This semester, I decided to join the Hiking Circle for my community involvement project. It was challenging at first, because I had to write very formal emails in Japanese in order to see if I could join, which I wasn’t used to doing. But once I was able to join the club, I had a lot of fun! The Hiking Circle meets once a week for a few hours every Saturday, so it fits easily into my schedule, especially since we meet on campus, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time traveling. Club activities include hiking one week out of the month, and ‘training’ the other three; usually it’s running by the Horikawa.
What I like about the Hiking Circle, though, is that it’s not just about the training. After activities are over, people usually spend some time hanging out in the club room, talking, playing video games, and making food. It’s sometimes been hard for me to keep up with conversation because everyone talks pretty fast, but they’ve been really good about slowing down and clarifying things for me when I don’t understand.
I’ve had a lot of fun with my CIP so far. The other members are really cool, and I get to go hiking in the mountains around Kyoto, which are gorgeous. I’m so glad I decided to join!
Wow, Hiking Club sounds like such an amazing experience, especially in a city like Kyoto where the 紅葉 sets beautifully every fall. What were some of your most memorable moments, in terms of which mountains you climbed and/or the relationships you were able to form in the circle?
I really enjoyed when we hiked Daimonjiyama. We were able to go up to a lookout and see over so much of Kyoto, and on the way down we actually climbed right next to the huge 大! It was such an incredible experience.
Also, helping out at Doshisha Eve was a blast!
Erin!! Your CIP seems so fun! Hiking seems like a good avenue for casual conversation with people mostly around your age, and it seemed you got to hang out with your circle in a relaxing club setting as well. I agree, the first emails we sent out to our CIP contacts were so nerve-wracking! I didn’t do a circle activity for my CIP, so did anything stick out to you about the club’s social structure, especially regarding seniority?
Also, it seemed strange to me that the hiking circle only hikes once a month…and has its members train the remaining weekends. Asking only as a casual hiker, is that usually what hikers do? Finally, did you go hiking around places mostly around Kyoto, or did you also have the chance to go hiking in other parts of Japan? お勧め教えてくれ～
Hmm, actually, the thing that struck me most about the social structure was that there wasn’t really much of one! The younger students referred to the older students as ‘senpai’, but other than that everyone seemed on pretty equal footing.
I couldn’t say for sure as to whether that’s common for hikers, as I only do it as a hobby myself, but I’m guessing that it depends on whatever hiking club you join.
And we mostly went around Kyoto, but considering how many beautiful mountains Kyoto has, we were never lacking!