It was well into the new year and, being true to my Jamaican roots, I was rather fed up with winter. The final straw came while running the Osaka half marathon at the end of January–there was more than a touch of madness braving 21 kilometres of frosty headwinds in running tights and a T-shirt. Winter activity is certainly not one of my strong points, so I thought it would be a few months yet before I found myself outside again for any serious length of time.
But when Wes invited me for what would be my first snow hike–a half day jaunt up Mt Miune in Mie prefecture–I did not flatly refuse as one might have expected. Recently, Osaka had been suffocating, and I found in his invitation not a laughable offer to test my loathing of wintry things, but rather a chance to escape the tedious dramas that were crushing me.
Merino wool socks, merino base layer, a fleece sweater, thermal underwear, gortex boots, a gortex windbreaker, a down-filled jacket, Japanese high tech hand warmers and a thermos of hot water. Also: good company and a thawing dip in a nearby hot spring at the end of a very good hike. There is no more to be said, really.