Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mt. Fuji

Sunrise view of Mt. Fuji from the hot tub in my hostel...sublime

Cxxx  / MOUNTAIN / Oxxxx / Fxxx

After the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, I trained (4 trains, 3 companies, help!) to the Mt. Fuji area (Kawaguchiko) for some hiking and R&R. In a nice hostel just across from the train station with a kick-ass view of Mt.Fuji.

Bussed up to Fifth Station at 8000 feet and hiked about 1.5 hours up to Seventh, stopping because of all the hard ice and requirement to hold the chain to stay on track. The path is closed for the season, the huts are closed, they take down the signs.

I love looking down from a height more than looking up, so the 15 km hike back into town was very enjoyable. Mind you, I got lost and ended up in the next town just as the sun went down. Added a bit of stress to what had been a very loose day. Made the supper , beer and hot tub all the more enjoyable.

Japan Thoughts

- I never hear car odd. Just too damn polite
- The huts from Fifth Station down are all abandoned, as the bus goes around them. Many people hike the mountain, but not from the bottom. Too bad
- The hiking paths are well maintained, yet they handle water runoff completely different from say New Zealand, using wired sandbags, cement poles that look like birch and rock bins
- I am continually in small, polite simple conversations with locals. My 5 words Japanese with their 10-20 English can across quite a bit, as long as it is not specific directions and you remember that answering YES to your question may not mean much

I also hiked up Tenjoyrama, which gives a nice view of the lake and the mountain

Travel Thoughts

- The mechanics of backpacking (book hostel, find groceries, laundry, maps, trains/buses, ATMs, museums, restaurants, hike locations) take about twice as much of your time when access to English is compromised
- I spend a lot of time wandering back streets, popping into cemeteries, peeking in backyards. I love seeing how different cultures use space for say gardens and laundry and parking and courtyards and how their architecture deals with hills and dense living.

I also visited the Fuji Museum. Lots of old farm implements and sports gear. Check out the split-toe skates, knapsack, crampons and handyd-dandy all-around food processor.

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