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As some of you probably know, July marks the beginning of Mt. Fuji’s climbing season. To be honest, though, I’ve never really understood what that means. What happens when the mountain is “closed”? Do people still climb it? I mean, it’s not as if you can lock the door of a mountain!

Apparently, around 300,000 people climb Mt. Fuji every year, and this year, the predictions are that the numbers will be even higher because of Fuji’s newly acquired UNESCO “cultural heritage” status.

This is also a bit of a mystery to me. Why would you want to climb a mountain just because an organisation in another country has decided to give it a special name?

As you know, I love mountains, but I have never been up Mt. Fuji, and I never plan to go. To be honest, I have never even considered it. I think I would hate the crowds and the fact that everything is so “organized” I would love to climb the mountain by myself or with a few friends, but not with 5,000 other people!

Anyway, I was wondering how many of you have climbed Mt. Fuji. If you have, did you think it was worth the effort? How crowded was it? How was the view?

If, like me, you have never climbed it, do you have any plans to do so? Has its new UNESCO status made you more interested in walking up?

Look forward to hearing your stories and opinions.

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21 Comments

  1. Biwa on Monday July 1st, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for answering my question. I always get confused with these words.

    Hi everyone,

    Mt. Fuji! I thought so!
    However, I have never climbed Mt. Fuji. Actually, Akadake (about 2800m high, the highest mountain in Yatsugatake) is the only mountain I have ever climbed in my life! I was in the hiking club for a year when I was in highschool, so I went up there one summer with my clubmates and teachers. It was really nice to see the sun rising from the top, where all the pink clouds are below yourself, and I can still recall the view and cold air (it was really cold at the top, even though it was summer!).

    Although I was completely amazed at the beautiful scenery, I was also wishing to take a hot shower as soon as possible. Since there aren’t any in mountain huts- water is precious in a mountain- everyone sleeps overnight with sweaty body and hair. I can’t tell how pleased I was to dive into a hot onsen after going down to Kiyosato. My mountain climbing memory comes in a set with the nice onsen memory.

    As Mt. Fuji is almost 1000 meters higher than Akadake, it must feel really satisfying to reach the top. However, I don’t think I would like to climb such a crowded mountain just because of the new UNESCO status. I might think of climbing after the boom goes away, though. Of course, I’m going to look for a nice onsen first!



  2. Fumie on Monday July 1st, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for the message.

    Mt. Fuji is only allowed to climb during July and August because it’s dangerous to climb in another months.
    Here is the site which explaining about that.
    http://wakouji.sakura.ne.jp/fujisan/tozan2/tozan3.htm
    I have never climbed it and I wanted /still want to climb Mt.Fuji. Last year I gave a serious thought to climb it and asked some people who had experienced that. They said that it’s hard and there are possibilities of altitude sickness, sunburn, etc. Maybe I can handle those problems but my children might not. People admire Mt.Fuji as a special and sacred mountain from long time ago so lots of people climb it to see the sun rise. I’m not giving up climbing up it yet. I want to climb it while I’m still young and having energy to do that.

    >To be honest, I have never even considered it. I think I would hate the crowds and the fact that everything is so “organized” I would love to climb the mountain by myself or with a few friends, but not with 5,000 other people!
    -I understand your feeling. If I was an experienced mountain climber like you, I would feel the same way. But I don’t have much experiences to climb other mountains so I feel safer when everything is organized.



  3. YU on Tuesday July 2nd, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Hi Fumie,

    > I understand your feeling. If I was an experienced mountain climber like you, I would feel the same way. But I don’t have much experiences to climb other mountains so I feel safer when everything is organized.

    I couldn’t agree with you more!

    Hi David and everyone,

    > I was wondering how many of you have climbed Mt. Fuji.

    I’ve never climbed Mt.Fuji, and I don’t think I will plan to do in the rest of my life, but I might go to the fifth station by car or by ropeway if I have chance someday in the future.

    > Why would you want to climb a mountain just because an organisation in another country has decided to give it a special name?

    I don’t think it’s the case that only Mt.Fuji is special, not a few people suddenly start to feel like going to see a world cultural heritage as soon as it has been decided to given a special name.

    I don’t think people “want to climb” Mt.Fuji just because it will be a cultural heritage, but for most people Mt.Fuji is only one of the many other sightseeing spots in the world, but by chance it will soon become a world cultual heritage and by chance it is a very high mountain, not a castle or a river, so they have to “climb”.

    The evidence is that a numerous number of people in the world, even non-mountain lovers like David have climed Mt.Fuji up to this day, already before it has been decided to be given a special name. I mean, Mt.Fuji is as popular and crowded as always, in the past and present. Just it may get more popularity and attract more tourists through the status of a cultural heritage.
    I hope you all understand what I mean here!

