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November, 17 th Osaka

Birthday. Every morning I need to walk around twenty minutes from the Station to work. Recently the scenery along the road changes every day. Usually I take my skateboard to work and riding through the alley is for sure the highlight of day and a perfect start into the day. Even though Japan is famous for its cherry blossoms, I love autumn. Today was my birthday and it was a wonderful sunny day. My family called me in the morning and somehow I took them with me per video chat to enjoy this amazing scenery together. After work I went down to Namba to spent the day at my second favourite place: the climbing gym. Afterwards we went together to a chinese restaurant I wanted to go for a very long time. Japanese chinese food is far different from german one, there is literally nothing in common. Kazu was pretty amused about my excitement about the rather simple chinese food. The only thing in common was the condition afterwrds. My belly was so full, that gravity seems to work different. It was a long day, but I really enjoyed it. 

November, 14 th Nabari

Momiji climbing. This week we were heading out to a climbing spot in Mie prefecture. We started IMG_8951early in the morning and together with the first sunbeams we arrived at the spot. It was a sharped formed valley with a clear blue river running through. The steep mountains were brightly colored in contrast to the blue sky. It was an amazing view and predicting a beautiful autumn day. Now and then high blank rock rocks protruded from the mountains like tin towers. I couldn’t wait to climb them. Our trip started adventurous. I knew we had to cross a river, but expected knee level of water. IMG_8950I was wrong. The fresh clear water touched my bare feet and immediately I was awake from my sleepiness. My feet started tickling while carefully passing the river. I was glad I removed my pants, the water was as high as my hips. There were some rocks on the grounds to shallow the water, but there were extremely slippery. To my astonishment I stayed dry and soon we were climbing up the colorful mountain towards the climbing spot. It was a beautiful place with amazing vertical cracked walls. The view into the valley IMG_8986was breathtaking. It was six of us and soon we were starting into the first two routes. Since the full area is only crack climbing, there were no bolts and trad climbing, where you have to place your own gear to build mobile protection is requiered. I’m unexperienced in placing gear and since my ankle is still injured I decided to stay in toprope today. In contrary to my climbing partner Bryan, who crazy likes crack climbing, I’m rather weak in this dicipline since it isn’t something you can train in the gym. The IMG_8964first route started with a fist sized crack and I really enjoyed. After half of the route the crack became very large and I completely fitted in. In this situation I desperately helpless and having no idea how to climb it. I moved into the crack and got stuck into. I didn’t fall down, but there was also no way up. I could have stayed there all day. I released my breath and slipped out of the crack. After a few trials to climb up in the crack I started searching for any tiny ledge the smooth face offered. And there was IMG_8978a tiny ledge on the hight of my chin. It was enough to place my food high and stem my body up using IMG_8970the crack’s wall. And I was lucky, I could also pass the second crux almost the same way. I’m sure the route wasn’t meant like this, but I reached the top. The second route was easier for me to solve since it was a finger crack. I back leaned all the way up using the crack like a sharp ledge. It was a lot of fun. It took us a long time for everone to finish and clean up. Afterwards we enjoyed our lunch while the sun was IMG_8976meanwhile in zenith and warming us nicely up. It was such a beautiful and peaceful place. The calmness and peaceful atmosphere entered my body and all recent stress and problems were far away and unreal in this moment. Kazu and me got tired after lunch and enjoyed watching Bryan solving a difficult route. Time was flying in a weird way today, but we were deeply relaxed and didn’t care about anything at all. I enjoyed taking pictures and just be there. My third and last route of the day was IMG_8967short one with a body sized crack. I avoided it again and rather climbed the slab next to it. I solved the crux while just jumping to a hold hoping it would be a good one. It was. It was the coolest move and pure fun though. I love this kind of moves. I enjoyed the view from the top into the valley for a moment. The sun disappeared already behind the mountain rigde, it would be dark soon. Crossing the river again was less smooth and to prevent another injury due to slipping I rather IMG_8982choose to get soaked. The icy water touched my belly button and some high pitched noises came out of me. Kazu was lauging a lot while watching me, but no further accident happened. Mission completed. It got dark as soon as we sat in the car. The end of very nice autumn day, even though there wasn’t that much climbing as usual. 

