CLIMBING MOUNT FUJI
MOUNT FUJI VIDEO:
Answer? SUSHI and MOUNT FUJI!
The unbeatable response you receive from anyone you ask is, "What is Japan well-known for?"
Living 7 years in Japan is a bonus. Working overseas, especially in this country, is not a dupe. Apart from the language and boundless kanji characters that you ought to master, the flexibility to acclimate to the working culture and the compliance of visa yearly made me learn to be more than grateful to stretch my stay here.
Luckily, the heavens allowed me to visit spots and experience this nation's outlandish culture in those years.
And for this year, I ascended Mount Fuji as the only solo foreigner in the pack and knew no one. It was pretty scary that I may not be able to understand the instructions from the tour guide, but I trust Google Translate could at least help my message pass through.
I ditched the 80 percent self-distrust of "there's no way I can do it" and just believed in my 20 percent "what if I can nail this?"
I trained myself for this once-in-a-lifetime challenge for weeks targetting my cardio, legs, and arms. Arms because my height is undeniably a challenge to the giant boulders I had to pass. My arms are the only alternative to pull myself up.
I packed enough for clothes, a medicine kit, two liters of water, adhesive heat pads, and many 100-yen coins.
One hundred yen coins go a long way when you climb Mount Fuji. Everything there is pricey because carrying goods for everyone's convenience is demanding.
I mounted from August 18-19. I rode the bus from Tokyo Station, heading to Mt Fuji's 5th station.
We started climbing the Yoshida Trail at 13:00. The gossip is true. It was dead hard. It is doable. However, it is best to complete it before sunset as the wind tends to be stronger and colder. You're most likely to shiver, which unfortunately happened to me. The hot miso soup saved me.
We reached the 9th station around 17:30. I immediately changed to dry clothes, ate dinner at 19:00, and everybody rested at 20:00, as we had to wake up at 02:00 the following day.
I couldn't sleep, maybe because the place was new to me. Also, everybody was snoring. That was the fun part for me. I had no fusses about that, though. I deemed it fun because I feel like it is a church hymn or a cow farm.
When one snored at the corner, another responded at the other corner of the room. Some were loud, and some were whispering.
We could not help it; everyone was tired. Who would not?
I woke up at 2 AM, had breakfast, and ordered an additional hot soup to warm me up.
I couldn't order hot milk or coffee because I wouldn't say I like having an emergency toilet call.
As most bloggers or writers say, toilets are inaccessible and costly. Also, I cannot afford to sacrifice my group members waiting for me to calm my stomach.
I geared up for the last leg of the ascent. My outfit was more like winter.
We started to ascend from 3 AM. The place was so dark that only the headlights were our only source to walk on the narrow footpath.
I saw trekkers taking a break at the sides, grasping for air or wrapping themselves with a mylar thermal blanket.
I was walking behind our tour guide. I had to keep near him so as not to get lost.
Ascending from the 9th station to the summit wasn't tough as yesterday. Probably because it was a 90-minute hike and the exquisite stars helped me enjoy the journey.
And there, I reached the peak around 04:20. I was very proud of myself then.
We were a group of 12, and only 8 of us made it to the top for health reasons.
The weather was so flawless that I saw the sunrise in a clear sky.
The sunrise viewing lasted for about 12 minutes.
I was stunned by what was ensuing to me at that time. I recorded that moment and recalled everything vividly.
At 6:30, we began to descend. From the start of the Subaru Line/Pathway, we went down the mountain separately.
I went down solo, and as I was heading down, I just realized my water bag was empty. I forgot to buy water.
I was startled and panicked because there were no shops on Subaru Trail, only toilets.
As much as I want to gulp the toilet water just in case, I cannot. The water is red. I think it has to do with the volcano's soil.
I diverted my attention by singing and taking more videos to stay calm. Luckily I made it to the 5th station.
I hurriedly hydrate myself from the drinks in the vending machine. I even forgot to get my change. Good thing someone chased me from behind and handed it to me. Kind people are everywhere.
That's how disoriented and clumsy I was due to thirst.
I changed clothes and returned my rented stuff (headlight and walking sticks.) I took a quick break and bought the famous Mount Fuji Melon Bread as a souvenir.
The bread costs 300 yen each, and the souvenir box is 1,100 yen for three pieces.
We huddle in for the last meeting. Then our tour guide handed us a Certificate of Ascent on Mount Fuji.
I snapped out of my dream and brought myself to the reality that I had officially made it.
We rode our bus and bid farewell to our tour guide. He was so kind to me as he helped me carry my stuff. I appreciate you, Mr. Yoshida.
We left the place and headed to an onsen nearby; I took a quick shower and sauna, then stayed on the bus to rest.
Did I meet new friends? Yes, I did.
A lady solo hiker in the group can speak English. She translated for me when it was too hard. She's a very cool lady. She loves adventure, too.
Also, the other members of the group smiled at me. We might not have had the chance to speak, but those smiles were enough for me to know we are a team.
By the way, we called our team"TEAM PULL."
That's how lucky I was! I couldn't ask for more.
The bus brought us to Shinjuku Station as the last part of the event. It was a calm goodbye.
Always be fair to yourself.
- When you think you are incapable and judge yourself for being inadequate, remember that there's always one thing you have that could start you to be adequate. Start from there.
- Appreciate the things happening around you.
VALUE your YOUTH
- Define the youth you want to reminisce about when the time can no longer let you reexperience.
Thank you for reading my blog. I hope I have inspired you.
Check our MOUNT FUJI VLOG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGdAcsaBSbw