Tuesday, October 12, 2004

八甲田 (Hakkoda) Appendix

Having grown up in Aomori, did I not go hiking in Hakkoda before now? Well, yes, yes I did, when I was six years old. At that age our family adventures always caught me off guard (like the time I came home from school only to discover that my family had moved to another house down the street . . . ). The morning began with me conducting a scientific experiment of my own sort, involving tying a knot in the hot water hose my parents used to fill up the little plastic tub we kids bathed in.

A few hours later I inexplicably found myself on the Hakkoda ropeway with my family and another family from church. I remember three things from that trip:
1. It was cold.
2. Asking my dad if the cables of ropeway cable-cars often snapped.
3. Listening to my mom talk about the two companies of Japanese soldiers that got lost in Hakkoda and froze to death back before the War.
What I really remember from that day happened after we got home. There I was, sitting under the kitchen table minding my own business while my father began preparing our night-time bath. Unknown to me, the knot I had tied in the hose that morning caused the water to back up in the kerosene water heater and to superheat. Finally the pressure overcame the knot, the hose whipped out of the tub, and a jet of boiling water shot under the table and caught me behind the ear. Seconds later I was being held upside down under the coldwater tap of the real bathtub in the bathroom. Why make a long story of it? Suffice to say, after attempting to naturally subdue my burns with aloe leaves, my parents decided to take me to the hospital where I was fitted with an impressive head bandage,

and it was reckoned by all that it was only fitting that if anyone was to be burned by the bucking hose, it should be the one who had tied a knot in it.