Mount Fuji Fools

Mount Fuji Fools
Michael Gollin
October 2014

I climbed Fuji-san by full moon one night in August 1981. I had left Zurich and was on the way to Boston for law school, the wrong way around via the Trans Siberian Express across the Soviet Union, and ferry to Japan.  I  visited a Swiss biology researcher I knew from Zurich, in the vicinity of Mt. Fuji, and he told me how to do it.

I was dropped off in the evening by a bus up to the base. I bought a climbing stick, a collapsible water bottle, and a flashlight.  I climbed through the night.  There are rest stations along the way with small fire places and they sell tea and give your stick a brand. Many people were climbing up the switchbacks.

I reached the top in time for more tea while watching  the sunrise. It was glorious. It seemed like I could see all of Japan.

I was giddy with sleep deprivation. I found some people I met while traveling and we crashed down the rocky trail to the bottom in about an hour.

Japanese say there are two kinds of fools: those who never saw the sun rise from Mt. Fuji and those who saw it more than once. I am happy not to be such a fool.

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