Monday, August 28, 2006

Mt. Fuji, Episode Three

The weather forecast was perfect all week for Wed. and Thurs., the days Chieko and I were to climb Mt. Fuji. I checked everyday, religiously, hoping that the weatherman wouldn't change his mind as often happens. Chieko had sent me an internet link to a live webcam on top of Mt. Fuji, but everytime we checked it was either white with clouds or black with night. Wed. rolled along and it started to rain, but we were not deterred. Arriving to the 5th stage at 6pm or 7pm, we sat in the cafeteria to acclimatize to the height before our big climb and to have a bowl of udon noodles for energy. At 8pm we were ready, and the rain had subsided. Yosha--, iku yo-----

There were fewer people than my previous climb, and everyone gave a friendly "Konbanwa" (good evening) or "Ganbatte kudasai" (hand in there) mountain greeting. The stars started peeking through the clouds, and since Chieko always makes me laugh, we huffed and giggled our way up the slope. I was feeling fine (brag brag) and Chieko was doing a good pace except she said her heart was racing and she felt like a dog panting up the mountain. At the 9th stage we were both getting dizzy and decided to sleep in the little hut. Lucky we stopped where we did because the 9.5 hut from last year I later discovered was a pile of rocks!

Two hours later (3:00 am) the lights came on and everyone was restling about, so we gave in and joined them. I don't think I've ever woken up at 3am in my entire life. I crawled out of the dusty futon, put on my warmer clothes, and we took back off to our self-inflicted agony. One hour later we were at the peak, just in time for the SUNRISE, I finally got to see the famous sunrise from the top of Mt. Fuji, YIPPEEEEEEEEE.

Side Note) The exclamation mark on the computer I'm on at the moment is not working, otherwise I assure you would see many, many of them in this blog entry.

We decided to take the sandy Gotemba route and try a lesser known path that connects the two trails, more walking, but fewer rocks for tired legs. The sun was out by now and it was rare that we ran into anyone on this path, so everyone we did meet was very friendly.

5 1/2 hours up and 5 hours down, and it was a blast. Besides lack of sleep, I was in pretty good shape the next couple days, and Chieko didn't even get sore muscles, that toughy. Now even Chieko wants to do it again, weeeeeeeeeee what a success.

I have pics, check out the link to the side.

I just got into Sydney, Australia today, I'll report more on that later.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bienvenidos to My New Blog!

Bienvenidos to my new blog! I wanted a space where I could put up stuff about my travels and friends and family could easily comment without being a member. I hope you take the time to read and would loooove to hear from you!

After quitting my translation job in Japan and getting over my culture shock in the States, I have now started my first journey! But really, where did the journey begin? Did it start from Seattle when Dad and I drove to Alaska (see Yahoo 360 blog for pics and write up), to Vancouver for a weekend to gorge out on veggie food with the fabulous company of my friends, to Los Angeles for hilarious play-dough games and a day trip to Tijuana with my cousin, then an international flight to Japan to get a re-dose of culture shock? Or even sooner with a week hang-out in Winnipeg with Mom, Bismarck $10 a roll sushi and too many margaritas with my sis, and 4th of July in Milwaukee with relatives including a special trip to Summerfest to see Lenard Skinnerd with my cousin (the ultimate re-acclimatization zap into U.S. culture....FREEBIRD!)? It was going to be a chill-out summer for me, I needed to relax after working Japanese karoushi office style (karoushi: death from overwork) for the last 3 1/2 years, but man alive has it been busy! And FUN!

My JAL 747 flew into Narita airport on Tues. afternoon with a typhoon hovering in the skies, it was pretty turbulent but I wasn't too concerned. I have Mom to thank for that, though she doesn't know it she cured me of my fear of flying with a book she lent me while in North Dakota. What was the name of that book written by the flight attendant, Mom?
Typhoons make for gorgeous sunsets, as shown in this pic:

It feels like I was never gone, my old problems and annoyances are coming back, and holy cow is it hot. What ever came over me to want to come to Japan the hottest, most humid and unbearable time of the year. But it's great to eat healthy food (sorry about all my food complaints in the States, everyone) and to see everyone! Plans in Japan include climbing Mt. Fuji again next week. I'll report later on that! There were 2 more typhoons nearing, but they veered off to China, so we should have some nice Fuji-san weather. Fingers crossed!