when I was in Okinawa, but still I am amazed when I see it.


- - - 7/11/2009 - - -

Okinawa Revisited - part 1

Filed under: — Andy @ 5:16 am

Since I still dont have a job and my visa will expire at the end of the month, I decided to go back and revisit Okinawa once more before I may have to leave Japan. It was also a good time to go and visit my ;) friend. The first place I went was Chatan to see how it has changed or not changed in the year and a half since I left.

My home for a year - Chatan

Well, I am definitely back in Okinawa again…

On the right is Ken and my old apartment. On the left, where there was nothing, is now some giant new apartment complex under construction.

Heading off to the sea wall, it was low tide so I was able to walk around the tide pools. The two buildings in the background were finally finished after being under construction the entire time I was in Okinawa.

The famous, although I only went there once, Transit Cafe was still there.

American Village also hasnt changed at all.


- - - 7/7/2009 - - -

Tanabata Sushi

Filed under: — Andy @ 5:19 am

July 7th is the Japanese Tanabata Festival. Some friends and I had a small party and made "chirashi-zushi”…

- - - 7/4/2009 - - -

July 4th

Filed under: — Andy @ 3:21 pm

It’s July 4th! … Only one more month until my visa expires again :(