My friends and I successfully climbed Mt. Fuji from the bottom (Sengen Shrine) on July 26th, 2017. It was mentioned that we start from the bottom over a few bottles of wine and initially I was against it. However, what won me over was when my friend Brandon told me that this was the historical route the pilgrims used to take before cars were invented and since I love history that was what I needed to hear. 99% of hikers start from the 5th station which is in the middle of the mountain and where the road ends. There are a lot of shops, restaurants and tourist stuff at the 5th station but then you need to walk about half an hour to get to the actual trail.
It is 12:58 PM on August 16th, 2017. We’ve been back from Japan for over a week now and the terrible jet-lag has finally subsided. I am not yet back into full routine yet however as I’ve had a lot of work to catch up on and the jet-lag made me very tired when I wasn’t working.
I visited Sengakuji after a late night and too many bottles of Shochu in Nishiogikubo. I went drinking with a Japanese friend and it was a great experience although I do not remember much of it. He was dressed in traditional Japanese clothing and the street he took me to was lined with small, seemingly Edo-era restaurants. Each one only seated between 8 – 15 people and we started drinking early. He always added a drink called “Hoppy” to his Shochu and I was confused at first when he told me it didn’t contain any alcohol. He let me know that after World War II the capacity to produce beer was much reduced yet people still wanted that beer taste. Hoppy could be easily produced and when added to Shochu it gave a beer flavor.
The beautiful, ancient rice field is now in harvest season. I felt grateful to be able to catch this sunrise as the only sliver of clear sky is just on the horizon and the space between the hill and tree only amounts to about a month of visibility. To think that my wife’s family has lived in this same area for over 300 years makes me reflect on the brevity of our short lives and the shadows of history beneath our feet. I would like to stand in this spot, and indeed every spot in the whole world since the beginning of time, to watch empires rise and fall, as well as the rice grow from seed to harvest throughout the generations.