Monday, August 23, 2010

Rice Harvest

Sorry for my absence between the new moon and the full moon, but I had to go back to Japan to help with the rice harvest. (I wish. Just kidding.) In the U. S., we picture farms as endless acres of crops. In Shizuoka, small rice fields grew between factories, houses, or schools. As Alex notices in American Fuji (p 170): "He passed a one-family house, a fabric store, a miniature rice field, a Mitsubishi plant, and an apartment complex. He wondered about Japanese zoning laws. Was it chaos or was he blind to whatever scheme prevailed? He thought of the measuring-instrument stores in Tokyo and Shizuoka. Japan organized itself differently. It wasn't like Europe, where a drugstore was a drugstore with a different word for it. You had to learn a whole new way of thinking. No wonder he felt so stupid here."

Here, you see sheaves of rice hung upside down to dry. If you look closely, you can see Mt. Fuji in the background tangled in the phone lines above my head.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mt. Fuji/Moon Landing Anniversary

That's it for the Mt. Fuji/Moon Landing Extended Play special. The complete hike (through Alex's eyes) is described in Chapters 38 and 39 of American Fuji. A final note: a copy of the novel itself also made the hike to the summit! That particular book now resides with friends in Santa Cruz.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Fool on the Hill

Mt. Fuji looks different after you've climbed it. Even better.

A Japanese saying--very roughly translated-- says you are a fool if you never climb Fuji once in your life, but more of a fool if you climb Fuji more than once. I wish, for my one ascent, I had not been so intent on following Japanese tradition. I missed a lot by climbing at night: too dark to see, too tired to observe. My advice would be to start early in the morning, arrive at the summit in the afternoon (when it is also far less crowded), and return well in advance of sunset so that the dark portion of the hike is the shallow, easy stretch at Level 5. Take plenty of your own water to see you through. But do bring a "tough, separate-type jacket" and postcards to mail at the top!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Daruma Chain Gang

The day after the night hike of Mt. Fuji my friends and I went to the beach at Miho (sandier than Shizuoka's gravel and tetrapot, although the sand was black) and soaked our sore muscles in warm ocean water. We even found a place that served soft ice cream. Eric was happy. That day, July 21, we called ourselves the Dharma Chain Gang.

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Back to the Future

The hike ended where it began, back at the trailhead at 10:00 AM on July 20th. I was exhausted to the point of hallucinating, but I had earned my bragging rights. And, in daylight, I could now read the sign.

This is the 13th post of the official Fuji Anniversary series, but post-hike posts continue with the antidote for altitude at ground zero.

Many thanks to Eric and Veronica for taking several of these photos and letting me use them in my blog. The hon is mine.