No doubt the initial image of Japan for most people is the glowing lights of Tokyo, the busy crosswalk in Shibuya, or even the otaku paradise of Akihabara, but for me, there's something bigger and yet quieter than those things. When I imagine Japan I see mighty Mount Fuji before me. It's my favorite image of Japan, and my favorite place in the world to dream of.
Photo by swamysk
At 3776 meters, Fuji-san is the highest point in Japan, a glorious symbol of nearly symmetrical perfection that was revered as holy in Japan's past. It's a gorgeous, majestic volcano that hasn't erupted in over a century, but still holds an intimidating presence standing high on the landscape.
Photo by palindrome6996
I've seen many images and interpretations of Fuji-san over the years, usually in the opening credits of Japanese films, on packs of green tea, and in those lovely woodblock prints, but most recently the amazing photos gathered on Flickr have become burned in my thoughts. I could almost say that I feel like the mountain is talking to me sometimes.
Every year thousands of people from all over the world climb Mount Fuji and stand on the peak as the sun rises in the sky. Climbing Fuji-san doesn't need to be a fantasy or a pipe-dream, it's a feasible goal that a determined person can achieve, and lately I'm feeling pretty determined.
Photo by frcsyk
With this in mind a personal epiphany recently came to me. I've decided I'm going there, and I'm going to march up that mountain like a man on pilgrimage, and instead of thinking about doing it later, I'm going to do it very soon.
This post is my statement of intent, and writing this in my blog is the first step that confirms that now I can' t turn back. I will stand on top of Mount Fuji, like millions of other people who set that very personal goal, and watch that sun come up, and know how alive I really am.
I've got a lot of work to do, physically, mentally, and a bit financially. But the most important realization is that I can do this if I want it bad enough, and right now I really want it. I have a serious feeling Fuji-san will be teaching me humble lessons and demanding my respect, (probably before I even set foot in Japan) but I'm going to do my absolute damndest to face it.
Photo by emrank
See you soon, Fuji-san.
A note about this post: The images linked are shared via Flickr through the Creative Commons license. These images were available for use thanks to the generosity of the photographers, and all credit for these brilliant pictures goes to them. Thanks!
This post is also my entry in the May 2009 Japan Blog Matsuri....