November, 8 th Ōsaka

Roof climbing. For some reason I love roof climbing. While hanging under the ceiling I feel free, focused and it feels that gravity wouldn’t matter at all. The actual routes (5.11a) are part of my standard warm up and make me happy whenever I hang out at my local gym. This week there was a IMG_8924contest and I totally missed it. I was very keen to climb one of the final routes, a 5.11b, which was harder than the usual at this level. I couldn’t onsight nor even redpoint, but after a couple of trials I was able to solve it and next time I’m gonna send it for sure. It was pure fun though. 

November, 3 rd Nara

Sacred Deers and autumn colors. Autumn season is heading to its peak while creating breathtaking sceneries all over the country. It is my very favourite season. Since I am still not recovered from my IMG_8778ankle injury in summer I decided to organize a light hike at one of my favourite cities: Nara. To keep the event small, I refrained from creating a public event and only invited regular participants. I was also very happy that my flatmate next door was also joining. We arrived at Nara station, where some people already happily awaited us and on the way to Nara park we picked up two other ones. With a group of six we entered the park, which was welcoming us with its beautiful colored autumn trees in a sharp contrast with the bright sky. It was a sunny day and I could feel the warmth sunlight touching my skin. Some lazy deers enjoyed our pats until we started climbing the Mt. Wakakusa, a beautiful hill behind the park. On the way I finally had the chance to chat with my friends I haven’t seen for a long time. We were a quiet group and I deeply IMG_8790enjoyed the friendly atmosphere. It is so nice to see a bunch of different people became friends over the time. At the top of Mt. Wakakusa, an breathtaking view of Nara park with all the beauty of autumn foliage was awaiting us. Happily we walked around, together with the deers, took some pictures and found a nice place to have lunch. Even we were at the top of the hill, it was still warm and a perfect day. We enjoyed our lunch time quite a while and strolled around. Hiking down the hillside is a rather short one, but just amazing. We took several breaks to fully enjoy the incredible beautiful environment. Back in Nara park we paid attention to the sacred deer, petted, cuddled and rubbed their fluffy flur. Deers of Nara are not only sacred, they’re also tamed, super cute and sometimes very cheeky especially when they are hungry for your snacks. With the setting sun a very lovely was going to end. 

October, 18 th Ōsaka

Cliff climbing at Himeji. This rock climbing spot is one of our local spots and one of my favourite IMG_8590ones. Located directly to the sea the walls are rough and sticky with a fantastic view of the ocean. It’s just a one hour ride from Osaka and I’m always excited to go there. Finally the temperature in Japan is just perfect and after a week of rain it was finally supposed to be a sunny sunday. It was an amazing day of climbing, beside some already known routes, I did a redpoint climb on a knew one and kept working on one of my projects there. Finally I exactly know how to solve “Kamikochi” and wrote it down very carefully. Next time I plan to redpoint it! It were five of us today and I really like climbing within a group. All of us are almost at the same level of skills with some specific preferences and it was a lot of fun and a pleasures time. During lunchtime the sun started shining bright and offered us a last feeling of summer with an incredible sunset in the evening. In the end of the day, my arms were sore, my finger’s skin removed and my legs still sore from running, but I couldn’t have been more happy.

October, 16 th Ōsaka

Skate. Run. Climb. Since almost two weeks I started riding my skateboard again and even though I felt shaky and insecure at the beginning, it is working pretty well again. I enjoy riding it so much. It’s img_6005been exactly two month since I injured my ankle and I’m still not fully recovered. My initial plan was to start running after Halloween, but with every day it was harder to keep waiting. Today I gave it a try and went out down to the river. This year, I found my love for running and for the first time in 10 years I really enjoyed it. I was a bit afraid to lose this happiness again after a long break, but when I my feet hit the ground and the cool wind blew into my face I felt energised again and pure happiness flooded my body. I was wearing the ankle supporter and run very carefully and slowly. Initially I planned to do a short round, but I couldn’t resist and run my usual 10 km river tour. Some parts of my body hurt, for sure, but my ankle was doing well. I’m so happy to be able to run again. Additions: My ankle swell a bit due to the stress afterwards, but in the end of the next day it was back to normal. My upper leg’s muscles were desperately sore for 4 full days and climbing stairs was a nightmare. What a happy nightmare.

