So we’re in Kawaguchi-ko, at the base of Mt Fuji and we have already had several arguments about climbing it. We are, and then we’re not. We are, and then we’re not. In the end, we have settled for climbing the first part of the Yoshidaguchi trail, from the Sengen Shrine to the 5th Station. We have chosen to do this because of the significance of the Yoshidaguchi trail and the pilgrimage up Mt Fuju. You see since the beginning of time, people who were destined to climb the mountain would start at the Sengen Shrine with a prayer. They would then begin their ascent from the base, through the forest and up to the summit. Some might argue that they actually climbed the mountain back then, not got a bus half way up then walked the rest. (No judgement here though – apparently it’s still a pretty hard climb from half way up) so I can understand why they do it. However seeing as we are likely to get caught in a freak storm or freeze to death if we attempt to ascend to the summit in off season (you even have to register with the police if you attempt to!) we have opted to complete the first part of the pilgrimage and pay homage to all those who have trekked before us. It’s by no means an easy feat. It’s an eight hour round trip and it’s absolutely going to kill us but at least we can say we climbed Mt Fuji. Eventually we will come back and do the summit, and then, we will have climbed from base to summit. Plus, we can stop at the Nyonin Tenjo (women’s holy ground) which is the place where, until 1832, women were only allowed to climb to.
But back to the nearly getting killed part. The entire time we have been in Japan, Shona has insisted on trying to jaywalk, and when she has stopped, she does so basically in the gutter she is so close to the road. I have been giving her hell about this the entire time and today was no different. I was busy berating her when the light changed to go. I started to walk but Shona, who was ready to argue her point, delayed her departure from the sidewalk. Next thing I know, Shona is yelling at me and a small sort of Daihatsu tray truck goes whipping past me within an inch of my nose. I freeze, before beginning to yell about the fact that I have a little green walk man & that this crazed Japanese man had, trying to cut in front of the oncoming traffic to get around the corner, had almost killed me! And that is the tale of how I almost became Japanese road kill. True story.
BTW, we are in the coolest hostel tonight – it’s awesome.