Claudia

http://orillasdelriotiempo.blogspot.com/2013/09/no-es-otro-discurso-feminista.html?view=classic

My beautiful friend, Claudia, from Colombia wrote this inspiring blog post.

It’s in Spanish so either go on Google Translate or ask someone fluent to translate it for you.

It’s worth it!

-Jazz

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Goodnight and Goodbye Japan

What an extremely tiring last day!

As most of you all know my family and I climbed Mt. Fuji today. This blog post is about my experience, others experiences, and false assumptions.

Most individuals that I met on my journey upwards (myself included) assumed that since

Mt. Fuji was open to the public it would be an easier climb than other mountains.

This is a false assumption.

There are 10 marked stations on the path leading to the top of the mountain. There is a completely different, easier, path to climb down the mountain. My younger brother and sister got sick by the middle of the sixth station and were fortunate to still have the

The three amigos

The three amigos

opportunity to go back to our beginning station with relative ease. My poor Mom took the bullet for the team and went down with the kids so that my Dad and I could conquer the mountain (thank you Mom! We love you so much).

Anyway, after the sixth station there is no way to get back down the mountain on a safe path. This is not advertised before individuals, couples, or groups begin their journey and is also not advertised on the path before the sixth station. So, now you know – if you think your body won’t be able to handle the 6 hour rock climbing/uphill lunge walking leave by the sixth station.

Obviously, a few brave and exhausted souls threw in the towel and went down the same way  they came up. Believe me when I tell you that this is not a good idea. There were times my

What the "path" up to Fuji looks like

What the “path” up to Fuji looks like

Dad and I were climbing on all fours almost diagonally. Therefore, I really don’t see how people could use the “up” path to get back down.

What I’m saying is, when you start going up you are forced to make it to the top. An example of this was a young girl (I’m guessing she was about 12-14 years old) was with her father and her elder brother. My dad and I walked by them about three times and the girl fainted twice. As I have mentioned, there isn’t a way to get back down so the father and brother tried to help her as much as possible but, they had to get to the top. At one point, the last time we saw this family, the girl was hanging onto her father. Her father was exhausted and fell and started rolling down the mountain – my Dad (who is always quick on his feet) caught him just in time before there was no hope for getting him.

Although these people were in desperate need to get to the bottom – they couldn’t until they physically got there themselves.

Mom and I before beginning our journey

Mom and I before beginning our journey

The man who owns the hostel that we are staying at told us that there are 7 known deaths since January 2013 and it only gets worse once the snow starts to fly. He said, “People think that because it isn’t snowing in the city of Fuji that it is safe to climb the mountain. No, usually people end up dead because they slip on ice and we don’t find their bodies until June or July the next year”.

I

was thinking that once my dad and I reached station 10 and were at the top of the mountain we’d be able to see the crater.

Also a false assumption.

The only thing at the top of the mountain is a restroom (though, you must pay 300 yen (3 USD to use it), gift shops, and soda stand. No access to the crater.

Bummer.

What you see from the top of Mt. Fuji

What you see from the top of Mt. Fuji

In all honesty, if you’re planning on climbing Fuji now or in the future please take my words of advice:

1) Eat a hearty breakfast before going – food at the station is extremely expensive and doesn’t seem to be tasty. I unfortunately only had a KitKat bar and a cup of coffee before going, and didn’t eat food at the station – bad on me!

2) Bring a backpack full of bottles of water/something to give you electrolytes and hearty snacks (we brought protein bars and an assortment of nuts). Once you begin your journey on the mountain, the stations charge 500-600 yen (5-6 USD) for water and soda.

3) Climb with a supportive partner. Without my Dad with me I would have cried a lot, fallen a lot, and probably died mentally. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have someone look at you and say “It’s okay, you’re doing great – do you need to rest?”

Dad and I finally made it to the top!

Dad and I finally made it to the top!

4) Rest often for short periods of time – it’s not a time race. The climb is not only physically hard but it’s also mentally challenging. Resting when you need to for 3-5 minutes helps keep you on track and was essential for me, personally, to make it up the mountain.

5) Once you get down the mountain be sure to regain your balance, drink water, eat a little food. Don’t immediately get back on the bus to your train. The bus driver leaves at exactly the time he says he will and he packs in as many people as he possibly can. Be sure to relax, cool down, and do everything I mentioned before. I fainted on the bus ride back to our train because I didn’t pay attention to what my core was telling me and the bus was packed with people so I couldn’t get enough airflow.

6) Finally – wear sunscreen. I’m usually on top of the whole sunscreen application but not this time. My face looks like the tuna in my sushi. Not cute.

