Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Fujisan part 2
First off, I'd like to apologize for taking so long to upload the second part.
The bus drops us off at the fifth station on Mt.Fuji. This is about half way up the mountain. We're going to be traveling with the same group of people that were on the same bus. There's also a little time to explore the fifth station before we start on our way. Besides there being a lot of souvenir shops, there's a lot of places to buy food.
One thing, however, shocks me. There are a lot of foreigners here, more than I kind of expected. I can hear languages from all around the world, and we're all gathered here for one common goal, to climb Mt.Fuji
Our guide from the bus tells everyone in our group to have a look around and then meet back up at 11:30 to start the climb.
Looking up at Mt.Fuji, you can't see the top. There's were too many clouds in the way.
At the station, there is a shrine (in the picture you can see the torii- a gate marking that you are entering holy ground).
Shrines in Japan are for kami (gods). Throughout Mt.Fuji, there are many shrines since it was once believed Mt.Fuji held many gods. However, now-a-days shrines are "Just for fun," as Nakano-san stated. At most shrines, you can pay 100 yen for a fortune (one Mt.Fuji the fortunes come in English though usually they are only in Japanese).
After eating our onigiri (rice balls covered with seaweed) we meet back up with everyone in the group and then started out ascent.
The path is rather easy at first. In fact, some people even take a horse up to the 6the station, but after that the trail gets rather rocky. The wildlife I saw on the bus coming up to the 5th station has disappeared and there are only a few shrubs here and there and I'm surround by the sky above me and the land below.
The pace was slow, partly because going up fast isn't too wise (if you go up too fast, then your body can't adjust so fast to the air thinning and you'll be sick) and partly because of the crowd too!
During one of our break times, I got curious and went to find the bathroom and to my utter shock!!!!! Going to the bathroom costs 200 yen!!!! :O
Around 2 o'clock I'm starting to get tired. But now, I have to wait till 5, the time we'll reach the 8th station and sleep there. Nakanosan is doing well. And we've both started to eat our supply of chocolate. :)
The temperature also changes rapidly on Mt.Fuji. I felt like I was walking through seasons as I climbed up the mountain. From the hot summer weather from the 5th base to the winter cold at the 8th.
One of the great things about climbing Mt.Fuji though, is that you get to make friends on the way with your fellow companions.
When we do reach the 8th station (every in the group is rather tired) We are rewarded with curry and rice and...
As I step into the building where everyone is sleeping, the first thing I think is "concentration camp?"
If you've ever ridden a train in Japan, then you know that the Japanese people typically don't mind being close to each other when it is necessary... It was necessary on Mt. Fuji and everyone was packed close together. Really close to together. Poor Nakano-san had to sleep next to a boy she didn't know.
After we eat, we all flop into a warm bed.
Although everyone isn't getting up until 2 AM, I woke up at 9 o'clock. I wasn't sore from the climb, but I felt restless. So, being careful not to wake anyone up, I got out of bed and took a look outside.
As I stood there in the freezing cold, peering of the edge of Mt Fuji,
I beheld one of the most beautiful sights in my life.
Below me, lights glittered like tiny stars; they winded through the landscape and around the tiny mountains, creating their own milkway. To my left was a group of storm clouds and they raged without sound. Lightning sparked through their dark form though not even a whisper resounded through them. Everything was silent. My whole life, I had watched from below. I had been one of those stars looking up at the storm, looking up at the sky, looking up at the mountains. But now I was above the city's stars, above the storm, above all the mountains, and in the sky.