Letters from Japan – Summer 2021

Good morning,

Tokyo Olympics is now over. Hopefully the wild fires in my country are now almost over or relatively under control. It was not until I moved to Japan that I could truly appreciate the already existing impact of the climate change. It is often reported that Asia will be among the hardest hit regions in terms of the climate change and one can easily see why when living in an island nation like Japan where ones life is already completely dominated by the weather events. Summer is dangerously hot and humid and the end of summer/early fall comes with the typhoon season, which often leads to nationwide transportation interruption. Winter is probably the calmest season in terms of the weather events. Soon after the sakura – spring season, the entire country (except for Hokkaido) enters the rainy season that often brings life threatening  floods. The rainy season here is nothing like that I have experienced before. It is very different than the rain in Southeast Asia where there is this constant battle between downpours and rainbow displaying sunny skies. Here in Japan, it rains for almost six weeks non-stop testing ones psychological strength and love for indoors. It is troubling to see that even a country like Japan – with exceptional level of experience in terms of the natural disasters and relatively ideal financial conditions – is having difficulties dealing with the consequences of changing weather patterns. It has been a very difficult year for the entire world and one can only hope that the only silver lining in all of this is the increased level of awareness about our impact on our World and what it will take to protect it.

After this rather grim introduction following six months of silence, time to share the travel & blog related updates. I recently went on a hiking trip to Hokkaido – the largest, least populated and northernmost island of Japan. It was my first summer trip to Hokkaido where I spent days hiking in Daisetsuzan National Park, which is also known as the bear country. It was a little nerve wracking to hike in the bear country even though I knew that no fatal encounter took place between humans and black grizzlies that call Daisetsuzan home in the official history of this largest national park in Japan. But the overall beauty of the trails, the variety of the alpine flowers and the welcoming mood that the park passes on to the hikers under sunny weather conditions (a whole different story under rainy and windy weather) make up for it. This is my first post from the trip where I summarized my first hike in the region – the loop hike from Asahidake to Naka Dake Onsen.

Another relatively recent hiking trip the end of June where I hiked an active volcano with a group of eight other hikers from Tokyo. It is a relatively short (six hours roundtrip) and non-technical hike but you never get a break from climbing so expect to have a good work out by the end of the day warranting a quick trip to a nearby onsen. I wrote more about this short trip – Hiking Yake Dake.

ome other recent posts on the blog (since I last sent this newsletter about six months) include my favorite hikes in Japan, hiking Mt. Miyanoura in Yakushima and introduction of my neighbourhood park in Tokyo – Mizumoto Park, which is beautiful in every season. One rare non-hiking related post is about Enoura Observatory (located in about 1.5 hours away from Tokyo) by photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, which is a very interesting place if you have some extra days during your trip to Tokyo.

That is all the blog related updates from me and as always, I would love to hear back from you even if you only have time for one sentence. 

All the best,
Burcu

P.S: You can follow this link for more Letters from Japan.

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