What are YOU doing this weekend??
Hey there just a quick note about a great trip we`re going on this weekend.
This Sunday the 31st ,we`re going back to walk through the deep forests, and see the Rhododendrons on Mt. Kunimi in Kumamoto Prefecture.
It will be an early morning start (around 0600), but a really great way to spend a day.
If you want to see more on Mt. Kunimi look back at the trip we did a couple weeks ago at
I f you would like to join us on the trip please send me an email at email@example.com
Fukuoka Disaster Preparedness
Hi everyone did you have a great weekend? Let us know about any adventures you had ok! For our weekend we took part in the Fukuoka Prefectures Disaster Preparedness Demonstration held out in Chikushino city area.
The weekend before in Yatsushiro we were there in support of our fellow team members but this time, being the only SAR Dog team in based in Fukuoka, Manachan and I took part in the demonstration.
Once again like in Yatsushiro, it was a disaster scenario where houses had collapsed and the possibility of people being trapped inside. We arrived on scene and Manachan and I did a search of the collapsed house. From the roof top Mana caught the scent of someone inside and gave a bark alert to the point where the scent was coming from. We alerted the Fire Rescue Team who then proceeded to make a hole in the roof to the side of where the scent was coming from. They then located the victim and continued to extract them from the structure. It was Manas` first demonstration and she did a great job! (Even though she can`t sit still for more than a minute!!!!)
This time the weather was clear enough for the Helo`s to come out. The first one is the Fukuoka City Rescue Helicopter ,a French made EC 155 Dauphin, you can see this one flying around Fukuoka a lot. The second is the Doctor Heli which is a German made BK 117. Lastly a favorite of mine is the military`s UH-60 Black Hawk, this helo is just beyond cool!!
Once again, if you ever get the chance to check out one of these demonstrations, GO!! It`s a ton of fun!!
Until next time, Happy trails!
Last Sunday after we finished our hike up Kunimidake we rushed down to Yatsushiro City in the southern part of Kumamoto to take part in a disaster preparedness demonstration.
A number of Manachans senior Search and Rescue Dogs from Kyushu Rescue Dog Association participated in the event we went down to support our fellow troops and to give Manachan more experience with all the hustle and bustle that comes along with rescue work.
From the series of photos you can get an idea of chain of events that goes with a rescue.
The scenario was a partially collapsed building due to an earthquake or landslide with a person buried inside. The dogs are sent in first to try to detect a persons scent, once a scent is located the dog will bark to let the handler know there is someone inside. The SAR Dog handler then notified the Fire Rescue Team who then digs out the victim. Once located, the victim is provided with emergency care and transported to hospital.
It was a lot of fun, with all parts of Japans Emergency Response Teams taking part from the red cross to the military. Helicopters were also supposed to take part but because it was a rainy they were cancelled. If you get the chance to check out one of these events I definitely recommend it!
Until next time!!
Mt. Kunimi Adventure
Hey everyone how was your weekend? We had a great trip deep into the belly of Higo (the old name for Kumamoto prefecture) . We left late in the morning on Saturday and after picking up supplies we once again drove up a seemingly endless logging road until we reached the trail head.
We setup camp and had a nice BBQ for dinner before heading off to bed. We woke up at around 0400 and after coffee and a quick oatmeal and banana breakfast we were off by around 0500. We had to start early because I had to be in Yatsushiro later Sunday.
The first part of the trail was a bit steep but after about 50 minutes it tapered off to a nice incline going through some beautiful forests littered with signs of spring. In the background both the Horsfield`s Hawk-Cuckoo and the Brown Hawk owl were providing the music for this early morning production.
After the short traverse we reached the final 300 meters to the top and what a colourful 300 meters it was, we were surrounded by beautiful blooming Rhododendrons, seriously, they were all over the place!!
We quickly reached the top where a newly completed shrine was waiting to greet us, along with a burst of sunshine! The whole time we were there it was overcast but just as we reached the end of our ascent the sun came out as if to say to us “Good Job Guys!”
The hike down the rest of this looping trail was also really nice we even spotted some deer bouncing around the forest and Japanese peonies polka dotting the forest floor.
What a great hike and I can`t wait to go back, our next trip there will be on the 31st of May. If you want to come join the adventure please drop me an email at
国見岳はすごくいい山で今月の３１日もう一回行きます。もし一緒に行きたかったら firstname.lastname@example.org にメールしてください。
Until next time, Happy Trails!!
Just wanted to shed some light on an interesting plant that has be popping up around the forest paths lately. The first time we saw it this year was during our trip to Yakushima and from then on it`s been seen regularly throughout Kyushu.