October, 8 th Ōsaka

Khaki season. Finally the temperature dropped and autumn has arrived. The leaves will start IMG_0293changing colors and will turn Japanese mountains and streets into a wonderful scenery soon. It is my very favourite season of the year and I personally even more enjoy than famous cherry blossom. With autumn comes another season: khaki fruits. I usually not a fruit eater, but since I found them everywhere in the countryside on my bicycle trip through Japan I’m crazy about them. They are back and I am ready to eat tons. 

September, 3 rd Shiraiki

Rough cliffs and rock climbing. Mountains or ocean? As a rock climber, for sure, I love the mountains, but my heart belongs to the ocean. Deeply. When both comes together I’m freaking out IMG_8471for happiness. Climbing cliffs is my favorite and I’m always happy to go to our local spot at Himeji. I was looking forward this weekend’s trip for a long time and finally time had come. Together with Kazu, Bryan, Sachiko san and Sonoyama san we went to Fukui to climb at a spot at the Japanese sea. We met early on Saturday morning and arrived at Shiraiki at breakfast time. The approach was rather easy, we climbed up an old hiking path and soon climbed down the cliffs directly next to the sea. We had to pass bulky rocks to find the hidden spot. We had to squeeze through a narrow corridor where our heavy loaded backpacks got stuck. Suddenly we were standing in colloseum like stadium made by rough tall cliffs. The scenery was amazing and dramatic. I didn’t IMG_1873know where to fix my eyes first. It was a sunny, warm day. Perfect conditons. Soon I stuck in the first and longest route. The rock was rough, sharp and due to the salty sea water sharp, but robust. My favorite type of rock! The walls were almost vertical and I couldn’t believe my luck. The area offered plenty of oppurtunities and rather less rock was bolted. We hopped over some rocks to a floating chunk of rock. The routes were easy, but incredible enjoyable. The view from the top was breathtaking. After lunch I took a nap in this wonderful scenery and freshly recharged I climbed to towers, when suddenly a fisherman entered the bay by boat. I couldn’t understand properly, but he was very upset about our car and threatened us to call the police (our car was parked at super countryside beach next to other cars of IMG_8453sports fishers). Anyway, we had to head out quickly. I had to clean up the last route and soon we followed the others. Our car was still there, without any police. The timing wasn’t too bad, since it was already late afternoon and we had a lot of nice climbs done already. Our Accomodation was just five minutes away. It was the very first time for me to stay at a Ryokan (traditional Japanese guest house) and I was keen to experience. I was sharing a big traditional tatami room with Bryan and Kazu and after some tea and a bath it was already time for dinner and our stomachs were ready for a while. The greatest thing about Ryokan’s is to wear a Yukata (kimono like robe) at all time during the stay. Downstairs the stuff prepared for us a georgeous dinner with super fresh local sea food. It was amazing. A big plate of Zashimi (different IMG_8498kind of raw fish), fresh fish we had to grill on the little table BBQ and plenty of other delicacies. I’m not a big fan of fish, but this dinner was amazing. I also tried sea snail and St. James shell for the first time (I didn’t like the sea snail, which made Kazu very happy to get mine). Afterwards they served a small soup with tiny shells, which was the most delicious soup I ever had. After the dessert our bellys were round and our faced warm and red. Heavy and satisfied we climbed upstairs to our rooms, where a the futons were already prepared. I was so lucky that even sleeping is performed in Yukatan and I didn’t need to change. I fell asleep within seconds and woke up by IMG_8475Kazu’s voice. It was one minute before 7 am and we had to go for breakfast. I literally jumped from the futon into my slippers following the others. I was still half asleep. A nicely prepared traditional Japanese breakfast was awaiting us. For sure including some fish, rice miso soup and green tea. I was still rather asleep, so I asked for coffee and had it in combination with my breakfast, to the amusement of the stuff. I really enjoyed staying still wearing the Yukata. We decided to go toa spot in Kyoto for climbing today, since some locals told us the climbing spot we were yesterday might be officially closed due to corona. Yesterday we were the only ones there. Soon we were on the way to Kyoto. It was the first time at this spot for me and even though it was very small the routes and area was prepared with a lots of love and the atmosphere was super nice. Also route setting was very fine and I got the challenges I was looking for. We arrived back in Osaka in the evening and it was one of the best weekends of the year.