What Mt. Fuji did to me

What Mt. Fuji did to me

Okay! I am going to bed. We have to leave for our train at 4:30 am tomorrow. We’re flying standby so send good wishes that we all get on the plane tomorrow afternoon!

Through My Eyes

Here is the picture update that I’ve been promising!

Posting pictures onto WordPress is actually a lot more difficult than I thought. Therefore, if you would like to view the pictures in the order that they were taken then to go from the bottom of the post to the top.

Outside the Imperial Palace in Kyoto

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The nice barista in Kyoto was so excited to speak English with me, then he left me a nice note on my cup (:

The nice barista in Kyoto was so excited to speak English with me, then he left me a nice note on my cup (:

Goofing around in our Osaka hostel

Goofing around in our Osaka hostel

Dinner and drinks with mom and dad

Dinner and drinks with mom and dad

Amanda looking so cute in her umbrella (:

Amanda looking so cute in her umbrella (:

Saving our pale skin from the hot sun

Saving our pale skin from the hot sun

View of Tokyo

View of Tokyo

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower

Buddhist temple

Buddhist temple

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Tokyo's secret garden

Tokyo’s secret garden

Coy fish peacefully swimming

Coy fish peacefully swimming

Zachy at the Gundum Cafe

Zachy at the Gundum Cafe

Zachy geeking out (:

Zachy geeking out (:

Dad and Zachy so excited to be at SEGA

Dad and Zachy so excited to be at SEGA

The SEGA building (:

The SEGA building (:

Sisterly love (:  About to leave for a day of adventures in Japan

Sisterly love (:
About to leave for a day of adventures in Japan

Mandyroo and her Starbucks treat in Tokyo, Japan

Mandyroo and her Starbucks treat in Tokyo, Japan

Before our flight from Dallas to Narita-Chi, Japan!

Before our flight from Dallas to Narita-Chi, Japan!

My green tea frapp from Starbucks in Tokyo, Japan!

My green tea frapp from Starbucks in Tokyo, Japan!

My brother, Zachy, looking vogue next to the tapestry in the hotel

My brother, Zachy, looking vogue next to the tapestry in the hotel

Wicked in Japan - I was a little excited

Wicked in Japan – I was a little excited

Escalator rail at Comiket

Escalator rail at Comiket

Inside Tokyo Station

Inside Tokyo Station

Tokyo Station, obviously

Tokyo Station, obviously

Our first experience with buying milk and breakfast food in Japan. We were really proud of our milk purchase.

Our first experience with buying milk and breakfast food in Japan. We were really proud of our milk purchase.

Good Morning, Good Night, Toemateoh, Toemahtoe

Good morning to you all!

It’s 9:30 in the evening in Japan but you all are just waking, or will be waking soon, from your slumber. In Minnesota it is 7:30am. It’s crazy to think that rush hour has began, people are driving out of their way to a coffee shop for a “pick-me-up” before their work day even starts, and office buildings are beginning to fill with sounds of keyboards clicking. Wow – the daily grind for my friends in the United States has just began, and here I am.

I have just gotten home from one of the best meals I have had in Japan thus far. My family and I went to a traditional styled Japanese restaurant in the Shiodome Tower named Harahoro Hirehare. If you’re ever visiting the Shiodome district eat here! It is a bit intimidating, I admit, but I think the intimidation comes from the (my) lack of familiarity with the customs. For instance, before you go into the restaurant you must take off your shoes before entering on the raised platform. I knew this prior to going inside the restaurant but the act of actually taking off my shoes before going in was kind of scary! Does that sound stupid? Okay – that sounds stupid, but you go into a totally different culture and take off your shoes before eating at a traditional restaurant and see how confident you feel.

The awkwardness and self-consciousness was well worth it! The staff was so sweet and patient with us. They even offered an old English menu and attempted to make our language barrier a non-barrier. Once I had a few glasses of Jasmine Plum Wine all the worry if I was doing something culturally offensive washed away and I sat back and had a great time with my family and the staff at Harahoro Hirehare.

This is our last night staying in Tokyo but if it weren’t our last night I would eat there again!

Anyhow, I am extremely exhausted from the days adventures. Tomorrow morning we are leaving Tokyo for Osaka to stay at a hostel and go to a baseball game (!!!!! I love baseball). We are only staying at Osaka for one night and then we’re off to Kyoto for three nights, Fuji for two nights. A lot of places to see and not a lot of time to see everything (guess that’s an excuse to come back).

I’m not sure when I will have access to WiFi again – but I will go to coffee shops at least a few times until I am back in the United States to update you all!

I promise, pictures will be uploaded soon!

