Tours on Golden Week

Golden Week (GW), one of a few of Japan’s holiday periods where we have a national holiday on 29 Apr followed by 3 holidays in a row in the beginning  of May. And when Saturday and Sunday are located between (or the beginning/end of) these holidays, we Japanese people can enjoy a longer holiday, that could go on for a week or up to 10 days. And many office workers are ‘allowed’ to use their paid holidays to make it a long holiday, then touristic spots get packed.

29 Apr – Showa Day (Former Emperor’s (1901-1989) birthday)
03 May – Constitution Day
04 May – Greenery Day
05 May – Children’s Day

Though Governors of big cities insisted that people should not go out during GW to prevent the spread of COVID-19, people are fed up with staying at home!

Fortunately, I ran a couple of tours to Takachiho Gorge and Mt Aso during Golden Week this time. The first one was on 3rd May, in the middle of GW. What I saw there at Takachiho Gorge and Mt Aso was lots of tourists! Not only Japanese but also some foreigners who should be living in Japan were seen here and there. I had expected that people would not go out being scared of the further spread of the virus, but they didn’t seem to be worried about that. Yes, we are Japanese who are well disciplined not to bother anyone around. WE believe we can get through this by wearing a mask and frequent hand washing, until the vast majority of us get vaccinated.

03 May – Takahiho & Mt Aso tour

The second tour was run on 6 May, which was for a family.

Shoot me an email or text massage. And I’ll take you on a great tour.

Email: schingo.tk@gmail.com
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LINE: Hashizaki Schingo

A couple of tours done in March

I am alive! And I’ve been safe and healthy here.

In March, I was lucky enough to have run a couple of tours for 2 foreigner-groups who live in Japan. A 2-day Gokanosho tour and a Takachiho & Mt Aso tour.

Gokanosho tour

 

Takachiho & Mt Aso tour

Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to do any tour in April though, I’m supposed to do a couple of  Takachiho & Mt Aso tours in May.

I haven’t got vaccinated yet, but I’ve been very careful not to get infected  with COVID by wearing a mask and washing my hands frequently. Luckily enough, we haven’t had anyone tested positive to COVID here in Gokanosho (approx. 250 people).

If you would like to join a guided tour, Text/Call me. I am available here. I would be pleased to be of help to you.

R.I.P. Eddie Van Halen

One of the most influential rock guitarist, Eddie Van Halen passed away on the 6th Oct. I have not been strongly influenced by his guitar play, in other words, I am not capable of playing the guitar very well to get influenced by his amazing guitar play.

When I first listened to VAN HALEN, I was 16 yo in high school, 1992. And the album I first listened to was “F@U#C%K” (For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge), released in 1991. What a cool album title!

I must say, I grew up with this album in terms of improving my English speaking skills. I used to sing the songs of this album looking at the lyrics on the musical score that I bought for trying to copy Eddie’s play, which ended up failure. Anyway, this album helped me a lot and became my “Van Halen album”.

12 years later, I finally discovered VAN HALEN with David Lee Roth, which is the original formation of the band. One of my colleagues at that time sold me a set of guitar, guitar amp and effects unit at a really low price (only 35,000 yen! = 330 US dollars). And he was a Van Halen fan, who triggered me to listen to classic Van Halen albums.

Since then I have been a fan of Van Halen of both eras with Dave Lee Roth and Sammy Hager. When I want to be feeling happy, I’d hear some songs off of DLR era such as “Panama”, “Unchained” and so on. And when I feel like being more serious, I’d hear some SH songs such as “Dreams”, “Right Now” and so on.  I had never covered any of their songs until the lockdown period this year, I had the chance to do it for the first time because of the “self-isolation period” at last.  And this time, I’d dedicate my guitar cover to Eddie. Requiescat in pace.

