(PICTURE: Some standard Japanese hikers.)
Paula has commented to me a couple of times that older Japanese people are in ridiculously good shape. Well, that is putting it lightly.
As Paula and I hiked Bondai, every person who would pass us on the trail was roughly 20-40 years older than us. I would guesstimate that the average person climbing the mountain was 60-65 years old.
Not only were the people older than us, but they were also carrying decent size bags. As you may recall from a couple of blogs ago, I met two professors on top of the mountain. I would bet the both professors are in their mid 70s. One of the professors had literally carried a small cooler with beers up the mountain so he could enjoy a frosty brew at the end of his hike while the other had carried two large plastic jugs to take air samples.
As I hiked, I kept trying to picture my parents or their friends doing the hike we were doing. My parents and their friends are around 60 and I can say with total confidence that not one of them could possibly have climbed that mountain without having to be picked up by a helicopter once they reached the top. I don't mean any offense to my parents or their friends but these older Japanese people are bionic. Frankly they are even in much better shape than I am because I was sore as hell for a solid five days after the hike.