Until next time, xox

Tokyo, Japan

Greetings from Tokyo, Japan!

I’m writing with my younger sister’s extremely small netbook, dreaming of how great my life would be if I had a cup of coffee to go with this blog update. Hotel rooms in Tokyo, Japan are not similar in size to the ones in America – so fitting five adult people in two rooms has been a challenge. But, right now – it is perfect. I am sitting alone in my hotel room bed, the window curtains are cracked open, and the sun is slowly rising. Really though, a nice cup of medium roast coffee would really fit my mood. Currently, it is 4:56am on Monday here and 2:56pm Sunday in Minnesota. I’ve been up since 3am here so it is becoming apparent that I have a little bit of jet lag – oh well, bring me the coffee and I’ll be fine.

On Friday early morning we had my boyfriend, Alex, drop all of us off at Minnesota/St. Paul Airport. From there (after we got our coffee) we took an American Airlines flight from MSP to Dallas and then took the same airline from Dallas to Narita-Chi, Japan. All in all I think we spent about 16 hours in the air. Luckily, we flew standby so on our flight from Dallas to Narita-Chi and fate would have it that we all got into business class – which was so awesome.

First things first: I am enjoying my experience so far in Japan. Mostly, for the quality time I am getting with my family again. Now that we are all getting older it is much harder for us all to get together at the time same time. 

Second things second: My thought all day yesterday – Holy Starbucks. There seems to be more here than there are in the south! On almost every street, every subway station, and every mall there are at least one or two. It doesn’t stop with stores either, family marts, grocery stores, little food vans – they all have Starbucks options in to-go containers (similar to the Starbucks drinks at gas stations). In America, having a Starbucks in your hand used to be a source of status – it told other people who you were or who you’d like to be. Yet, now that the “go local” movement is such a trend, chain coffee shops are becoming less fashionable and having traveling tumblers from the local coffee shop down the street is more “in”. Here in Japan though, Starbucks is still their source of status – along with the iPhone. Really, it’s quite interesting phenomenon.

Yesterday, after we figured out the subway system, we went to Comiket. My brother (who knows way more about this than I could ever dream) explained to me that Comiket is a comic market. It is the largest dōjinshi fair and is held two times a year in Tokyo. It is extremely popular and I think this is because, from my understanding, dōjinshi, means self-published Japanese works.

At this convention, there must have been hundreds of thousands of people (not being dramatic), but there was little noise. My mom and I keep talking about how strange it was to have such an orderly, quiet mass event. Now – don’t get me wrong “orderly” may be a little too nice – but compared to conventions on the same caliber that I have been to in the United States, very orderly.

Unfortunately, due to our lack of Japanese skills we walked blindly into the wrong section of comics and our time at Comiket was shortly lived. 

 

Okay! I am in serious need of some coffee. Today we are going to see Tokyo Tower and then there is some talks going around that we may go to Disney World. So, I’m going to get some coffee, get dressed, and maybe I’ll blog again before I fall asleep!

I’m sure today will be much more interesting (:

Re-Press

American Boys Have a Romp in Cartagena: So What Else Is New? A short but insightful article with deeper look at the darker side of the night life in Cartagena.

“This week’s news includes a brouhaha about a group of American military men and Secret Servicemen enjoying the hospitality of Colombian women in Cartagena.

Except for the fact that these guys were supposed to be the advance team for President Obama… what else is new? Is this the first time men working for the US government have enjoyed the services of hookers in other countries– or in this country?”

After over 23 hours of traveling I am home.

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I arrived Saturday late morning and have been on the go ever since.

It’s so odd being back in Minnesota.

Instead of having the ability to walk everywhere I need to go I have already used half a tank of gas.

Instead of having to purchase bottles of water I have filled my water bottle, given to me by my dearest friend Ari, with tap water.

Instead of having coconut rice, meat, and soup for lunch for a little over USD $3 I have to eat at home or else spend double the price of a Colombian lunch for a lesser amount and lesser health concious meal.

Instead of waking up every morning to a countdown, I’m waking up every morning to seven alarms warning me that although I have obligations for the day – I should stay in bed.

groupo

Instead of sitting on the wall that protected Centro from pirates, singing with one of my newest best friends playing his guitar – I am sitting at a coffee shop getting ready for a day of statistics class.

Instead of going out at night with my roommates asking, “Donde esta Mr. Pib” (that’s for you, Amanda!) I’m taking walks around my neighborhood until the early hours of the morning with my love.

WP_20130612_003It’s different.

It’s not bad, not better – it’s different.

My home is where my heart is. My heart happens to be split between Cartagena, Colombia and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

My next adventure outside of the coutnry? August – Japan!