 

Talking a bit of Japan’s politics

August is about to be over. It was really hot and less rainy, unlike this July when we had a lot more rains than usual years. Everything is worse this year, I believe this year 2020 is the worst for my 44-year-life.  We have had COVID, business depression (to come), natural disasters and so on…

The only one good thing happened recently for me was that we couldn’t host the Olympic games in Tokyo this year. You might say “What are you talking about? You should be happy if you have it for your business!” Yes, that’s true, but our government used to aim to have 40 million foreign tourists visit Japan in 2020 and Tokyo Olympics 2020 was supposed to be a trigger to it. My point is that 40 million would be obviously too much for our country, to begin with. Our government focused only on the number of tourists, not the profit from them and quality of businesses. We had around 30 million foreign tourists in 2019, which was considered successful for the government and a few business people. But some of us know many of those who were making quite a lot of money here in Japan were Chinese business people who don’t follow our law or pay taxes to our government. And unfortunately Japan didn’t face this problem but faced people like us and control our small businesses strictly. I’d say this is corruption of power in the government, by those who stay under the umbrella of PM Abe. PM Abe had a real strong leadership with clear and understandable policies, but they all ended up being abused by his FRIENDS. Now he is going to resign soon for his chronic disease, Ulcerative Colitis, that once forced him to resign from his first position as PM and Cabinet in 2005.

I don’t blame him, he tried to be a great leader with a strong leadership, who we rarely had before him. But also he triggered the change of Japan’s society in the worse way, the great difference between the poor and the rich, by letting his friends act freely. Power corrupts easily during a long-term administration, as we saw in history. I learnt it by deriving knowledge from Chinese history such as “Records of the Grand Historian of China”.

Road work

I’ve been working at a local construction company, on removing dirt from the roads. Most of the inhabitants in Gokanosho are safe, but there are some who have been living in shelter with neighbours together since they had lost the roads to their homes due to the landslides caused by torrential rains that happened on 4th July.

It will take a long way to remove all the dirt and fix or build & repave the roads, as they are a small local company. So I would like to be of help to them.

End of the rainy season

We are all safe here in Gokanosho!

Thank you so much for who sent me warm messages! We have no problem now and living normal lives (almost).

At last, it seems the rainy season will come to an end soon, hopefully the day after tomorrow (29 July) if the weather forecast is not telling a lie. Normally, we have the rainy season starting from early June and finishing around early or middle of July. But it appears to be shifting later and bringing more heavy rains that fall intensively in short period of time, which can bring us floods and landslides.

I did some forestry work until the end of last week and will do similar work this week. It’s a long way to the top if I wanna Rock n’ roll!

 

Forestry

Lately, I have been working in a mountain of Gokanosho as a forestry worker with Mr Ogata, a.k.a. “Lord Ogata”, who is also an innkeeper of Sakura-so and whose ancestors had been the rulers of one of the villages of Gokanosho. I was lucky to find a job easily thanks to him. He has been running his own forestry business for many years along with his accommodation Sakura-so and needed help to finish his forestry work as soon as possible and I happened to be there.

We have been working on mowing the grass on the steep hills of a mountain, where its elevation is around 1,400 meters high above the sea level.

Mountain peaks of Gokanosho
Momigi, one of the villages of Gokanosho
Me, just finished working

 

Time to Play the Guitar!

I’ve been playing the guitar since I was in high school. I love Rock music, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal in particular. This time, I decided to play some tunes off of each of 10 rock albums that influenced me the most.

The followings are 3 of 10.

月光蟲 (Gekkochu)
筋肉少女帯 (a.k.a. “King Show”)


Machine Head – Deep Purple


The Song Remains the Same – Led Zeppelin


 

Recent work 3

Now I am a construction worker!

I worked for a neibourhood construction company last week. The president of the company suggested me to work at a construction site for until they finish building a safe passage before they start their roadwork.

We finished this work on Friday 15 and the construction is expected to be restarted 2- 3 months later after the telegraph pole above the safety passage in the above picture is relocated. So I might not be possibly coming back to this site again.

What am I going to do next? I’m excited!

Recent work 2

Off to Mt Shiratori, one of the neighbourhood mountains in Gokanosho, to cut the bamboo with a mower. Mt Shiratori is a very good mountain for beginner trekkers to climb where there’s no big ups or downs throughout the trail from the start to the peak (1,450 m – 1,650 m ).

Having finished this work ( I had my wife together for this work ) earlier than we had expected, we went on to see if “Yama-shakuyaku” (= peony) are already blooming, which usually bloom around the middle of May.

Some of them are in bloom but many are not. It seems they will come in full bloom next week as average years. We, in Japan, are not in lockdown due to our constitution that forbids us to restrict our rights of freedom. Therefore, our government is not allowed to force us to self-restrict to stay home in order to stop the virus from widespreading. So there will be some trekkers who would like to see those beautiful flowers soon, and that is the reason for my work this time.