“Show Me Japan” photos

My friend Anna (@AnnnaTrouble) is organizing Show Me Japan, in which Japan bloggers, photographers, and other interested parties display their Japan-related photos on their respective blogs. If you want to see photos of Japan by other people or want to participate in this meme, make sure to visit Anna’s website linked above!


I wondered what part of Japan I could show you, and realized that I took some photos when I went to Nagatoro, Saitama recently. Nagatoro is a great place for nature lovers. Unlike other popular destinations like Nikko or Mt. Takao, Nagatoro is less crowded. It’s quite accessible from central Tokyo, too. (i.e. it takes about 2 hours to get to Nagatoro from Ikebukuro by train)

The photos below are all taken with iPhone 3GS.

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.

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.

Another experiment (Day 19)

I’m writing this post on my iPhone. The internet connection is somehow not working for my laptop. I thought I wouldn’t be able to update this blog today for that reason, but it seems I can, using my iPhone. Great.

It will be a year soon since I came back from Australia. Two more months. I think I’m still in the process of letting go of my feeling that I’m an outsider from the inside, but things have become softer, I suppose. I don’t care too much that I don’t belong–well, I do belong to the Japanese society, but what I really feel is perhaps that I don’t really want to belong to anywhere. I’ve always felt like this. The sense of belonging to nowhere, and I want it. I’m not sure if I’m a committment phobia or a lover of freedom.

But then, I can sense that things have changed within me as well. It’s something about laughing at myself. It’s about being light and delighted. Ease and delight help me have abundance and give me the sense of possibility.

If it’s fun to think about something in a certain way, why don’t we think that way?

Perhaps the internet connection not working is a conspiracy to block my challenge of blogging for 30 days. A conspiracy planned by… I don’t know. People from the future. Ha.

When was the last time you laughed at yourself with ease and delight? (i.e. In a positive manner rather than a negative, self-depriciating way) Can you laugh at yourself?

SMENA 8M + iPhone experiment (Day 18)

I have a SMENA 8M, a toy camera. This photo was taken with it – and I “scanned” it with my iPhone.  I’m not sure what you photography enthusiasts think, but I like it a lot. A retro taste of SMENA 8M cheapened further by iPhone. If I’m correct, this photo was taken somewhere near Bateman’s Bay in Australia. One of those deserted beaches… That’s exactly the place I want to be right now!

Slowing down a running frog and how to be absurd (Day 17)

When you slow down and stop for a moment, you might see something interesting. Or you might choose to make something interesting for you to look at.

I’m surprised that this is already the 17th day of the 30 day blogging challenge. 13 more days to go!