Blogs from Shizuoka, Japan, Asia

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Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Mt Fuji July 8th 2014

He who climbs Mount Fuji once is a wise man, he who climbs twice is a fool. Never have truer words been spoken. I summited Mount Fuji (Japan's iconic and highest mountain) last Tuesday morning ~5:30 completing the eastern peak Asian Trilogy of Fuji-san, Mount Kinabalu, and Yushan, the latter 2 being the highest mountains in Malaysia and Taiwan which I summited in May 2006 and June 2014, respectively. I'm not exactly sure why climbing Fuji twice would be considered foolish although I certainly have no intention of ever climbing again. In good weather, rare during the official July-August climbing season although fleetingly amazing when I went, the ascent is not difficult and can be completed by the physically fit in 4 hours without stopping. However, the descent is annoyingly tedious, quite painful, and unnecessarily long ... read more
Just Before Sunrise
Sunrise
Just After Sunrise

Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Mt Fuji April 28th 2014

Monday: Rekindling Mt Fuji Yes! Great sleep!! Woke up fresh and early. I must have eaten good yesterday. I was hungry but didn't feel deprived. We went to Lawson down the street at 7am to get a morning coffee. Just outside the house, there was nobody on the street at this wee hour except one lonely runner slowly coming toward us. Wait, that's Kaburaki san! Wow! He was running way slow. Hmm, learn from the master. From Lawson, we walked to Kawaguchiko. The event setup was being taken down. Awww. I felt strange nostalgia. Cherry blossom was in full bloom. So many fishermen were sitting ashore on high chairs. What a gorgeous day. Needless to say, my quads were shot but walking felt like a good active recovery :). We walked along the lake eastward toward ... read more
Kawaguchiko
Kawaguchiko
Fujiyama Taiyaki

Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Mt Fuji April 26th 2014

Jetlag woke me up by 4a, no! At 7:15, we checked out and reached Gotenba station right on time at 7:45. 3 buses were waiting along with a long line of participants. It was getting more real than ever!! Although the check in process seemed inefficient, our bus left at 8:15 and arrived at Kodomo no kuni ahead of the schedule. We must have walked a good mile of uphill to the event setup...so uncalled for...huff puff. Shige-san spotted us right away. He had arrived 20min earlier and already had pitched a picnic. We had to proceed to check-in. Check in to get the race packet was fast but the next step was a long wait, airport security style. We had to go through impromptu 6-item mandatory gear spot-check. Missing anything could lead to DQ. I ... read more
Getting excited
To the start line
Start area

Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Mt Fuji April 25th 2014

"The hardest part of a race is not getting to the finish, it is getting to the start. It is the motivation it takes to push the enter button, the guts it takes to dedicate yourself to training, the mental power to push through the pain and tough times. And it is all those qualities within that will drive you to the finish." - Anna Frost Preparation: I had this event under my radar from its inaugural in Sept 2012. It would be so epic to add Mt Fuji to Montserrat, Eiffel tower & GWC! I was ready to sign up for the 2013 event. It turns out, 2nd year underwent a lot of changes, including the event date and entry requirement. For wild life consideration, the event moved from Sept to April. Unfortunately, that announcement ... read more
In-flight potty
Her pack
His pack

Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Mt Fuji April 12th 2014

After all the hustle-bustle of a packed one day business conference at Tokyo, I was eagerly looking forward to my (purposefully) extended weekend trip to Mt. Fuji, the magnificent world heritage site. Accompanied by my newly introduced friend, who lives and works in Japan, needless to say, we had our plan handy for the most rewarding one-day trip from Tokyo. Conserving our tapering energy levels for some much needed sleep, we boarded a 30-seater coach that drove us from Shin-ju-ku to Mt. Fuji in about two hours. A bit annoyed by the slow-moving traffic that left us complaining, just until we got a breath-taking view of the captivating, snow-capped, mighty peak, standing still 3,776 meters above sea level. OMG! I was truly thankful for being blessed with splendid weather, giving us a crystal clear view of ... read more

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Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Ito April 8th 2014

Our last few days in Japan were intended as a bit of R&R before heading home and back to work. We booked ourselves into a ryokan, albeit a hostel ryokan, with onsen right next to the river. We had one big day trip planned and a few other little things we’d found in the guide book Ito is a nice town, but I can see that piece of coast being packed in summer. We had the beach to ourselves, but it was chilly! Our hostel, K’s House Ito Onsen, was right in the middle of town, a short walk from the train and bus station. The railway was a small line going down the peninsula and certain trains were scenic ones, with the seats facing sideways out big picture windows to enjoy the view. The train ... read more
Jogasaki Coast
Around our room
On the train to Ito

Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Mt Fuji March 21st 2014

We started our Japan adventure with perhaps one of the most iconic images – Mt Fuji. And possibly one of the coldest places we could find! We landed late afternoon at Narita Airport and stayed the first night in an airport hotel. It was average. Large room (meant to be a triple but had two doubles and a single, plus a cot for Katrina), hot shower, double glazing and blackout curtains. But worn. We took their free shuttle back to the airport and joined the long queue to swap our Japan Rail (JR) Pass voucher for our pass. We were glad the kids woke early and we went back to the airport earlier than we'd planned! We took the new N'EX train into Shinjuku station, one of Tokyo's transit hubs. As with all the trains we'll ... read more
The forest around the cave
The tribe and the mountain
Our first train ride here

Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Mt Fuji January 1st 2014

Happy new year everyone. Hope you had a splendid time and have a wonderful 2014. We had sake this morning as we were leaving the hotel. Very civilised, albeit at 7.20am! We had a wonderful New Year's Eve walking around Kyoto. new year is a big deal for the Japanese and they go wild buying very special and expensive food for sharing on New Year's Day. So we joined in the general melee in a department store food centre. I now understand what the term food porn means. There were so many dazzling and unusual things to buy. Cost an arm and a leg mind you. I put up a few photos. Peter, on the other hand sat in the foyer with the other old people. On New Year's Eve Japanese politeness is abandoned in their ... read more
Outside a Casino
At the Cat Cafe
Cute cat house

Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Mt Fuji January 1st 2014

Hi everyone The crowning glory of Wednesday was to go to the public bathhouse in the hotel. I wasn't going to go but thought what the heck. there are separate men's and women's baths so it wasn't too confronting. So basically you take off your clothes and sit on a little stool and have a nice hot shower. Then you step into a really hot swimming pool about the size of our bedroom . The water is piped in from the hot springs of Mt Fuji. It was really hot so about 5 minutes was all I could take. The presence and impact of Mt Fuji is huge. Everywhere we went, we saw new aspects of the mountain. she seemed to appear everywhere. Luckily because the weather is so clear that we have spectacular views. In ... read more
Fuji from our hotel window
View of Fuji from my side of the bed
Public bath in the hotel

Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Mt Fuji August 13th 2013

Summer camp was finally over and I was all packed up and ready for my trip to Japan. Anthony and I were heading over together for a couple days of exploring Tokyo and Mt. Fuji, then I was staying with a family in Fujisawa (about an hour south of Tokyo), and then finally off to Kyoto for a couple days. We first landed in Tokyo and figured out the subway system pretty easily. Same as Seoul's but a lot bigger with a lot of lines! We arrived at Kinshicho where we were staying in a Capsule hotel. A capsule hotel is basically a hostel that has a spaceship looking bed that you call your own and sleep in at night. It was made for Tokyo business people who would miss the late night trains and just ... read more
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