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Monday, October 10, 2016

Why I Didn't Go Camping In Japan

Just a short note before I get back to my surprising long list of Japanese volcanoes that I am working on for no other reason than it allows me to learn a lot about volcanoes.

I'm in the process of writing up on Japan's National Parks... also a surprisingly long list... anyhow, I have tossed in a personal story within one of the published articles (HERE) about the perils of pooping in the woods and about portaging without first drilling holes in the canoe to see where we were going.

In my youth, I had gone camping plenty of times. It usually rained, because even before Japan, rain clouds would follow me whenever I traveled. The clouds would usually clear up for night time and then reappear during the day.

While I never did enjoy much of the camping, I did once drink a case of IPA (Labatts India Pale Ale) that I bought because I thought it might taste good. Don't be a wanker. Anyone who tells you that the 2016 popularity of the beer is because it tastes good, is lying. It tastes good in your mouth, and then when you swallow there's a horrible bitter aftertaste. It sucked for me as a 20-something and it sucks now. Hipster-doofuses wearing stupid hats they think are classy, are to blame.

But yeah... I drank a beer an hour staying up all night never actually getting buzzed. I drank it because I was alone at the campsite after my dumb buddies had decided to go canoeing early in the morning allowing me to sleep in. They didn't come back for a day, mumbling some lame excuse about getting lost while portaging. You only think I'm making this up, but I'm not. This happened about one year before I went to Japan, while my portaging incident occurred one year after I returned from Japan.

Maybe I was buzzed. I probably should have been more panicked about the disappearance of three White friends in the wilds of Ontario's parkland leaving their handsome Brown buddy with the great butt alone in the woods.

Not knowing how to cook then, or how to start a fire - apparently there's a trick to how you rub two sticks together (they have to be dry, and one of them should be a matchstick) - I survived by eating raw hotdogs. There may be a reason why it's tough to nowadays find pork hotdogs.

Another camping trip, I awoke to discover that I had not properly  put one of my contact lenses away in its saline-filled case, slicing it in half. I don't know if you are aware, but I am blind without my contacts. My buddy Brad graciously drove me home in my Mazda 323 so I could pick up another pair and my glasses, and I drove back at some outstanding speed that the car is not supposed to hit, passing a Porshe 911 at some speed over 180kph. The Mazda 323 had something like 87 horsepower, so to obtain that speed, I had to stand on the accelerator for about an hour until a hurricane blew at it from behind while I barreled downhill... not really... my mechanic never understood what was up with that 1986 Mazda 323, but all I can tell you is that at 120kph, the automatic transmission then hit another gear carrying it to 140kph+.

I think my sleeping bag had a rock under it. Welcome to camping in the Japanese mountains. Really.
Another time - I think just before I went to Japan, and again with my buddies whom I went with when they got lost and I got buzzed - my body decided to shut down after it decided it did not want to use the outdoor john at the campsite. I blocked myself up for an entire week of no No. 2. A splendid time was had when I arrived home.

Rain, crappy food, leaky air mattresses, wet sleeping bags, waterproof tents no longer waterproof, idiot birds chirping at 4AM, contact lens snafu, no crap, crap, no toilet paper, portage or not to portage and crappy beer, and, of course, an innate ability to drown worms, and no women, the only cool thing I ever encountered  while camping was being able to see the milky way up in the night sky.

There was also the problem of one of the guys snoring like a jet plane with asthma, but I never heard him, as I always slept well when not drinking IPA.

Excluding that one portage trip after I arrived back from Japan, I never went camping again.

In Japan, by the way, there was an opportunity to go on a camping trip in the wilds of north Japan all the way to Hokkaido with a couple of Japanese guys. While it was true I had no interest in finding out if a bear does poop in the woods (I know I did, so I figured they did, too), I was armed with all those happy memories from back in Toronto, and decided to pass.

When they came back to my town of Ohtawara-shi, we hooked up and I discovered that the weather was perfect. They shared with me a stew they made of the bear they had shot, as well as another meal of a snake they had killed.

And while I might have enjoyed the meals, I am glad I didn't have to kill or be killed, because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be writing this blog right now.

I can see the newspaper headlines about the Canadian accidentally shot by his Japanese buddies because of his excessively loud snoring.

If you are wondering how I ever managed to sleep with a woman considering the racket I used to make (I don't snore anymore thanks to my sleep apnea C-Pap machine), the trick is to tire her out first.

Yes, writing about exploding volcanoes and all these Japanese National Parks brings back such vivid memories.

You're welcome.

IPA sucks,
Andrew Joseph
PS: Since getting married, I have not even come close to getting drunk, and aside from the sake my buddy Rob buys for me far too often--generous guy--I have on average about six beers a year, rather than a night. Shouldn't I be losing weight? No... apparently you have to not eat too many hot dogs, too.

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