The Japanese name for this plant is “Mamushi gusa” which directly translates into “Viper Weed”. The reason for the name is the design along the stalk of the plant which very much resembles the coloration of the Japanese Viper or “Mamushi”.
マムシ草は英語で “Jack-in-the-pulpit”, “Pulpit” は教会の中にある神父様がお説教する場所でマムシ草の葉っぱを開けたら中の形がPulpitぽく見えて、その葉っぱの中にある芯がその神父様ように見えます。神父様の名前はJackです。
The English name is “Jack-in-the-pulpit”, it`s name comes from its flower which is shaped like a pouch representing the pulpit of a church and the fingerlike appendage in the middle of the pouch which is Jack.
It`s an interesting plant to take pictures of but I wouldn`t try to touch or eat it as parts of the plant are poisonous and handling it may cause either a skin irritation or an allergic reaction.
Take this tidbit of info out with you the next time you go for a hike so you can wow your friends with your knowledge of Japanese nature.
Golden Week Adventures
Hi there everyone, how was your golden week? We were busy running all over Kyushu having fun. The first day of Golden week ,the 29th, was spent participating in an Aikido Demo at Fukuoka Sun Palace which went off without a hitch and I even got to see my old Teacher and Aikido friends who came all the way from Canada to take part in the event.
On Friday morning a few of us headed south to the Miyazaki and Oita border area for a couple days of hiking around some of the deepest forests Kyushu has to offer. We stayed in a campground in the Hinokage area of Miyazaki, just east of Takachiho city on the way to Nobeoka.
The next day we went for a great looping hike around Goyodake, one of the top 100 mountains of Kyushu (remember my New Years resolution??) Before reaching the trailhead we had to drive up a logging road for what seemed like forever. You know that feeling, when you`re going up a road for the first time and your destination seems to never arrive. But after the hike the drive back down didn`t seem to take as long……go figure???
Anyway, after we reached the trail head we slowly worked our way up and were greeted by deep forest paths, beautiful scenery, and blooming Mitsuba and Akebono Azaleas. The Yamashakuyaku or Japanese Peonies were also blooming along the forest floor.
It was a great hike and I can`t wait to go again. After the hike we went back to the camp had a BBQ, a shower and after a few games of “Crazy 8`s” and “Baba nuki” we headed off to bed to rest up for the next days adventure.
The next day we hiked up another great mountain that I have wanted to climb for a while. Mt Katamuki, another top 100 mountain. Most of the routes to this mountain are known for being very steep and hard to climb but from where we were camping, in Hinokage, we found an easy way up.
After another seemingly endless logging road we found a trail which after about 40 minutes came to a nice clearing with a campsite and a great view of Katamuki. Unfortunately it was quite cloudy so we couldn`t get very clear pics of the mountain but the clouds definitely added to the mystical mountain feeling which is really cool!!
After a short break to take in the Aura of the area we headed along the trail to the summit. The first part of the trail is really nice and we heard deer scurrying off down beside us nicely adding to the mystery. After about 30-40 minutes the trail started to angle up..and up…..and up, quite similar to the last part of the hike to the top of Yufudake, not scary but just enough to make you say WOW!!!
The climb to the top took about 20 minutes and although the top was in the clouds the feeling was AWESOME! On a clear day the view must be spectacular! At the top we stopped for a coffee break and of course SNACKS! It was then that it started to rain a bit so we decided to head back down before the steep parts got too slippery, Safety First!!
It was a great couple days of camping and I can`t wait to go again, I just LOVE this area!! Maybe I should make an Amarok outdoor shop in Takachiho city????
After coming back to Fukuoka we got ready for another one of my favourite trips, on the 6th we went back to Mt. Ihara and Mt. Raizan for a great dayhike. Once again starting from the Saga side of the mountains we headed first to the top of Mt. Ihara.
Compared to the trip a few weeks ago the Mitsuba Azaleas were in full bloom turning the mountain from mottled green to a mottled green with pink poka dots all over the place.
The weather was at first a little cloudy but as we made our way through the tunnels of flowers the weather cleared up and we had a great view from the top of Raizan. The clouds actually helped to keep the temperature down and coupled with a slight breeze it was a really pleasant walk through the forest.
After reaching Raizan we stopped for a nice relaxing lunch break under blue skies before heading back down to the car. An awesome day!!
Definitely a great couple days in the mountains, I love Golden Week!! Please comment on how your Golden week went ok!!
Until next time, happy trails!!
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