I tried my hand at a little mountaineering this weekend.
Since i couldn't get a ride to go skiing with Lara and Shane, i was in a dour mood all saturday. Some may well know that i'm quite the sourpuss when i don't get to do what i want, particularly since the weekends here have a sort of precious quality that any real job lends them. I decided then that on Sunday i would attempt to find my own snow to ski down. So, I loaded up my skis, boots and poles into my backpack and headed up the mountain on my bike.
I've become inured to the weird looks from the locals here. I pretty much get stares from people whenever i'm anywhere but at work, in the building. The looks are always very discreet, but occasionally you'll catch people looking, or more frequently, purposefully not looking at you. It's become so regular that i have started to give less and less attention to how I look in public, figuring, "I already look ridiculous, why bother trying to look slightly less so?" I've taken to leaving my helmet on in stores, not taking off the pants bands that keep my ankles from snagging the chain on my bike and I'll even leave on the little yellow gaiters that i've begun to use when the pants bands weren't enough. At any rate, i pretty much expect japanese people to look at me funny.
You definitely get some funny looks when you're wearing tights, carrying skis on your back and riding up a mountain in the snow, probably regardless of what country you're in. I certainly have had that experience.
My aim was to cycle as far as i could and then hike up the mountain further to try to get to this patch of snow that you can see from our apartment. No problem really, there was a logging road that allowed me easy access to the base of the snow field, which was unfortunately almost completely unskiiable because it was only a snowfield in winter, in summer i'ts full of huge boulders which were only mostly covered with snow now. I hiked abotu halfway up and then decided that it was stupid, so i tried to ski down, crashed once (a minor one) and then i skiied down the logging road back to my bike.
Overall, it was a rather abortive expedition. Now if i had some snowshoes...