For the first time this year, the balls of my feet got to graze the knitted webbing of one of my dearest friends; the slackline. the first contact was bittersweet as my delicate tootsies bared the thirty degree weather unhindered by the sockshackles. my toes were not as dexterious as they usually are. and my heels needed to be rotated. nevertheless: magic.
Slackining is, in a (hyphenated) word, tightrope-walking; with your rope being about five centimeters in width and a mere yard above the groun. the thing itself is more ad hoc than the image it may bring up to those who are unfamiliar with the (?)sport. two strong trees, thirty feet of webbing and a baker's double of carabeeners are all that is need to enjoy a day of slack(line)ing.
Naturally the first walk across the slackline is more of a tumble; but after a few months anyone can work it up to a saunter. sadly though, even after six years my gavotte yet has some wicked kinks in it. still, the continual adjustment of minute muscles to keep astride makes slacklining both interesting and relaxing. i recommend everyone try it at least twice.
Slinging a rope betwixt two trees for a trot has been a hobby of mine long before i started crashing the gates of japan. but toting me line around Kyushu Island proved fruitless thanks to a lack of shrubbery. i had a good 18 months of stagnation with not a twig to hitch my line to.
But here in Osaka...everything is different.
For the second year in a row my stopping grounds have been Osaka Castle Park; and it is in this haven where i chose to pop my slackline's 2011 cherry.
and what a haven.
in the land of comfortable conformity; of business and bologne; the osakans have found a place to be all kinds of fucking weird. allow me to recap my suroundings as i wandered through Osaka Castle Park to my usual roost:
flocks of grade-schoolers manipulating unicycles
40 year olds dressed in clothes from the fifties (to put the Fonz to shame)
african drums...and a violin
a confusing pasttime that utilizes what appears to be a cross between a pair of rollerblades and a very small skateboard
tight tight jogging shorts
dogs in baby-carriages (sadly seen more often then wanted)
and a poor boy standing all alone singing his heart out to the castle moat
i could die here.
this is the oasis of woopsy culture that i have been searching for in japan. one could find a bench and sit for hours (i have). the pathways and roadways are simply shellaced with interesting if not baffling peoples and doohickies. and there is nothing better than precariously propping myself up upon my slackline and getting a landing-bird's-eye veiw of all the slendor...