It has seemed to me for a while, an armchair international economics enthusiast, that China's trade policies seem hostile. In a short post, Krugman exposes the brass tacks of the US-China trade imbalance. I've been intrigued since I heard it said secondhand that foreign cars face a 100% tariff. No, that's not a typo.
Just got back from a trip to the mountains. It was an emotional and physical trial, but in the end I came out feeling positive and life-affirmed.
We took the first express out of Shinjuku to Nirasaki and then hopped a cab and got off at 甲斐駒神社 kaikoma jinja and started the ascent. We climbed for about 7 hours and 1000 meters that first day.
We tented at a tiny hut whose manager was surly and quite drunk when we arrived and consequently refused to sell us beer despite having a huge tub of spring water-cooled asahi cans out in front of God and everybody. We filled up on water and went to the tent site.
The next morning we broke down our tents and resumed climbing. After three or so hours we neared the top of 甲斐駒. Within spitting distance of the summit Mark lost his balance and also got his foot caught between two rocks. Down he went forehead-first onto a huge rock. Ish was closest and called out to him and I, behind, found a place to put down my pack. I fished out the first aid ziplock and hurried over. Mark was using one of his 軍手 gloves to put pressure on the cut. Long and short of it is that he had a deep, five inch long cut running up his forehead. Somehow he soldiered on for the next three and a a half hours to the next hut.
A really cool guy named Takemoto runs the hut we went to. He took off the bandage we'd applied and came to the same conclusion as me and Ish: Mark needed stitches. We made arrangements for a potential meet the next day and saw Mark off as Takemoto drove him to a place to get a taxi. Ish and I (after quite a few beers from the vending machine) pitched our tents in the woods near the hut.
The next day we got up, broke down our tents and (after breakfast) headed to the next hut at which there was meant to be cell reception. Upon getting there we found out that only Docomo phones work there and since both Ish and I use AU, we were S O L. They let us use their phone and we called Mark. Turns out that he'd gotten 15 double stitches and had been forbade to go back to the mountains. He was en route back to Tokushima.
Chris and I headed for 仙丈小屋.
One of my worst days hiking ever. 4 hours of very steep climbing. The one good point was that we arrived early in the day. We paid for sleeping berths and then got some beers. A plate of curry and a couple of refills later and it was dinner time. We chatted with an older couple we had seen earlier in the day. After dinner we also got entangled with some retired Nagoya cops and the chattier of them and Ish had a long talk about the student protests in the 60s and 70s.
It rained off and on through the night and was still raining when we woke the next day. We headed off to summit 仙丈ヶ岳 around 6:30 and made good time to the top. About 40 minutes after the summit we realized that we'd gone the wrong way and then had to backtrack to 仙丈. Shortly thereafter we hit what was my favorite bit of trail.
It was a gradual downhill and included some spectacular mountain views before become forest glens with wildflowers. Idyllic. After that there was some technically difficult stretches before a descent to ryômata sansô .
Ryômata is run by Hoshi-san, who has been up there for 30 years.
She and her two cats hold down a somewhat unpopular fort. Which is actually nice because it's beautiful. The hut is beside a river and is protected from the winds by two mountains. It's bear country, but otherwise a more peaceful place you couldn't imagine. Ish and I rolled sevens here in that Hoshi let us have the entire second floor to ourselves.
The next day was more climbing. We climbed just shy of an hour to get back up to the main trail from ryômata. Then we climbed about 3 hours to the top of 間ノ岳. From there it was a gradual downslope to 北岳山荘. We talked with a lot of the folks we met at the hut and there was a pervasive party atmosphere.
The next day we summited Kita and headed out. About two-thirds of the way down the typhoon effect caught up with us and we got rained on for the last two hours or so. A drowsy bus ride late and we were on a train to a hot spring.