Mount Fuji

Me: Can we do a quiz about Mount Fuji?

Japan: Sure.

Me: OK. How high is Mount Fuji?

Japan: 3776 metres.

Me: Correct. When did it become a World Heritage Site?

Japan: 2013.

Me: Correct. How many people climb Mount Fuji every year?

Japan: About 250,000.

Me: Correct. When?

Japan: In July and August.

Me: Correct. Why?

Japan: Because it’s summer. It’s the only time of year when it’s open and not shut off because of the weather and temperatures.

Me: No, sorry, I mean, why do people climb Mount Fuji?

Japan: Ah, well, because it’s Mount Fuji, isn’t it? It’s the tallest, most famous mountain I’ve got. It’s beautiful. Why wouldn’t you want to hike up it?

Me: Correct. Why wouldn’t you want to hike up Mount Fuji?

Japan: You might get ill and suffer from altitude sickness.

Me: Correct. And –

Japan: Also, most people climb it at night time so they can watch the sunrise from the top. It must be quite difficult doing all that in the dark.

Me: Correct. Next –

Japan: And it’s 3776 metres high. I mean, that’s tall. It’s not easy is it?

Me: Also correct. Now let’s move on –

Japan: And it’s busy. It’s a popular place. You’ll probably find yourself in queue of people in the cold and wind at 3AM on a path that wasn’t designed for thousands of people 3000m above sea level on a Saturday night in July.

Me: Whilst potentially suffering from altitude sickness.

Japan: Exactly.

Me: This doesn’t sound like fun does it?

Japan: No, but it can’t be helped.

Me: Why not?

Japan: Because it’s Mount Fuji. It’s everywhere. There’s no stopping it. I’m consumed by it. And it consumes us. There’s a whole business and culture tied up in it. It’s a never ending river of Fujiness.

Me: Well –

Japan: From Katsushika Hokusai’s 36 Views of Mountain Fuji onwards.

Me: But –

Japan: To umbrellas

Me: What?

Japan: And t-shirts and key rings and hand fans. Who needs those?

Me: Hold on a sec –

Japan: And tissues holders and cups and 3D postcards. Who buys this shit?

Me: Just a –

Japan: And snow globes and tea towels and fridge magnets. Why?

Me: But –

Japan: It’s painted on the walls of onsens and hotels and cafes and restaurants. It’s plastered over posters and billboards and advertisements, in books, movies, TV shows and dramas. Did you know you can buy blueberry cheesecake flavoured kit-kats in a Mount Fuji shaped box? That actually exists. I mean, what the fuck? Blueberry? Cheesecake? Box? What the hell is wrong with us all?

Me: …?

Japan: …

Me: Have you spoken to your doctor about this?

Japan: What’s the point? It’s Fuji. It’s not going anywhere is it? It’s the giant beautiful shining light bulb and we’re the moths forever heading back unquestioningly to the timeless, classical, one true mountain like faithful disciples blind to reason.

Me: …

Japan: …?

Me: Right. So, erm, I guess that’s the end of the quiz then.

Japan: Yeah, er, sorry about that. That kind of got away from me there. Have you ever climbed Fuji anyway?

Me: I have actually.

Japan: How was it?

Me: Well, there was a bit of a mix up so we had to climb it at night even though we didn’t want to and it rained and it was windy and cold and cloudy so there was no sunrise to see and also we got split up on the way back down and we had to launch a search and rescue mission for one person but he was actually further down the mountain and fine and it was all a total mess really.

Japan: That doesn’t sound nice.

Me: Nah, it was fine. I bought a t-shirt.

Japan: I see.


April 18, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized.

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