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.
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.
Given this situation due to the COVID-19, schools, universities and colleges are closed and big events are requested to refrain from holding by Prime Minister Abe. And we have lost most of foreign tourists who visit other countries.
However, I still had some foreign tourists who wanted to join my tours and I successfully ran all those tours and they enjoyed it.
Here in Japan, we have relatively fewer infected and dead compared to many other countries, thanks to their hard work who work at medical centres and our efforts of keeping hands clean with soap and alcohol and wearing a mask when go out. Actually, I haven’t got infected though I have had the chances to go visit touristic places.
We have alcohol bottles set at many entrances of restaurants / convenience stores / department stores / any public buildings for hand washing. I would like to tell you that this is considered to be the way we Japanese have practiced to keep ourselves clean and healthy. And I believe this is the best way to protect yourself and people around you. Follow us.
Let me show you how I enjoyed running tours in February and March despite this situation, as follows.
JMA, Japan Meteorological Agency, announced the rainy season was over on 13 July in the southern Kyushu and 20 July in the northern Kyushu. We are happy to welcome the beginning of summer! But be careful, these days summers are getting much hotter than what they used to be. In my childhood, summers were like 30 – 32 degrees Celsius (86 – 90 F) at the highest air temperature, but in the recent years it can reach 36 – 38 C (97 – 100 F) . So those of you who are planning to visit Japan should be well prepared for the heat, you can get heatstroke. To prevent it, you should wear a hat / cap, sip water / sport drink, take a break in the shade once in a while, for example. Moreover, it’s so muggy, steaming hot until the mid September. You should also prepare spare clothes.