Don’t go painting outside in holey sandals

Watercolor painting of small river in the countryside
“Relaxing walk by a small stream”

It’s time to say goodbye to my sandals.

My holey, not holy, sandals that is.

And I learnt you should never take a walk in nature with holey sandals.

But this is what I did and I stepped on something full of tiny needles. One of God’s wonderful creations!

It’s especially not a good idea to wear holey or flimsy sandals when you walk in the Japanese countryside because it is a rugged place full of sharp and thorny things not to mention the ants that bite and the odd slithering snake.

Despite this hole and a tasteful suntan with the outer half of my legs red and the inner half moth white I had a great time in the countryside.

And, I can honestly say, it was all worth it when you can find scenes like the one above.

So I did a painting of the scene and then I got back in the car and decided to explore some more. 

I was on a painting adventure, looking for scenes to paint, and this had taken me to a small country road behind Beppu town. It was a new place for me and full of interesting things to see and paint.

I drove just a short distance before coming to a wide open area with a beautiful mountain that had a climbing trail. The first part of the trail was a gentle slope that would be easy to climb in my sandals. I later found out that this mountain is called Yufudake.

I ascended in my sandals. It was just grassy and so I didn’t have to worry about the hole in my sandals. But I wasn’t too adventurous on this occasion and only went about 300 meters up the side of the mountain.

I was in my casual attire and quite a contrast to the Japanese trekkers who were all kitted out in the latest hiking fashions. 

One woman was wearing black lycra tights and fluorescent green shorts. Seeing them led to the vision of a pair of fluorescent shorts seemingly walking by themselves up a mountain at night. 

The scenery was amazing. The bottom of the mountain was a grassy slope but scattered with large rocks and small trees. Higher up it became a dense forest and at the top it ended in two rocky peaks.

As the sun slowly started to sink, dramatic shadows started to slowly appear and then to snake slowly and sinuously down the mountain surface. I was mesmerized by these slow slithering shadows. 

I didn’t do any painting. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do justice to the beauty of the scene and besides I had run out of watercolor paper.

Instead, I did a lot of drawings to try and capture that spectacular beauty.

Below is a painting that I later did from these drawings and my memory.

Watercolor painting of Yufudake mountain
“Walking down a mountain trail at evening time”

Upon returning to the car, I was surprised to see two trekkers just beginning to climb the mountain. I reckoned that it would take about two and a half hours to reach the peak and it was already about 6.30 in the evening. They were carrying big backpacks so they might have intended to sleep on the top of the mountain.

I wondered what that experience would be like. Little did I know that I would soon be having that experience. You can read about my misadventure on Mt. Yufudake here.

That’s all for now,



I originally wrote this story in September of 2014. I edited it in 2022.