Photos from my Mt. Tsukuba hike

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Life has been fortunately busy for me these past two weeks and it feels like it was just yesterday when my region was hit by a powerful hailstorm that left me realizing I haven’t written anything in nearly two week!

It did not rain while I climbed Mt. Tsukuba but it was very cloudy while 9 others and I hiked to the top of this rare mountain in Japan. We all followed a planned path that is stated here and the overal experience was very fun, which sparked an interest in mountain climbing as a hobby for many of the members, which I’m really happy to hear!

Learning more about each other through mountain climbing?

All the people who participated are all from a volunteer English-Japanese conversational group called KYEC and it was very interesting for me because I got to know more about many of them through this event. Why?

Basically, when people are put under some stress, their real personalities and physical /mental limitations come out. It’s pretty amazing how a social activity like mountain climbing with friends could be better than drinking at a bar with friends who need alcohol in their system to let out!

Panoramic Shot from nantai san Tsukuba

The camera I used

Anyways, at the very last minute, I decided to take a couple of GoPro cameras and the Canon 7D with the 24-105 F4.0L instead of the 5D Mark 2. I ultimately decided that I wanted to take some HD videos with the 7D, which I haven’t done in ages. Although the video so far looks good, it’s not ready to be released on the web yet. However, I did take some still shots and I was really happy with the quality of the images the 7D and the EF 24-105 took specifically for general macro photographs. Take a look below.

Nirinsou found on Mt. TsukubaHere’s a macro shot of a plant called Nirinsou “Anemone Flaccida“. This is a common type of flower found in east aisa and Japan during the pre-summer season. It is edible and it is used in Chinese herbal medicine. Remember that the plant you see here is edible but there are other toxic plants that look similar to it so if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t eat it. People die every year in Japan from eating toxic plants.
(Disclaimer: Because of the evolutinary nature of toxic plants looking similar to non-toxic plants, I take no responsibility if you get sick or die eating plants because of this blog post.)

Sarunokoshikake or Monkey ChairHere’s a pic of a huge fungus I found growing on a tree during the beginning of my hike. In Japanese this mushroom is called “Saru no koshi kake (Polyporaceae)” or in English, the chair of a monkey. I have heard that this particular fungi is used in herbal medicines which is very expensive in the market. Actually, getting a fungus this size can fetch up to a couple of hundred grand. If I knew that info at the time, I think would’ve climbed this tree! LOL! But then again, as a visitor to a natural ecosystem, it’s best to respect what grows within that ecosystem.

The plant with EarsNow here’s a plant that immediately reminds me of the dinosaur that spits out sticky blinding goo in Jurassic Park! Anyway, this plant is called “mimi gatenanshou Arisaema” and it is called that way because of its ear-like (耳) structure as you can see in the photo above. However in the English speaking world, this plant is commonly called the Cobra Lily. What’s interesting about this plant is that it changes its sex from male to female as it grows and changes again and again.

Here are some other random shots

Tsukuba Group Vintage shotThe group during the beginning of the hike. This photos was post processed to give it that vintage look.

Group shot taken from the frontHere’s another group shot taken from the front.

Hope on Tsukuba This is my crazy dog Hope during our first rest break on Mt. Tsukuba. To me it’s hard to imagine that a couple of years ago this German Shepherd Dog was found on the streets and supposed to be euthanized at a pound. But look at him now! He’s a clever dog and a powerful strong friend who loves hanging out with young ladies!!! He must have some of my blood in him! lol

400 year old tree stump found along the way with some markingsThis picture above shows a stump of a tree that was about 400 years old. Markings on the rings show some important dates The tree was cut down for unknown reasons. I believe that this is a stump of a Japanese Cedar Tree.

Buddha rock near the summit of nyotai-san
The Buddha Rock. It is called a buddha rock because it looks like a buddha statue which was formed naturally.

I uploaded many more of my pictures to the KYEC site. Check it out if you wish. http://www.kyec-japan.com/events/tsukuba-pics

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