Summer 2014: DAY 4 – Good morning, Mr. Tyler

Down, down, down

Don’t mess around

– Arcade Fire, Reflektor

DAY 4 – Lake Yamanaka to Yokohama (August 8th, 2014)

6am Fuji

Mount Fuji & Lake Yamanaka from Panorama-Dai.

Get up early, break camp in a jiffy (because my tent is BADASS) and off we go – up again. My leg doesn’t like the uphill. It asks if we can take a break, and so we stop at the Lake Yamanaka panoramadai – one of apparently eight such places located all around the Big Lass (Fuji) that give the public breathtaking views of her in all her majesty. There’s quite a few people up here, even though it’s six in the morning. Some of them are having breakfast. I already ate.

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Summer 2014: DAY 3 – Slow and low

Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream

– The Beatles, Tomorrow Never Knows

DAY 3 – Around Lake Yamanaka (August 7th, 2014)

Fuji from Yamanaka Campsite

View of Fuji from Misaki Campsite

Wake up feeling rested. At last.

I’d arrived too late the night previous but a phone call to the campsite owner got me permission to pay the morning after. He seemed a bit rude when we met, but I figured it was just the rural Japan meets gaijin phenomenon – a peculiar thing that happens mostly in the countryside: you walk into a shop/restaurant/whatever, smile & speak perfectly acceptable Japanese; there’s a moment of wide-eyed confusion before the person you’re talking to realizes the words are Japanese, despite what the visual may be advertising. It almost never gets old.

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Summer 2014: DAY 2 – Up

The only way is up, baby

– Yazz and The Plastic Population, The Only Way Is Up

DAY 2 – Lake Sagami to Lake Yamanaka (August 6th, 2014)

There’s always a plan. Even if that plan is just to get up early and see where the road takes you. Unfortunately, there’s always something to act as the wrench in that particular wheel. For me it was the group of drunken university students who were still setting fireworks off at 2:30am.

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Summer 2014: DAY 1 – What Was I Thinking?

All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways.

Yann Martel, Life of Pi

The last time I went camping was probably about 10 years ago. Something inside just made me buy a train pass, make my way up north with no plan and next to no Japanese, all with a bunch of equipment I picked up at the local DIY store, for the most part. It was fantastic.

Older me is certainly wiser about gear. I don’t know about choices. I decided I was going to cycle up to the Fuji 5 lakes. Of course, I was in no shape to do this. It was definitely too hot. I misjudged those hills by a factor of at least 80. And yet, hindsight assures me it was amazing fun.

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