September, 17 th Ōsaka

Rest’n climb. My ankle’s healing is very slow. The first 3-4 weeks there wasn’t any progress at all. On Monday I decided to finally see a doctor. It was a very short visit and with only a single view and some touching he told me there wasn’t any serious damage and I should take more rest the next 2-3 months while wearing an ankle supporter from amazon. I was very suspicious, but laziness and finally reduction of the swollen outer ligament led me to just continue waiting. Anyway I couldn’t stop climbing, exchanged my right climbing shoe to a thick hiking sock and started climbing with only one leg while the injured one wasn’t even touching the wall. It works better than expected, and even though I had plenty of injuries (usually the knee) und kept doing this, it has never been as effective and fun before. Right now I even think it could have stronger impact on my strenght than normal workout, which does motivate me a lot. I miss my skateboard though. 

August, 22 th Ōsaka

Forced break. My initially plan for this weekend was to go the Japanese Sea for surfing, a trip I was d19d2975-dc37-4ae2-affa-2be883ded5e0_1_105_clooking forward to for a very long time. Due to my accident in the end of our trio to Mt. Gozaisho last week, I was forced to stay at home and literally do nothing. During the week I couldn’t walk at all and spend most of the time resting and cooling the ankle. Meanwhile I walk around in the house, but only for short distances. I wasn’t able to find a strong bandage, so I had to use Kinesio tape, which works better than expected. With the World Championship taking place in Briançon this weekend I feel more motivation than ever and can’t wait to go out and play. By the way my very favourite athlete won!

August, 15 th Komono

Rock climbing at Mt. Gozaisho. It’s supposed to be the hottest weekend of the year and E135B56A-3266-442C-9637-A4823577504F_1_105_cwhile people literally melting in Osaka, Kazu, Kusakabe san and me went to Mt. Gozaisho for rock climbing. Located at the border of Shiga and Mie, Mt. Gozaisho is just a one and a half ride by car and a paradise for all sorts of outdoor folks, especially rock climbers. It was the my best weekend this year and we headed into a mountain adventure. Click here to see more of the amazing area of Gozaisho and read more about our adventures.

August, 11 th Osaka

Hanabi. In Japan, summer is the time of festivals and fireworks “hanabi”. Due to COVID-19 situation all events are cancelled. For my japanese friends a summer without fireworks is alike a New Year’s eve without it for me: something is missing. My friend Yoshi got some fireworks and so we decided to have a small picnic at Kanzaki river nearby my house and enjoy some food, fireworks and each other’s company. It has been a while that the three of came together and it was a very nice night with a lot of laughs and new ideas for the next adventures. Finally, we also managed to hand over Sayaka’s birthday present (her birthday was in April).

August, 5 th Kamikochi

Kita Alps. Summer holidays. Finally. In Japan the second longest streak of holidays called 0EB62351-E592-4A01-BEFC-2F3707A6C8DC_1_105_chas begun. During this time, people traditionally go back to their hometowns in honor to the ancestors. For me it is the time to go live some of my Japan dreams. Last year I climbed Mt. Fuji and a dream came true. This year,  I finally went to the Northern Japanese Alps (北アルプス) and decided to climb Mt. Yari (槍ヶ岳, Yarigatake), a 3,180 m high peak and one of the 100 most famous Japanese mountains. It was my very first time on an alpine tour for several days and a part of the trail contained the most thrilling and dangerous so called “Daikiretto gap”, a gap in the mountain ridge with is considered as the most difficult hiking trail in Japan. See more breathtaking pictures and read the full story here.

