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That tire ain't just flat, it's dead.
So as I wrote about previously, I was not allowed to leave early with the other teachers on Thursday and participate in bowling night. When I finally was able to leave work I got in my car and headed home. On the way however something strange happened. I felt this overwealming desire to drive to the top of Mount Eboshi, just outside of Noheji. I have lived in Noheji for over a year and a half and still haven't been to the mountain. I had been meaning to go for the longest time, but was kind of worried about the condition of the road leading to the top. I don't know if it was for spite or just the result of boredom, but I decided that today was the day to conquer Eboshi-san. So I cautiously headed down the narrow dirt road toward the mountain. Along the way I passed a standard white mini pick-up truck parked by the side of the road for no apparent reason with a standard old man behind the wheel. I was a little worried that he might think I was some dumb lost gaijin and try to stop me. So I headed deeper into the forest and was really starting to have a good time. The road was rough indeed, but very scenic with small bridges, a waterfall and even a few English roadside signs explaining the history and legends of the mountain. The road is rarely ever used, and I even had to stop and move a fallen tree out of the way at one point. The further up the mountain I went, the rougher and rockier the road became. Just before I reached the top, as the sun was setting over the Aomori sky, I heard a large bang followed by lots of thumps, clunks and other bad, bad noises. I stopped the car and sure enough my tire had exploded. I knew I was screwed. My only options were to put on the spare tire quickly while there was still light, or try to drive my crippled car about 8km down the mountain and back to civilization. Well option A was quickly scrapped after I couldn't unwedge the jack from the trunk, so turned around and slowly headed down the rocky road clunking and thumping all the way. By the time I reached the bottom, there was nothing left of my right front tire except the rim and some smouldering rubber. So I drove and drove at about 10 km/hr through the pitch black forest until I saw a light up ahead. It was my old friend standard old man in standard white mini pick-up truck. He hadn't moved an inch the whole time I was gone. I can only imagine what he must have thought seeing my crippled car slowly inching towards him. Now a sensible person would have probably stopped and asked the old man for help (I doubt he had anything better to do anyway), but pride and fear of speaking Japanese forced me to push on. The look on his face as I slowly crawled by was truly priceless. So finally I got back to the main road. I was too far from any gas stations to get help, so I dumped the car in my school's parking lot and walked 30 minutes back home.
Today I borrowed a jack from another teacher and replaced the twisted hunk of melted rubber with the car's spare tire. I dreaded having to explain to the other teachers why my tire was flat, so I left out the whole climbing up the mountain part of the story. If they knew that, they'd probably never let me drive again. By the way, if any Noheji teachers are reading this (this means you Chieko and Iku sensei) please don't repeat any of this to anyone, onegaishimasu! After work I got the gas station man to replace the spare tire and remaining three tires with my winter tires. Sadly I lost one of my hubcaps up on the mountain somewhere. Well I'm not the kind of guy who learns his lesson, so look out Eboshi-san 'cause I'm coming to get my hubcap! No mountain can kick my car's ass and get away with it.
oh nooey! that is the worst ever :( I am glad that you made it back down the mountain safely. I feel you about not telling your school though…i told you that they might will something to happen to you! Ahh! It reminds me of my Rokkasho 179 incident but I know that mine ended better than this.
in HK news…I will get to you shortly. I have tons of info and can tell you about who i got my tix with. Very inexpensive…peace…
Haaaah, haah :) Actually, I can’t laugh because both times I attempted the Ikokuma Forest Road with vehicles (once by bike, once by car) I got flats. I just walk now, because I’ve developed a complex that ANY mountain can kick my car’s ass and get away with it.
Thanks for offering to help with the HK info T! …and Luke, I put the snow tires on my car and they seem much tougher than the one that burst. I almost went back today, but wound up doing a little urban exploration instead. No mountain will kick my car’s ass. This I vow!
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