Photos at the bottom:
I went with Riles, Robbie, Tiff, Mac and Randy to Minakami, Gunma for a "JET Adventure Mixer". We did everything through the Canyons Japan company. AWESOME. Drove down the night before which turned out to be a good call. Takes three hours to get there from Mito.
On Saturday we woke up early for Canyoning. We had to wear so much stuff, two layers of wet-suit, special shoes and socks, special gloves, life coat thing, helmet.... got loaded up in a mini-bus, taken to the "nature spot" and went on our very well planned out, over-protected "adventure" with many guides holding our hands the whole time. What an adrenaline rush.
Despite my sarcasm, I was a massive baby. However, about half way through I took a sneaky wee in my wet-suit (ignoring their warnings not to) and that managed to calm me down. We went back, had the best burger of my life and then got ready for rafting.
Rafting was my favourite part of the day, I for sure enjoyed it waaaay more than canyoning, but its probably because the water-level was particularly low, so the water was slow-moving and there wasn't anything rapid about it. It was more of a leisurely boat ride with paddles and an Australian guide who I was able to mock for the entirety of the trip. Also there were people bungee-jumping over-head, so that was really cool to watch. Being in a raft looking up and being able to watch someone bungee jump about 20 meters in front of you. From this I learnt that I don't ever want to go bungee jumping. Ever...sky-diving, maybe.
There was a point where they turned one of the rafts up-side down on the side of the river and we could use it like a trampoline and dive into the water. Proud to say I managed to do a front flip into the water. The trick to it, which I learnt from my raft instructor is to "try kiss your bum"... useful to know. Riley took a bad fall, landing on her ankle all funny, and was pretty much out of action for the remainder of the weekend.
When we got back there was a lot of showering and wet-suit peeling off, changing and relaxing. In the evening was a big DIY BBQ, which seemed like a terrible idea at the time, but in retrospect it was a good "bonding" experience, as we all had to work together to try cook the minimal amount of food we were given. There were 4 bbq's going, I didn't think I knew much about making a bbq, but I realised that I knew waaaay more about it than a lot of the people there, so I ended up being a sort of director for one of the bbq's, it felt pretty good giving people orders, and having them follow without question, stunned at my brilliant confidence and cowering at my fierce leadership skills (possible exaggeration? never).
A reggae band played, drinks were drunk, dancing occurred, one man tried to go for a swim on a pool table to which one of the guides working at the lodge's response was "please stop, this is how the pool table got broken two weeks ago". We got to know some of the Gunma JET's which was good. First time I've met normal JET's from another prefecture. It seems they have a pretty fun crew... well, disregarding the obvious load of freaks and geeks sprinkled about, an inevitability in Japan gaijin life, but on the whole I was medium to somewhat impressed.
I actually love meeting groups of JET's from other prefectures, its like peering into a parallel universe of what life might have been if I was placed elsewhere.
On the Sunday I went with Riley, Robbie and Tiff to an incredible Onsen. The Takaragawa Onsen in Gunma is one of the most famous Onsens in Japan. It was so beautiful, all outdoors and mixed, meaning we had to cover up with towels on (well, the women did...), very relaxing. The four of us had a chilled road-trip getting home, listening to Elton John, Frankie Valli and a bunch of other old-school stuff..
Another great weekend adventure, brought to you by Japan. Sayonara suckers xx