July, 22 nd Osaka

Summer. Rainy season is finally over and summer started officially. Japanese summer is IMG_7217.jpeghot and humid. One could feel the it from one to the other day. Now the time has arrived when my body is constantly sweating and my skin sticky. Nevertheless I am really looking forward the upcoming time, since my mind is craving to spend some time outdoors. Unfortunately my main holiday on Golden Week, a one week streak of national holidays during May, was cancelled due to lockdown and my annual holiday is reserved for Christmas. Luckily Japan has quite a few extended weekends and one of them is starting IMG_7225tomorrow. I just got a bicycle bag, which allows me to take my bike on the train. I will leave Osaka for the first time this year and I can’t wait for it. One of my Japan dreams was to go to Tottori. With my brand new bicycle bag I will hop on the train and hopefully have an enjoyful time at rural places and lonely beaches at Tottori Prefecture. On the weekend I grabbed my bike out of the shabby corner it spend the last year and after a three hour clean up and fixing it, it felt like being reunited with an old friend.

June, 17 th Osaka

ROTPUNKT. I have some ongoing climbing projects in the local climbing gym and I’m still D8A69BB8-F093-4F8A-AE39-9DFB23C40572_1_105_c.jpegpracticing very hard several times a week to become stronger. My very favourite route is a violet, very technically 5.11d, which I am eagerly working on, but couldn’t solve so far. Today, after exactly three months since I touched it for the very first time (lockdown included) I finally managed a Rotpunkt/Redpoint climb (climbing without falling into the rope or resting in the rope). In the first trial I managed to solve the crux (hardest move) first hand. I was so surprised and amazed about finishing it, that I fell in the following moves I usually sucessfully manage. I was so angry and disappointed. After some rest I decided to try it again, even though the possibility of success was drastically decreased. But I managed the crux again, kept calm and finally finished it. It might be just a random climb in a gym, but for me this was the sweet fruit of hard work.

June, 26 th Osaka

Rainy season. It’s been a month since I am back at work and beside some restrictions and IMG_7167.jpegmeetings held on zoom it’s mainly as before. To my great happiness the climbing gyms also reopened as well. Luckily I only lost slightly of my power and still be able to work on my old project and keep on progressing. Also, to my astonishment I continued running on a regular base and also increased my route to 10 km. I never considered myself as a runner and running was always like an effective, but hated snack of fitness. Meanwhile my body got used to it that I started enjoying it. Seriously. One of my dreams is to run a marathon one day and at the moment I feels doable if I just continue. Unfortunately, Osaka marathon is cancelled this year, but I IMG_7182made an important step closer to it. It is rainy season and almost everyday it is pouring rain and most of the time my feet are soaked. Rainy season last around 4-6 weeks in Japan. Luckily the temperature is quite nice. For a long time I wanted to try swimming and the season easily led me to try it out. Public pools are rather rare in Japan and full of rules I don’t understand. People are extremely strict. It is not allowed to wear a sport watches, you have to wear a bath cap and every hour the pool must be left to do a 10 minutes gymnastics workout. No way for cheating, I tried. Anyway I kinda liked swimming and will try to continue it once a week.

May, 25 th Osaka

Back to lab. For me the time in quarantine was mainly living routine. It wasn’t that bad at all, but after almost six weeks there wasn’t much to do at home office anymore, my lab book was cleaned up and I got sick of reading paper. I have to admit I desperately started missing going to work. One good thing I took out of the quarantine was the fact that I started running on a serious and regular basis. I started with 7.5 km out of the blue and I was literally dead after the first couple of runs. But I kept going on and in addition to a very strict diet I was soon able to discover how my body slightly started to change. My biggest worry was too lose muscle power I just recently gained at climbing. State of emergency is released and from now I will go back to lab. The first time it will be on reduced hours, but I’m very looking forward to go a step back to normal.

