The Hike

Usually, I don’t see myself as a crazy type of guy–but then again, I’m in Japan, so I should probably clarify. I’m not crazy in the teenager-college student sense of the word where I do stupid-crazy things like staying up all night partying or going on spontaneous crazy trips or wearing crazy stuff. Sure, I’ve done some of these things. I’ve been on an 18 mile all-day hike before, I’ve pulled an all-nighter for school once before, and I wore a Super Mario costume back in Elementary School for Halloween or something, but that’s about it.

This past weekend though, I think I managed to break my record for the most stupid-crazy thing I’ve done in my life yet: A 25 kilometer hike. All night. In the rain. And in a ridiculous outfit, to top it all off. (The shorts started off as a neon green, but were darkened by the rain.)

Every year, my dorm, Wakeijuku, has a tradition of going on this all-night hike along the Yamanote train line, which stops by all the major stations in the middle of Tokyo. Almost all of the dormmates take part, and it was covered by the Japanese Press and everything. Throughout the night, at the beginning, during the rest points, and the end, they took our pictures and were given interviews. I’m not sure, but I think it was either they or the dorm who provided snacks for us, bananas, pastries, rice balls, and tea and orange juice.

Though not required, many of the Japanese wore crazy costumes, dressing up as anything from Winnie the Pooh, to a Gundam robot, to a girl, to not dressing up much at all. I apologize that my camera couldn’t always take the best pictures due to the rain and nighttime.

This picture has a lot of the costumes in it. black body paint on the right. Some elite Gundam suits on the left, and yes, two Winnie the Poohs; because one just isn’t enough.

In this picture is Santa’s wife(?), a guy with purple hair, Pikachu, and a soccer player.

Santa’s wife hanging out with a Yakuza. I’m not sure about the one who took the trouble to smile for me.

Winnie the Pooh holding hands with a schoolgirl. Everyone in our dorm is male, if you should ever have any doubt…

This guy really is studying to be a doctor, but his specialty isn’t going to be proctology, as his lab coat indicates.

The ghost from the movie Spirited Away, and another schoolgirl. I don’t know why he has that orange towel on his head.

He told me he’s supposed to be a Samurai? And there’s Winnie the Pooh again.

And the real Pikachu. He must’ve gotten jealous of the black body paint and wanted in on the action. : P

A bloody ghost. I’m not British.

This so wouldn’t be allowed in America.

This is Shibuya square at night. One of the guys is wearing a Mac bag as a shirt, I think. After seeing all these costumes, mine felt rather tame. One of the guys thought my costume concept was a revolutionist : P

All in all, it was a really fun, though exhausting experience. But it was a great way to see Tokyo at night. Lots of lights and cars and people to take our pictures; at one red light, people honked for us as we crossed. Normally, when I think of a hike, I imagine doing it in the mountains. I never would have thought of doing a city hike until this experience. And I got the chance to see some cool places, like the Tokyo Tower in the early morning. Because of the light rain, it created this cool glowing effect in the sky that wasn’t captured too well on the camera.

Later, towards the end of our trip, we passed by the imperial palace grounds. We didn’t get to go inside, nor see the palace itself, but I got a couple pictures from the outside, and the area was huge. The moat alone was so massive that these pictures don’t do it justice.

We reached the end of our journey at about 6:30 in the morning, a total of a 9 hour trip, including breaks. It was a blast, probably one of the craziest things I’ve done in my life, and I don’t think I’ll be topping it any time soon.

Also, as a note to anyone who would be crazy enough to do this, know that our group got legal permission for this hike, and that you should probably do some research before attempting yourself.


About Stephen Gabriel Falke

Stephen Gabriel Falke is passionate about loving Jesus and loving Japanese! He grew up in Virginia, America, and first visited Japan in 2007. He then studied abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo for a year in 2012. He also participated in the JET Program as an ALT from 2015-2017. He currently works as an English teacher at Hirosaki Gakuin Seiai Secondary School in Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan.
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4 Responses to The Hike

  1. Dustin says:

    That 9 hour hike sounds awesome! I didnt get a chance to view the images because I was reading the blog on my phone but will look at them soon on the computer. Was it alot of work doing all the research and getting permissions?
    By the way, i have a job now 🙂

    • Dustin says:

      Its a paid internship for the summer with a possiblity of becoming full time

    • Stephen says:

      Oh no, I didn’t do any research. I just meant if other people want to, they should do that first. My friend who was the designated responsible person though had to set up a meeting with the police and the dorm people to negotiate the event and get permission.
      But dude! That’s awesome about the job!! Congrats man : )

      • Dustin says:

        Thanks 🙂
        I’m glad things are going well for you in Japan. How is getting around? Have you found a church to attend?

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