The percussive beat of walking staffs,
Pounding the well-worn cobbled path
Jangling gayly jingling hiking bells,
Accompanies an aria of laughing children
Happily hopping along, from stone to stone,
On a chilly afternoon in early autumn.

They skip by shops full of sights and flavors
Watching customers dine on steaming-hot udon,
Drink cold nama beers as crisp as the air,
And leisurely rest in cozy comfort.

Their parents walk behind, holding hands,
Casually perusing the wares of souvenir shops,
Pondering what mass-produced trinket
Would best commemorate the occasion.

Frequent thuds from vending machines
Dispensing cans of corporate sugar-water
To hydrate the hopped-up, hyper youths
Who are double-fisting foaming soda
And savory soft-serve ice cream twists.

A lazy family outing
Enjoying the beautiful weather
On a sunny fall day,
Surrounded by nature
Atop the tallest mountain in Shiga.

I think I even saw a bird.

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