Spring was in the air and for the first time since Autumn I could leave the house in short sleeves, fingerless gloves and no woolly hat under my helmet. It was 6 AM but the sun was already up and even in this morning chill I could feel there was real heat from this sun, not the cold sharp glow of a winter dawn. I had in mind to visit the mountains, perhaps a 2013 first ascent of Kazahari rindo, a beautiful albeit rocky and steep approach – sustained 20 degree slopes – to the summit of Kazahari. The ride out was perfect, blue skies, cool with the promise of warmth later in the morning – I mumbled happy words to myself as I reached the suburbs and passed row after row of Sakura, the pink cherry blossoms that define the onset of Spring in Japan. That mountain would be mine !
Well. It would have been, if only someone had prodded Kazahari to change season. The cherry blossoms disappeared the closer I got to the mountains, and my arm hairs strained to join them as goosebumps rose from my skin. “I’m here” squeaked Spring but nobody heard, and colours remained dulled and dowdy, stuck in their winter gloom. But I was in a Spring mood and nothing was going to take that away from me ! So I turned right at Itsukaichi, away from that damned Kazahari and hit a few hills before joining the river and turning it into a long loop, cycling under long avenues of pink cherry blossom all the way back to Tokyo. I must be getting old. Or fussy. Or both.