We visit my wife’s parents at their peach farm in Fukushima once or twice a year, and every time I bring three things: my hiking boots, my guide to Japan’s 100 Most Famous Mountains, and a hollow optimism that this time I’ll get out and do some hiking.
Then we get there and my wife and kids want to do a million things that don’t involve hiking and my boots end up sitting by the front door all week while I spend all my time playing daddy.
It’s just like being at home, except I don’t have to do the dishes.
I did make it out a few years ago, on a day that any normal person would have stayed home. “I think I’m gonna go climb Adatara tomorrow,” I told my wife as the weatherwoman on TV talked politely about the typhoon on the way. My wife was planning on everyone going shopping in the morning, then to lunch at the same ramen shop we always go to (not for nothing, their portions are massive). Her plan, I’m sure, included me. “I’ll take that orange bicycle out there. You going to be okay with the kids?”
“Yes, of course,” she replied, sounding less than excited about the perfect storm brewing. “You don’t want to eat lunch with us at Kuntaro?”
I did. But I didn’t.
Everyone was still sleeping when I slipped out the door and pedaled off into the gray, misty morning, heading for #21 of those Hundred Famous Mountains.