Spring is coming in Oku Nikko

Back to basics..

Dave had been stocking up a stash of Belgian beers for several years. That’s right – years. A connoisseur was Dave; knew what he liked and savoured produce at its optimum. Mind you, the Dave that was, still is.

He had been making lunchtime runs from work to the international supermarket, almost daily, for weeks before the trip. Picking up a salami here, a slab of Brie there. He’d got the Brie a little before the expiry-date at half price.

“Good Brie tastes better a bit older”, he said.

And he was right.

Dave loves the outdoors. He is a photographer. He’s a hunter, of sorts, camping out alone in remote places. Seeking out that epic photo of a sunrise over craggy coastline, or even stalking a Brown Bear in the Yukon. He is an Aikido master.

We all met at Nerima station early one brisk morning in Spring. There was Irish-Pat, Ollie, Dave, Patrick, and me. Five men on a trip to man freedom.

Dave had packed two big coolboxes in the back of his Subaru. One was chock-full of food. The other was our precious cargo of aged Belgian beers.

We all piled into the Subaru.

Dave stomped on the gas.

As the expressway gave way to rice fields, then lonely winding mountain roads, we eventually found ourselves in front of a rustic two-storey log cabin that was cloaked in Spring growth.

Once we’d all laid claim to our respective sleeping quarters, we set about the task of preparing a fire and the evening’s meal. We made the barbecue in front of the hut … and cracked a beer.

We had fifty beers.

Fifty fine Belgian beers.

We rationed out the beers for the evening. Ten beers each.

Quite a few of them were double-brewed. They were each, on average, about 8% alcohol by volume. Dave had set us a purposeful order to what could have been rampant beer swilling – we started light, and ended heavy. We had the Brie for this beer, a strip of sirloin for that one. You get the picture; food-beer structuring.

Oku-Nikko gets way colder than Tokyo during Spring. We lit another fire to keep us warm outside… and perhaps to answer primitive calls from within. Red meat, Belgian beers, fire and nature are going to drag out your inner caveman.

As I stared into the fire, I imagined we were something like Native Americans acting out an age-old ritual. Each of us humming our own Peyote song. Or, Belgian-beer song. In a way, we were dancing once again to the ancient tune that we had stopped listening to, or perhaps could no longer hear against the noise of the city we lived in.

I sniffed a lung-full of the brisk night air and swigged my Chimay. Somehow, I’d found myself again. I was back home in the wild.

Glen Young

scramjetmach9 image



scramjetmach9's other advice

Cherry Blossoms... desu images

Cherry Blossoms... desu

The reports are in... March 22 in Tokyo for the pink flowers. Yoyogi Park is big and fun. I would also suggest checking out the outlying parks of Tokyo. Showa Kinnen Koen offers a stunning array…

We call this paradise images

We call this paradise

There are parts of Japan that are still a relic. Indications of the Bubble "Jidai" are easily accessible places on the map, by their very nature, many rail roads go to them.Some of these places a…

Japan's Hidden Onsen images

Japan's Hidden Onsen

Japan’s Hidden Hot SpringsYokoso! Welcome!Japan is a country consisting of 4 main islands; Honshu (main Island), to the North is Hokkaido (Northern Sea Island), Shikoku (Fourth Country) and Kyush…

Summer in Hayama images

Summer in Hayama

Hayama is located on the bottom side of the Miura Peninsula, between the cities of Zushi and Yokosuka. This quiet seaside community has been a popular home for actors, businessmen, and wealthy expats…

You might also like

Why Do Japanese People Call Mt. Fuji, Mr. Fuji? images

Why Do Japanese People Call Mt. Fuji, Mr. Fuji?

If you wondered why Japanese people refer to Mt. Fuji as Mr. Fuji, you are not alone.When I first came to Japan, and actually until about two years ago, well okay, actually it still happens a lot…


5 Traditional Japanese Villages to Explore images

5 Traditional Japanese Villages to Explore

The rural area of Japan is quite worth an exploration. Many villages in Japan have typical Japanese styles. Although they are quite far away from big cities, you can enjoy enchanting natural views an…

Alexlovetravel image


Enjoy Japanese Chu-hi drink ! images

Enjoy Japanese Chu-hi drink !

You will see an overwhelming numbers of Chu-hi cans lined up in a rowbesides beer and wine in every convenience stores. Chu-hi is aJapanese-shochu-based cocktail, which has now become a widely ac…

fujimorison image


Hanami at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo images

Hanami at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo

The Japanese garden at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo is one of the best places to see all kinds of Japanese flowers throughout the year. Of course, it is also an excellent place to see sakura - cherry…

David image


The interesting relationship between Japanese culture and sweet, delicious strawberries images

The interesting relationship between Japanese culture and sweet, delicious strawberries

Strawberries are one of the many fruits produced all over the world. Strawberries are also produced in Japan, and Japanese strawberries tend to be very sweet and it is possible to eat them raw. One s…

DeepJapan Editor image

DeepJapan Editor

Difference of IKEBANA and Western floral arrangement? images

Difference of IKEBANA and Western floral arrangement?

When I traveled foreign countries, I found some different customs, cultures, and ideas. It is all new to me and leads me more eager to know its deep culture. I will be frequently asked the differ…

Ami image