#020 – SAJIKI-GA-TAKE
Kumogahata: someone in line to the Imperial Throne was cast out into that neck of the Kitayama woods a long time ago. Underhand court maneuverings and all that. He took to the monastic life, that vanquished soul, founded a temple and dedicated a shrine to his dead pet chicken, or so the story goes…something along those lines at least…maybe…well, there was a chicken involved anyway, I know that much.
Could have been a duck…like I said, it was a long time ago.
Though, I’d wager a case of sake it wasn’t a budgie.
In more recent times the bus run out of Kyoto had been suspended and I’m not really sure much else has happened out there in between…well, apart from Sajiki making it onto the Kansai Hyakumeizan roll of honour of course and I think I heard a whisper the Imperial family of more recent incarnations pops up out there to visit one of the local temples. I assume that’s quite the occasion for the townsfolk. Maybe the honourable guests even stop by the hen shrine and pay their respects to their long departed ancestor. The monk I mean; not the chook. Better late than never, right? He’s enshrined there too now apparently.
So, with the bus run scuppered we rented a car, cranked the air con up in defiance of the morning sultriness and headed for the hills as suit and tied salarymen and dolled up office ladies sweated in the streets on their ways to their works.
We’d promised ourselves a ten mountain summer. Having taken care of Jubu and Myoken-yama already, the heat was on to bag eight more peaks in the remaining two and a half weeks of our mid year break. Better said than done, as things turned out. After the climb up Sajiki, where along a forested ridge trail we were caressed by the most refreshing of summer breezes, blowing in off mounting thunderheads to the north, our ‘Summer of Summits’ devolved into a ‘Natsu of Nothingness’ where reading and snoozing and ice creams and boozing on the living room tatami held sway. The mercury wedged itself in the thermometer just under forty and the barometer sailed off into uncharted territory, somewhere in the 150 percent range, or so it felt. And even then, the only precipitation in a relentless three weeks of heat was the of the variety that dribbled off our limp, bedraggled frames.
Obviously bodily fluids required constant replenishment. Booze was the answer.
I blamed my over indulgence on climate change and grew a global warming gut.
Ah, so much for the hills. ‘Promises, promises,’ and all that…