09.07.2007 - 13.07.2007 16 °C
I promised a blog about mount fuji. Firstly, know that i have long wanted to climb fuji, second, that i am stubborn as a stubborn brick. Mount fuji, rather than being visible from anywhere in japan, is in fact totally invisible even one mile from the base. so i have not actually seen fuji. but, from station five, we set off. the climb was really pretty easy, gentle winding slopes, occasional steeper rocky sections, and regular break points with overpriced drinks. we decided to climb to the final station (real 8th or 8.5, i dont know which it was, they blended in a little), and as the day wore on it got pretty cold and dark. but we wanted to sleep until as late as possible, and even then needed to rise at 2a.m. to catch sunrise. at about 3200m i started to feel a bit wobbly, breathing hard to catch, dizzy ish. as we ascened it got worse, and overnight i couldnt breathe, it felt like i was running but i was lying down. in the morning, and for (i assume) unrelated reasons i had diorrea. needed to buy oxygen but could only walk about 50m between breaks. towards the top i got cramps in legs, tasted blood (didnt tell alison), but, despite doubting it made it to the top, where i sat in a sleeping bag until 4.33 and then jumped up to photograph sunrise. descent made me better.
a couple of days spent in hokkaido now, learning about the ainu, eating a sea urchin, chatting to various nationalities in an excellent hostel - Ino`s Place, Sapporo - and taking in the world famous views of hakodate by night. tommorw we catch a train at 3a.m to go to tourist mecca of hiroshima (and i cant decide if this is sarcasm or truth. everyone seems to want to go there). Today, which alison goes into more detail about below, we also took high tea at the old british consulate, and are staying in a hotel so posh that it forbids "carrying items with a loathsome smell into the rooms", and the station opposite forbids storing dead bodies in the lockers. so i`ll just have to carry it then...
Ok, backtracking a little... Last day in Tokyo we did some last minute sight seeing - tried to visit the Imperial Palace but was closed on a Monday! Then in the afternoon had to do some quick shopping - as i had discovered when i got up that morning that the bottom of my shorts had worn through and i was being indecent - nice pair of shorts but i don't think much to them lasting a week (have taken photos so i can write and complain when i get home) so instead i ended up with a mans pair for 4 pounds.
Then we took the sleeper train to Sapporo, journey was ok, bunk beds with curtains around but there was a really wierd guy in the carriage. Got to Sapporo and planned to stay one night in Ino's but we ended up staying 3 as it was such a great atmosphere and really friendly owners. From here we took day trips to a farm at Forano - won lavender awards in France - smelled great and took loads of pics.Wednesday went to the living Ainu museum at Shiraoi which was disappointing but interesting then went back to Sapporo and visited the botanical garden and found another Ainu museum - better. Joe found the Gengis Khan had a special recipe named after him, so we visited the old Sapporo beer factory so he could try it - although it was a bit pants, didn't live up to the name! Today we have travelled to Hakodate (3hrs from Sapporo) and have visited many temples and churches and enjoyed walking through this interesting town - very different to other cities. Also found that festival of DEAD is currently in action, so streets are lined with flower stalls so give to graves. Tonight we went in a cxable car to Mt Hakodate so we could see a view, however once again the weather got the better of us and we were surrounded by mist- but it was an experience. Tomorro off to Hiroshima - hoping weather will improve.