April, 15 th Osaka

State of emergency. Japan declared the state of emergency nationwide and from now on the governor of Osaka Prefecture has the power to request to lockdown the city and public life. Due to Japanese law this is only a request and can’t be forced by government. While many shops and facilities are following the request, the situation here is far more different than in Europe. Public life still takes place and the streets are full of people. Most of my friends going to work, some with reduced working hours, some without any changes. No question, the streets are way more empty than usual, but still there is life outside and people seemed not too worried.

April, 8 th Osaka

Quarantine. At 5 pm my boss asked me into his office and requested me to stay at home from now on. University will be closed soon. Even though observations of the situation suggested a lockdown like in Europe and other countries coming soon, it was still surprising. I prepared my little green friends I am working with for hibernation, grabbed all my stuff and left the lab with a weird feeling in my stomach, not knowing when I will be back again.

March, 26 th Osaka

Corona Virus. I’m safe. I’m very shocked about the situation in Europe, America and the world in general. In Japan the situation is very different right now. Everyday life is basically the same. We have a lot of basic hygienic recommendations and my boss asked us to avoid the crowded city centres. This is not a government recommendation, just his personal care for us. I don’t know what is the reason for the difference of the situation. It might be that Schools and Kindergarten closed immediately weeks ago, wearing masks outside while having only slightly cough is common, higher social distance due to cultural reasons and being used to crisis situations (such as earthquakes, floods etc.). I feel save in Japan and it seems like a nightmare when I look towards Europe. I heard some criticism about Japanese Government might hide the number of infections, but I personally can say there is not even rumour about over crowded hospitals or other any signs of an uncontrolled outbreak like in Europe.

March, 25 th Osaka

Projects. I like doing sports, because it is pure fun and make me happy. I always have been focused, but never been ambitious. In climbing, having fun was my motivation and for sure progress made me happy, but I wasn’t hunting for it. Since I started climbing in Japan I always wondered if I ever could become as strong as I was on my personal highest peak in 2015. During that time I was also sure I arrived at my limit. 5445EDBE-0334-4AF3-A364-67FE1EAAEDEF_1_105_c.jpegI knew I wouldn’t pass without changing my aims. I grew strong due to the push of motivation from Christmas holidays. Recently I realized I’m on the edge. I might reached my best condition. It is hard to compare, since route setting is different in a different gym and especially in a different country (where I hit the average size haha), I only do lead climbing and even translation of the grades is just a vague hint. I’m empowered and highly motivation. I can’t find words to described the conditions I am in right now. I’m highly energized and the time has come to break through my own personal limits. Today I went to the gym with the aim to finish my project, a super nice 5.11c/d (UIAA 8) and then touch and start my new project: A pink line in the so far untouched grade of 5.12a (UIAA 8+/9-). For sure grades are absolutely non objective and I’m definetly not a stubborn grade hunter. But for me it is a way of keep tracking progress, stay motivated and especially forcing me to leave my comfy zone. And the proof that everything is possible and I can break through my personal limits. I felt weak yesterday (somedays it happens, no reason), but decided to touch the line last minute to run into the problems and mentally work on it during physically regeneration. Surprisingly there was no problem, every single move was hard -for sure-, but totally doable. I needed several breaks and I also fell at the end many times, but the take home massage is technically I can absolutely do it and just need to get a little bit more power and endurance. Most of the people reading this won’t understand, but I entered grade 5.12 and therefore I broke down all my personal limits in climbing!

March, 23 th Osaka

Lucky labmates. My working place has become the focal point of my life. While in Germany people are separating strictly between working life and private life, in Japan it could be very different. Some of my coworkers became my best friends and everyday I’m happy to go to work. So far, I prefer spending my time at work rather than at home. I never experienced it before, but this atmosphere is very nice and I enjoy it a lot. In this environment I’m more productive than everywhere else.

