With apologies for the tardy post (this week got away from me), the hyakumeizan total now stands at two! Only 98 more to go . . . Last Sunday I took a two and a half hour train ride from Tokyo to Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, in Yamanashi Prefecture, to attempt an ascent of 2,057-meter Daibosatsu. Although Kyūya Fukada’s One Hundred Mountains of Japan describes the shorter, 40-minute ascent from a nearby pass (the location of the highest bus stop where hikers can depart), I started from the mouth of the trail, more than a thousand meters lower on the mountain.Read more
Month: May 2018
Akagi Jinja – Lake Onuma’s Guardian Shrine
Akagi Jinja (shrine) sits on the shore of Lake Onuma, not far from the trailhead that leads to the peaks of nearby Mt. Akagi. (The mountain, a stratovolcano, has numerous summits – three of which I summited last weekend as part of my hyakumeizan climb.) The shrine dates to at least the 14th century, and has subsidiary shrines across Japan.Read more
…And Back Again – The Descent From Mount Akagi
On Monday, I shared some photos and highlights from my 100 Summits climb of Mount Akagi (Akagi-yama) in Gunma Prefecture. Today, I’m sharing the trip back down. Smart mountaineers all know that “the summit is only halfway there” – to climb a mountain successfully, you also need to descend from the summit safely. Since I left the summit at 12:50pm, and wanted to catch the 16:00 (4pm) bus to Maebashi, I decided to hike Akagi as a loop and descend via the shorter trail that leads directly down from the summit to the shore of Lake Ono.Read more
To the Summit of Mt. Akagi!
Yesterday (May 20, 2018) I climbed my first hyakumeizan peak – Mt. Akagi, in Gunma Prefecture. While many of the details will have to wait for the book (100 SUMMITS is under contract with Prometheus Books, for release in 2020) I’ll be sharing photo essays about my climbs, and some fun details about the mountains, here on the blog in the months to come.Read more
Let The Quest For 100 Summits Begin!
My husband, our cat, and I arrived in Japan on Wednesday afternoon so I could begin the 100 Summits project. As always, Japan was beautiful from the air: The patchwork quilt of green fields interspersed with towns and villages, looks similar to other agricultural areas from thousands of feet in the air. But the plane descended, the curved tile roofs, bamboo groves, and sparkling, water-filled rice paddies of Saitama revealed their distinctive details. We passed through customs and animal import inspection quickly, and hopped on the N’EX (Narita Express) for the 90-minute ride to central Tokyo. (Haneda airport is closer to the cityRead more
Countdown to Japan and the Hundred Summits!
Today my husband and I moved out of our temporary apartment and into the hotel that will serve as the final “staging point” for our departure to Japan. We’ve (mostly) packed our suitcases… and the international delivery service will show up Monday morning to take them away.Read more
Chemo, Hair Loss, And Waiting To Grow Again
Chemotherapy is a liar and a thief. It lies, because it makes us feel impossibly sick–so sick we cannot possibly recover. It steals, because it causes most of us to lose the physical characteristics we associate with personal identity: our hair, eyelashes, nose hairs (trust me, you’ll miss them more than you might think), facial shape, and sometimes fingernails and skin. (You don’t lose *all* your skin, of course, but it becomes a crackly, dried-out thing you might not recognize.) This was me at the start of my cancer journey: This is me today:Read more
The Sutra Repository of Koyasan
The hexagonal sutra repository at Danjo Garan, on Koyasan, was constructed during the 12th century to hold a complete set of the Chinese Tripitaka (the entire set of sacred Buddhist texts). Although the current building only dates to the twentieth century (a fire destroyed the original) it remains a lovely example of Shingon Buddhist architecture.Read more