Bakugeki is not located in the heart of Kagoshima, but last night it was full and the food was excellent. The only missing ingredient was the owner, a co-worker of Kin, who had bravely moved from Tokyo back to her hometown of Kagoshima years ago to start this restaurant with her partner. But today was her day off. The reverse of the menu featured monthly comments from the staff, where we learned that her partner had persuaded her to start hiking, as evidenced by a picture of her spanking-new red Italian hiking boots.
As I descended from Kaimon, those fancy red hiking boots were unmistakable, with not a speck of mud on them. And at the same moment, she recognized the unusual combination of a gaijin running with a dog. It was 15 years since we had last met!
In contrast to the dozens of hikers on Kaimon, Kirishima (Karakunidake) was deserted, save for a sole figure resting on his pack at the peak, gazing out over the gathering clouds split by shafts of late afternoon sun. Interested in Hana, the foreigner explained that he regularly took his German shepherd hiking in the European Alps. “Any problems with rangers?” “Well, occasionally because the dog is off the lead, but I just ignore them.”