Nobody told you to do it: Climbing Mt. Fuji on a rainy day

I climbed Mt. Fuji on 14th of July. The weather condition was awful, although it wasn’t as bad as I expected, to be honest. How bad did I expect it to be? To the extent that it was impossible to climb Mt. Fuji. It was barely climbable. My friend Ashley, a Butoh dancer extraordinaire, climbed the mountain with me and she wrote about her experiences on her blog. Do read her post on Mt. Fuji as well.

We caught a bus from Kawaguchi-ko Station at 7.20 am. When we were at Kawaguchi-ko Station, the weather seemed fine and we thought we might be able to climb Mt. Fuji on a good weather condition. But it was soon proven to be mistaken. When we got to 5th Station of Mt. Fuji around 8.15 am, it was raining hard up in the middle of the mountain. We spent a little while to get used to the quick change of the altitude, and then took off around 8.40 am.

As we walked on, the weather got worse. The rain was hitting us hard. The wind was malicious. The fog was painting the scene completely white.

Our pace was quite fast. We did have some rest, but never a substantial break. It was so cold that stopping to have a rest meant cooling down your body under that circumstance. So, the best way to keep us warm and sane was to keep marching on. I think it took us only 5 hours to get to the top of Mt. Fuji, while it is estimated to take more than 6 hours to get there.

The whole experience reminded me of what I have been learning and getting more aware of this year.

Since I expected the weather to be bad, my intention was simply to keep going as far as possible. All I cared was to take one step further and I didn’t really worry about getting to the top of the mountain. What’s great is that these small steps did get me to the top and back to 5th Station. What can I do to make my life more creative, romantic, and awesome? Know where I’m heading and take small steps towards it every day. It’s just like climbing Mt. Fuji.

By the way, the real top – the highest point of Mt. Fuji wasn’t reachable due to the bad weather. The view from the top was completely white and otherworldly. There was nothing magnificent of the kind you see in photos of Mt. Fuji. But that freaky view was made beautiful thanks to all the steps I took and the experiences of getting soaked and frozen as if my body was washed and left on a snowy field before leaving this world.

Nobody told us to do it. We chose to climb Mt. Fuji on that day, and the weather happened to be terrible. You can’t control the weather, unfortunately. But you can make a choice. My choice was to take small steps. This whole process was so moving that I almost cried for joy at some points. I made a promise to Ashley that I would keep smiling for the whole way, and apart from those moments, I did keep that promise.

We got out of the top of Mt. Fuji as soon as we got there. For descending, it took us less than 3 hours, I believe. We managed to catch the 4.55 pm bus from 5th Station to Kawaguchi-ko Station.

Would I do it again? Perhaps not any soon, but yes, I would. On a sunny day.

Anecdote:
I brought my iPhone with me, intending to tweet about this climb. However, since I didn’t stop much and couldn’t be bothered tweeting, I put it in my backpack, covering it in a plastic bag. But it escaped from the bag. It was stuck somewhere in the backpack, with nothing to protect it from water. So, naturally, it got all wet. When I noticed that after coming back to 5th Station, it was too late and my iPhone didn’t work at all. I tried this method to resurrect my iPhone and it worked! Make sure you protect your iPhone from water and if it gets soaked, try the rice method. I can’t guarantee that it will work for you, but it did work for me. It’s worth a try.

30 day blogging challenge, done. (Day 30)

Tomorrow, I’ll climb the highest mountain in Japan – Mt. Fuji. I hope the weather will be fine despite the forecast telling me otherwise. In any case, I’m sure I’ll have great experiences and create beautiful memories. You might think it’s easier said than done, but I believe you can choose to make those experiences and memories happen. It’s not that you force them to happen, but you choose to be open to whatever happens to you and to enjoy the ride.

This 30 day of blogging made clear what I like writing about. I like writing about life, beauty and passion. Understanding this is a great lesson from this challenge. Now, my next challenge is to focus on these topics and to have fun doing it. I sense that there’s danger of being too fluffy when people talk about these things, and that’s what I want to avoid, really. It’s a practical challenge for me in terms of writing.

Here's another short post (Day 29)

Really, one of the most important lessons I should learn from this blogging challenge is that I should start writing a post before 11.30pm, at least when I’m committed to blogging daily! The Internet connection somehow gets unstable and I can’t post from my laptop and I’m forced to write it from iPhone. That’s what happens when I postpone writing. And yes, it’s happening right now!

Business idea: Argument Clinic (Day 28)

I’ve been learning about entrepreneurship a lot from $100 Business Forum by Chris Guillebeau and Pam Slim, and Question the Rules by Johnny B. Truant and Lee Stranahan in order to build a location independent business and my own empire. But at the same time, I’ve been struggling to find the most important element in this endeavor: products/services.

The problem is that even though I do come up with some business ideas, they don’t really look like what I’m after or there are so many people who do better than me.

Earlier today, Lee Stranahan (@Stranahan) tweeted:

If you had to start a business quickly to bring in a $1000 (one thousand) a month working at home, what would you do?

To which I replied:

Argument clinic. Helping people sharpen their logic&reasoning in what they’ve written. The real Q is: why haven’t I started it?

What I find interesting is that I didn’t have to think hard to come up with my reply to Lee. This argument clinic business isn’t what I’m looking for exactly, but it’s close enough and if it did grew up to be a source of $1000 per month, that would be totally fine.

So, why haven’t I started it yet? It really doesn’t cost me much to launch this business idea. Indeed, it’s hard to think of great reasons against starting this business. So, why not?

I love what Lee said in reply to my tweet:

But you have started it. You started it just now.

Sometimes a little encouragement like this one helps a lot. If you wanted to use such a service, what would want from it?

Japan needs something more than English (Day 26)

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama states as follows in an interview for The Japan Times:

“In order to contribute to the world, Japanese must learn English. The reality is that the universal language is English. Due to the language problem, Japanese people can’t contribute enough. It doesn’t have to be perfect English! My English is broken but I can still communicate!”

I do agree that Japanese must learn English and be able to communicate with the world. I believe there’s more than the English language that Japanese people must learn, though. What they really need is to realize that there’s no divide between Japanese people and non-Japanese people: we’re all human beings after all. It seems to me that many Japanese people have been studying English without even realizing this simple fact. Languages are for communication, but generally speaking, many Japanese people seem to study English as though English is a ticket to a better position at work rather than a communication tool. What a boring goal. Seriously.

My impression is that the majority of Japanese people have no idea what non-Japanese people are like or that they have wrong ideas about them. I bet that most of the people who read my blog are expats in Japan and I’m sure you know much more about all these things than I do.

I imagine the following situations. One in which many Japanese people can speak English fairly well but they still don’t have the sense of international community. And the other in which many Japanese people still suck at English, but they’re more open to non-Japanese visitors and residents. Now of course it’s better if they could speak English and were open to non-Japanese people, let’s cross this option out for the sake of simplicity. And let’s have the same deal with the situation where Japanese people can’t speak English and they aren’t open to non-Japanese people… well, this one sounds a lot like the current situation. In any case, with those two situations, I would choose the latter. The reason behind this choice is simple. If there’s no intention to communicate with others, then being able to speak English … or any other language doesn’t mean anything. But, if you’re keen on communicating with others, then what language you speak doesn’t matter much. Body language and what not could fill in the gap.

Now, the question is: what can we do about it to make Japanese people more open towards the world outside of Japan? What can I do about it?