Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Parliamentary Inquiry

All right you hardcore Diet specialists, here is a puzzle for you.

I was minding my business, making my way up Onoyama in Kanagawa prefecture, cursing the small red cloud that was mucking up an otherwise super view of Mt. Fuji,

photographing wildflowers

Mamushigusa ("Viper Plant") Arisaema japonicum
Ashigarakami-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture
April 29, 2007

and largely at peace with the world at large, when, as I neared the flat, grassy summit of the mountain, I heard a strange sound.

Tom-toms. Amplified tom-toms.

Then as I drew nearer to the summit, I heard a huffing above the tom-toms.

Pan pipes.

"Oh, god no. Not Peruvian street musicians. Not at the top of Onoyama," thought I in horror. "Please Amaterasu, spare me. I won't be able to stand it."

Luckily, it was not Peruvian street musicians. It was Japanese nationals pretending to be Peruvian street musicians--for an "opening of the climbing season" (yamabiraki) festival. They had the whole shebang going--the felt ponchos, the pointy multi-colored knit hats with the ear flaps...

It was also somewhat sad. Due to the limited repertoire of the troupe, every other song had to be "El Condor Pasa."

Anyway, instead of a quiet summit with about three dozen hikers (this is Golden Week) and a old woman hawking bottled milk out of a cooler hoisted up on the back of her pickup truck (the mountain is a working dairy farm) there were about, oh, 700 hundred men, women, children (and one Russian wolfhound) on the summit; all kinds of booths (no, no ika yaki or tako yaki booths. C'mon, this was a little bit classier than that) and various men and women in beige cotton-blend uniforms encouraging me to become a volunteer lumberjack (Sorry, can't. I'm not a Kanagawa resident...)

To top it off, a bunch of guys in suits--which is why I am bringing up this whole convoluted story.

Who is this?

He has got the Diet member's badge with what looks like a navy blue velvet base, which would make him a member of the House of Councillors.

His face looks bloody familiar--but I cannot for the life of me think of who it might be.

So it is a lunch for the first reader who manages to put a name to this face.

Oh, by the way--whether one descends by the eastern Yamagita ridge route or via the backside, walking the Onoyama summit trail out of Yaga Station on the Gotemba Line is a damned decent way to waste to a day.

View of Mt. Fuji from the Onoyama summit
Ashigarakami-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture
April 29, 2007

In retrospect, I should have stayed for the sunset over Lake Tanzawa.

View of Mt. Fuji over Lake Tanzawa
Ashigarakami-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture
April 29, 2007

No comments: