One thousand miles. With a bunch of dogs. Yep, that’s Yukon Quest! Today is Day 924. I’ll admit that I want a beard like Jerry as well.
Happy 30th Birthday! Yippee!
Ok, I’ll admit that a week ago I was not as happy. For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreaded birthdays. They seem to creep up on me around the same time of year the weather goes from happy and joyous to absolute misery and wetness.
I started the day off by waking up like most days around 5:20am. This time I promptly went back to sleep until 7:30am.
I managed a quick trip into the metropolis of Alliston to get a few things, then I was able to start my adventure! I drove north into Creemore to find an elusive beer that is sold at a gas station. Well it’s technically not beer – there’s no alcohol content. You buy the 2L bottle for less than $5 and then you pop in a yeast pill and wait for 14 days. After 14 days, you can say “NOW I have beer!” Couldn’t find it and wasn’t really willing to get out of the car to look around gas stations (yes there are two gas stations in Creemore) for a beverage that I would have to wait 14 days to consume. This trip was all about today and living in the moment.
I continued driving north through the lively and vivacious town of Stayner and watched all of the little teenie boppers march from the high school to Tim Hortons for their caffeine fix and lunch. Normally, I’d say good for them, but it just so happens that Tim Hortons had a little trouble with homophobia (see related articles here and here and here and here and here) and I did not feel like joining the teenie boppers for homophobe coffee.
Onwards north I hit the junction between Wasaga Beach and Collingwood – where you go from 80 km/h down to 60km/h if you’re lucky. I was not – 45km/h in a line of 20 cars all slowly making their way to Collingwood. Eventually I made it to Collingwood, drove around a little bit and decided to grab something to eat. Fast food was out of the question (I’m 30 now I have to watch what I eat!) and I wanted to find something within walking distance to the lake shore.
I parked and paid a total of $0.50 for an hour of parking then walked to the Huron Club. I selected a veggie and chicken curry that did not disappoint and washed it down with a pint of Creemore beer (ever since I drove through the town I was thinking about it non-stop). I paid my bill and walked north to the lake shore. I dipped my toe into Georgian Bay, took some pictures as mementos, then walked back and made the drive back south.
I opted for the non-geriatric traffic jammed route back towards Wasaga Beach and headed straight south along the Collingwood Airport. The road went from ‘paved and smooth’, to ‘paved in the 80’s’, to ‘unpaved and bumpy’ to ‘holy shit I’m now a rally car driver!’ Needless to say it was fun and the view was amazing.
Dinner was amazing and I spent two hours in a sauna. The celebration is not over as I will be in Toronto later on this week to catch up with people that I did not see on Oct 25th. It also turns out that my body can feed 74 hungry weasals – how about you?
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Points for the past two days:
- Oct 25th – Day 26 – 64 points
- Oct 26th – Day 27 – 92 points
I’ve always found that children provide the best opportunity. Most of the time, I act as a troubleshooter / problem-solver for entrepreneurs and when I’m confronted with a challenging issue, I set aside some time to get with those who are the most creative and who continuously break down barriers setup by others – children. They will ignore warnings, break the rules, and question everything that they see around them. What adults understand to be a rule (such as ‘the sun sets in the west’), children question with “why?” and refute vague and unintelligible answers (such as ‘because that’s the way it is.’)
The story behind this picture is pretty simple – I was camping with a few friends and one of them had this bike. Benjamin, upon seeing the bike, immediately wanted to ride it. He started fiddling with it – playing with the handles, inspecting different parts and spending an inordinate amount of time around it. Eventually we hoisted him up, got him decked out, turned it on and let him rev it at 8am much to the surprise of the other campers. Needless to say, ear to ear grin the rest of the day.
I guess it’s been a while since I’ve sat in front of a tv during the day in Japan or in Canada for that matter. I was sitting at the table doing some work with the tv going in the background (I was feeling lonely) and all of a sudden it’s gone from news to exercises to one of Chopin’s songs with three ladies in leotards performing a mix of tai chi, aikido and the chicken dance. I sat transfixed for a good minute then I wished that I had my computer hooked up to the tv – I couldn’t make it up better myself. Then in a flash it was back to the news report about a fire in Sendai.
Ok I have a few videos and pictures to post for everyone but to be honest at this point in time I can’t be bothered. I have a pile of clothes on the table right now that has to be packed into two bags and set in the front room. Yes I am procrastinating, but not to the extent that I want to upload all of the pictures, categorize all of them, name them, then attach them to links so everyone can see.
Tomorrow is an early start at 5am with a quick workout, then heading for a car ride around 6am. After that my last trip to downtown Sendai to get a few last minute gifts, mail off the last of the post cards, back home, dinner with a few people, then sleep and a 6am pickup to catch my 8am flight out of Sendai to Tokyo (Narita Airport). Then it is a six hour wait before I have to clear security and another 2 hours afterwards to board the plane. Then a 14 hour flight home to Toronto. In otherwords, 24 hours of sitting, walking, pacing, stretching in a confined space (yes the airport is big, but it’s still a confining space).
Alright, time to get on with packing. I’m going to listen to some Seth Godin while folding dress shirts and pants and stuffing suits into cramped little bags. 🙂
I almost forgot. Today’s dinner involved my two favorite foods in Sendai – Kanako (Sri Lankan inspired dishes) and then three plates of sushi. Oh and the wind was so bad that it ripped the air out of your lungs and made your clothes feel like they were in tatters (just getting ready for Canada).
I’m in shock, total shock. Today turned out to be one of the more interesting days that I’ve had here. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Lost In Translation” with Billy Murray, I had a similar experience where the director was talking for a over a minute straight with all sorts of hand signals and the translation comes through as “He says more energy” – yeah something like that. Overall the news was good and I’m one step closer towards achieving my goal and helping a friend launch a new business.
We had a quick debriefing at Starbucks, which as it turns out is across from the Apple Store, and reviewed a few things before I headed back home. I got off the bus early and went into the local Best Western to inquire about conference room rates. I’ve never seen a salesperson collapse so quickly on discounting their rates. I’m really not surprised that I only ever see a few lights on at night at the hotel – it’s a fantastic facility but I don’t think there is an active sales force there.
Anyway, I’m exhausted and it’s time to start packing up. I want to have my last day free from packing, so Friday is reserved for saying “Sayounara”, doing laundry, packing, and getting things finished for my exit from Sendai. So hello sleep, goodbye world.
This past Sunday I took a day trip to the small town of Yamadera. Taking the train to this quiant tourist town took just over an hour winding through the mountainous area of Tohoku region (northern part of the main island of Japan). While on the train we stopped at Sakunami (another resort town that has a famous ensen(traditional Japanese hot spring and spa)) for soup. Now this soup was amazing for two reasons – one it was free (the train stopped and everyone got out to enjoy the free soup) and two it was gorgeous out (18C and sunny). Plus there were a few ladies dressed up in traditional Japanese kimonos. As the train made its way winding through the mountains, I managed to take some videos of the view from the train to show the hilly terrain and the autumn colors.
The town of Yamadera is quiet and peaceful (there were a few tourist buses) and there was a continuous stream of tourists heading up to the top of the mountain to see the temple (both foreigners and Japanese). We managed to snag a table at a traditional Japanese restaurant (sitting on the tatami mats on the floor) with bowls of noodles (mountain mushrooms, seaweed) and giant mugs of beer.
The climb up the mountain was slow due to the volume of people and the narrow winding steps. However, it did force me to stop, take some pictures and videos along the way.
The view from the top was spectacular and breathtaking. There was a shinto ceremony being performed at the temple and being my spiritual self I light some incense and said a prayer. There were two oddities that I noticed at the top – one was a post box and the other was a paved path winding up the rest of the mountain with telephone and electrical wires strung up beside it.
The climb down was much faster (less people as we spent more time than most at the top exploring the various buildings, paths and gardens) and we rewarded ourselves with some zonda ice cream and a tour of a famous pottery shop.
In reality this was more the temple of 500 steps due to my long legs.
Facebook Video (courtesy of Greg – yes I fell asleep on the train ride there – it’s par the course of working nights)
I woke up at the crack of dawn, the bright sunlight blocked by a half foot of prefab concrete wall, rolling over while hitting the snooze button and falling back asleep. Finally rising from bed thirty minutes later, I rushed through the shower, threw on some clothes and headed out to Jusco. I opted for the biggest bottle of sake that I could find, stashed it into my bag and hopped onto the bus for the trip downtown where I would catch a ride to go hunting.
The bus ride was quiet and uneventful (there’s a rule on the buses – heck all public transportation – that you should not use your cell phone to talk to people) and since there was no traffic I was downtown in no time.
We set out walking to find the perfect spot for hunting. The two others selected for a spot farther away, closer to where the action would be and in a more comfortable position. I opted for a position that provided the best vantage point and camoflauge. This being my first hunting trip, I did not want to miss out on anything.
So there I was – perched in the blind that I had setup – and I waited patiently. Every so often I would have to adjust my position so my arms and legs didn’t fall asleep, and I would conspiciously take a swig from the big bottle of sake (not wanting to attract any unwanted attention) trying to make as little noise and movement as possible (I didn’t want to disturb the natural habitat).
Here are some of the videos that I managed to snap off while I was there.
I’ll tell you, if it wasn’t for the sake it would have been a very boring and painful experience. I got a few odd glances every now and then from the local wildlife (and local law enforcement) but overall I found it to be a very humbling experience.