A Fond Farewell – and an Unexpected Promise

When I left Japan in December, I bid Tokyo a bittersweet farewell – bitter, because I hate to leave, but sweet because I knew I’ll be returning soon.

As always, I snapped a couple of photos out the airplane window. This was the best one:


In between managing focus and trying to capture the beautiful sunset, I almost missed the most important detail of all. Can you see it?

Look in the upper left corner of the frame.

The cone-shaped mountain rising above the clouds is Fuji-san – Japan’s tallest and most iconic mountain. It seems to be poking above the clouds to bid me farewell – and the sight of it lifted my heart for many reasons.

You see, Fuji and I have a history. On several of my trips to Japan, I’ve tried to photograph this sacred mountain. With one exception — a ten-second video snatched from a moving train — Fuji-san has had other ideas. Each time I approach, the peak has been shrouded in clouds, impossible to see or photograph.

Until today.

The sight of Fuji, clear and lovely, rising above the clouds and the evening lights of Tokyo, resonated in my heart like a promise: the mountain, and adventure, and the beauty of Japan will all be waiting when I return to climb the 100 summits.

A photograph may hold a thousand words, but this one needed only five: Farewell, and See You Soon.

3 thoughts on “A Fond Farewell – and an Unexpected Promise

  • January 5, 2018 at 12:34 am

    How lucky! You certainly deserve it. I tried last time I was there but the cloud cover prevented our seeing it. Maybe next time, I hope.

  • January 5, 2018 at 5:30 pm


    • January 10, 2018 at 1:28 am

      Thank you!

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