This past weekend I did something crazy and dangerous (well, at least, more so than my normal day to day). I went whitewater rafting with a group of other ALTs. The rafting place is on a river between my prefecture and Kumamoto prefecture. It’s about a two and a half hour drive from the northern part of the prefecture where I and my friend Beth live. So, Beth suggested that we drive down the day before and spend the night to avoid waking up unnaturally early on Sunday.
On Saturday morning, after a week of minimal activity, I decided to go for a long bike ride. I oiled up my chain, grabbed my helmet, and headed west. I will admit, I forgot how quickly my city gets rural and mountain-y.
Around noon, Beth picked me up. We got lunch and hit the road. We took the expressway, so it was a smooth and pretty ride. But by the time we got there, I was still ready to not sit still for a while. I forgot how rarely I sit in cars anymore. I ride the train frequently, but I can still stand up and stretch as needed on the train.
We arrived at the hotel that Beth had booked for us. While she was looking for the lowest price (and checking for hotels that got good reviews), she missed the fact that our hotel was somewhat special:
Still, even though the room was kind of strange, I slept well and it was better than waking up at 5 to drive down. We met up with the rest of the group at the company (called “Happy Surprise.” Despite their name, I would really recommend them.
We were booked for a full day tour. In the morning we were all in one boat, but there was a Japanese couple in another boat that went down the morning course with us. At first they kept their distance but then (I’m sure it was at the prompting of their guide) they launched a splash attack on us. I’m sure they expected us to retaliate, but I don’t think they expected Sally to jump from our boat to theirs.
In fact, the Japanese guy was so surprised, he fell backwards out of the boat. (To be fair, though, they both fell out quite a bit.) After that, we were more chummy with them.
As a side part of the morning float, we got out of our boats and followed a little tributary upstream to a little jumping point. For the first time every, I jumped. Granted, I only did so because I was wearing a helmet and life jacket, but I still did it. And it was awesome. I ended up doing it four more times throughout the day at three different locations.
After the morning course, we piled back into the van and headed back to the company for lunch.
And it promptly started to pour all the water we had been promised by the typhoon. It had been gloomy and drizzling all day, but the amount of water that came down during lunch would have been anxiety inducing (for me at least) while we were on the river. As soon as it was time to head back out, the rain petered off and we were good to go.
I also grabbed my phone during lunch so I could start taking pictures. With my waterproof phone case (and some tape) it was ready for an adventure.
This time we were divided into two boats; four people in each. Our morning guide (who was epic and spoke better French than he spoke English) was in the other boat and the Japanese couple’s guide was in my boat with Beth, Larissa, and Julian.
There was some more water-time shenanigans. My favorite was after someone from our boat (I’m pretty sure it was Julian) jumped onto the other boat and managed to knock someone into the water. The other boat’s guide retaliated by jumping at our boat (feet first) and planting his feet against the side of our boat. He shoved the boat hard enough / surprised us enough that Julian fell right back into the water.
It was pretty epic.
Now, for some more pictures:
After we were all done and dry again, we headed to get ice cream before hitting the road. I had a great time and I’m proud of myself for taking some (controlled) risks. I hope that we can make this into an official MAJET event in the future and I’m glad I got to hang out with Beth one last time before she heads back to the States for a new adventure: grad school.