I went to the gym today. It was a cool and beautiful autumn day. Dave is better after a bout of tumminess the last three days. He had Malay chicken soup, leftover from last night’s dinner, for lunch. I decided to have a tuna sandwich and managed to slice my thumb opening the can. I was howling in pain as well as seeing all the blood. It took us a few minutes to find the bandaids. It was soaked as soon as Dave put it on but he told me to ignore the blood, even though it was dripping out of the bandaid. No sympathies from that one – he who had cuts from chainsaws and box cutters. Despite the cut thumb, I enjoyed my sandwich.
About 3pm we rode our bikes to the castle as my friend Junko san mentioned something about a festival. We were either too late or too early because nothing was going on over there. On the way back to the apartment, I noticed that the small shop selling imported clothings from India and Asia was opened for once. We went in and looked around and there were beautiful tables and beads and necklaces from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. There were beautiful silk skirts from Thailand and embroidered shirts as well.
The man behind the counter chatted with us and he pointed to pictures of mountains on the wall. Then he said I draw maps and he showed us what he was working on. He pointed to the pictures on the wall and he said, “I climbed K2 in 1977.” We were stunned and so impressed! He spoke some English and proceeded to show us the maps of the Karakoram, which he had drawn and published. I told him that I had just finished reading Three Cups of Tea, the book by Greg Mortenson and he had mentioned about the Karakoram and the Baltoro Glacier. Then, Tsuneo san opened up a beautiful map of the Baltoro Glacier that he had surveyed and published!! Dave and I was just so excited. You can check out this site formore info: http://www.jac.or.jp/english/jan/vol1/NEW.pdf
He told us that he is now 70 something (I think he said) but he still goes up to Northern Pakistan every summer and proceeded to show us pictures of his last trip, enormous beautiful mountains as the backdrop. I asked him for his business card and googled his name. That’s how I found out that he has labored for years to draw and publish Mountaineering maps of the Karakoram and Hindu Kush.
He took us to his second floor shop and showed us allthe artifacts he has brought home for sale. One item that intrigued me was wooden shoes from Afghanistan. The front and back were like horses’ hooves and the foot is placed on a small platform with leather thongs. He has pictures galore and he and his wife invited me back and I will definitely go back to the shop.
Meeting him has inspired Dave and I to get the Lonely Planet Book on Trekking the Karakoram and maybe do the trip one of these days. Tsuneo san, like Greg Mortenson, has had a hand in building schools in the Nepal mountains for kids. Every year when he goes there, he always brings school supplies for the children.
What a beautiful day and meeting Miyamori Tsuneo was a bonus!