A glorious sunset at Gifu castle

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A couple dressed in black and holding a baby walked down the hill towards us. A few other people were milling about dressed in black. We tentatively approached them, feeling a little awkward, and asked them for directions. They helped us as best they could, and then went on their way to their car.

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A minute or two later, a car hooted at us, and the window was wound down. They came back! Because of the baby they could only give 2 of us a lift at a time, but they really wanted to help us! So 2 of us hopped in the car with the wife, while the husband and the other 2 began walking in the same direction.

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After she dropped us off, the lady drove back to collect the other 2 of our group, and the husband ended up walking the whole way..! Such incredible hospitality. So very sweet of them to help the slightly lost gaijins!

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A hike to the top

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I am surrounded by mountains, and every ten days we hike across the forest (Taiga) and climb up to a cross on the top of one of the mountains. I say climb, and I mean it. There are lots of big boulders and rocks.

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It’s not easy, but not too difficult either. At the top, it makes me feel very small. It’s so quiet. And there is nothing but mountains, trees and silence for a very long way.

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Of course, we are the main characters in our own lives, but just one tiny part in the grand scheme of things.

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I’ve been up 3 times, and the last 2 times, even though I kept reapplying factor 50 suncream I got quite sunburt. Mountain sun is strong…

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“I love the mountains, I love the rolling hills, I love the flowers, I love the daffodils, I love the fireside when all the lights are low… Boom-di-ada, boom-di-ada, boom-di-ada, boom-di-ada…”