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March, 20 th Mizunami

Climbing weekend. Due to a national holiday this Friday we had an extended weekend with a promising weather forecast after a longer period of rain and (japanese) coldness. 19410A0D-DF28-4917-8365-069AE4DDF704_1_105_c.jpegMy energy level was pretty low and I needed to leave the city and spend some time in nature. Luckily Bryan and some other members of our climbing club planned a trip to Mizunami to go for rock climbing. This was exactly what I was looking for. Friday morning, 5 am, I left my bed and soon I was sitting in the car towards the Japanese Alps. Mizunami is a great climbing spot in a fairy tale like wood with huge roundish chunks of rocks which are looking like fallen from the sky. The routes are all crack or slab and the rock is sharp and rough. The spot is even more CD837339-EFBE-4F35-8DE6-52D65914AB32_1_105_c.jpegspecial since it is possible to hike up and hang a toprope. I managed to lead some routes and was happy that my mind was still as strong as last week. We stayed in a small cottage, a 30 min drive away in the mountains at a beautiful lake. We were the only C24FB617-8587-4E14-91ED-E607E445B4C0_1_105_c.jpegcustomers and the calmness and silence of this beautiful place was incredible. We prepared dinner ourselves and had a nice dinner altogether. After a bath, I was so tired and exhausted that I already fell asleep at 8 pm while laying on the futon in a small very japanese tatami room. Saturday and Sunday we spent at the climbing spot again, which is a very huge area and we did not even had a full sneak on it. Sun was shining and it was perfect for climbing. I enjoyed climbing, eating and napping all day. This weekend completely recharged my battery. I had a busy time and it seemed 52F3F56D-43FD-4AEE-8774-404BD271965F_1_105_c.jpeglike I cannot keep up with the speeding up of my every day life. Here in the mountains, everything stand still and calmed down. I was fully there. Fully at myself. I was only with Japanese people, who cannot speak any english. Bryan can, but for sure he isn’t a translator and rather a quite person. I have to admit my Japanese is still very bad. It works too good with english. But here in the mountains with this people there was no backup. In the end it was also a very Japanese intense weekend and I even started speaking in the end. And it felt all natural. My skills to understand conversations about climbing and climb in Japanese were really surprising me. Sometimes language creates isolation, which I experienced with native english speakers a lot. My climbing team wasn’t setting me as the foreigner into the focus and paying a lot of attention to make me feel comfortable (it happens a lot), they just treated me normal. But I never felt isolated. It was a very nice feeling, I had a lot of space 7E95AC6A-27E2-417A-BBDA-E0A65162A379_1_105_c.jpegfor myself, while never been locked out or treated as the special foreigner. Japanese people have a very special warm and welcoming attitude, I wonder if this situation would have happened in other countries. In Germany rather not. I was just accepted and welcomed without making a big deal of it.

March, 15 th Himeji

Climbing cliffs. It was the first time this season I went out for rock climbing outdoors. To be honest I’m an indoor kid and love the gym. While climbing outdoors I usually enjoy lunch and naps most of these days. Recently I watched a lot of Reel Rock movies (short DSC08894movies about the climbing elite), which gave me an unexpected kick of motivation for climbing outside. The spot we went is around one hour by car and directly next to the see. It was an amazing spot. The cliffs are perfect for sports climbing. Vertical, rough rock IMG_5744with no loose stones and sticky holds. Conditions are close to the gym and I was very curious to test my physical and mentally skills. I’m a scaredy cat when it comes to climbing outdoor and my fear blocks me that much, that I cannot move anymore. This even happens in the toprope. After climbing at Mt. Gozaisho last year, I was totally blocked and experienced that much fear that I secretly decided never climb outside again. Well, since I came back from Germany with a lot of new climbing motivation I improved physically and mentally. In Japan toprope climbing basically doesn’t exist, so I got used to lead at my limit. As mentioned this spot is not only beautiful it also provided gym like conditions regarding safety. I lead climbed five lines, some with challenging moves. I felt confidence. This feeling made me very happy. At the end I toproped a hard 5.11a. The crux is amazing and I DSC08889found a very different way to solve it using my unique flexibility. I got my project. I can’t wait to come to this spot to enjoy the sea, the cliffs and lead this line!

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