    However, as Fumie mentioned, I have to admit that almost all Japanese people have special feelings for Mt.Fuji since their childhood, so do I. So, when our house maker told us that we could see Mt.Fuji from the balcony in our new house, I was so happy.
    Some older people say that they want to climb Mt.Fuji before they die. Mt.Fuji is drawn in a number of pictures painted by famous painters in the past, it appears in many Japanese old stories, too, so it is no wonder Mt.Fuji becomes an awe-inspiring thing in Japanese people’s mind.



  4. Biwa on Tuesday July 2nd, 2013 at 01:05 PM

    Hi Fumie and everyone,

    Thank you for the link.
    I didn’t know that 内村光良 or 片山右京 have tried climbing Mt. Fuji during the winter. It says that 片山’s co-climbers were both dead because of an accident. It’s really scary that winter mounatins are dangerous even for well-experienced climbers.

    By the way, I find it quite interesting that 山開き and 開山 have completely different meanings. As you know, the first one means “the beginning of the climbing season”, but the latter one means “to found a temple, or the founder himself”. This is because temples are often built on hilltops or mountaintops, and called by the name of the mounatin.

    Hi YU and David,

    I received an email from INTESOL saying that I am eligible to take the TESOL course. (I’m relieved to know that!) However, I’m still wondering if I should take the course or not. If I’m going to learn how to teach, would it be really meaningful or worthwhile to take a correspondence course? I mean, can I learn the methods without listening to the lectures face to face? I still can’t decide because the fee is quite expensive(58000yen)! If you or any of your friends have any advice, that would be very helpful. Thank you in advance.



  5. Biwa on Wednesday July 3rd, 2013 at 01:02 PM

    Hi everyone,

    I think I made a mistake with “ing” and “ed” words again. 🙁

    >it must feel really satisfying to reach the top.

    I guess my sentence should be “it must make you feel really satisfied to reach the top”. Is it still weird?

    Another question: Would “feel fulfilled” or “be fulfilled” be more appropriate here?



  6. amo on Thursday July 4th, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    Hi David and everyone

    I don’t know much about “山開き” so I googled and I found the original meaning of 山開き.

    “In ancient times, mountains were considered to be a holy place, and climbing mountains were a spiritual and religious event. People were restricted from climbing mountains during a certain period of time. The restriction would be lifted on the day of “mountain opening(山開き.)” Today, the spiritual and religious aspects are being lost, but the tradition of praying for the safety of sports climbers is still observed.”

    Around 300,000 people?? I didn’t know that that many people climb Mt. Fuji every year. Frankly speaking, I don’t have any feelings for Mt. Fuji. Maybe because I am Okinawan?! I don’t know…

    >I was wondering how many of you have climbed Mt. Fuji.

    No, I have never climbed Mt.Fuji.

    >do you have any plans to do so?

    No, I don’t think so.

    >Has its new UNESCO status made you more interested in walking up?

    No, it hasn’t. I just joked about it to my co-workers the other day. I said “I have to leave a plan for climbing Mt. Fuji. up in the air, because of It(UNESCO status.) Of course, they knew that I wasn’t interested in Mt. Fuji. at all.

    Hi Fumie,

    >Mt. Fuji is only allowed to climb during July and August because it’s dangerous to climb in another months.

    I didn’t know that. I just thought that climbing a mountain in winter was dangerous so that people didn’t want to do that. I remember that 内村光良 and 片山右京 have tried climbing, so I was wondering how they were able to climb it?

    Good night and sleep tight,
    amo



  7. Fumie on Thursday July 4th, 2013 at 06:40 AM

    Hi amo,

    >I didn’t know that. I just thought that climbing a mountain in winter was dangerous so that people didn’t want to do that.

    I’m sorry that I shouldn’t use the word “allowed”. According to the article that I introduced, they recommend not to climb the mountain except open season.(they said お勧めできません)

    I found an another interesting article.
    Mt. Fuji might errup again! Triggered by Tohoku Earthquake, volcanic mountains are becoming active. People don’t know about the possibility of eruption of Mt.Fuji or are they still want to climb it even if it might erupt?
    I don’t want to climb it because now I know it might erupt!



  8. Biwa on Thursday July 4th, 2013 at 08:11 AM

    Hi amo,

    >Frankly speaking, I don’t have any feelings for Mt. Fuji. Maybe because I am Okinawan?! I don’t know…

    I’m a Kanagawan, but I don’t, either.
    Lots of my friends say that they try to see Mt. Fuji whenever they can. From hilltops, schools, and other high places. But I don’t really do it. To me, every mountain is beautiful.

    Also, thanks for googling 山開き. That’s very interesting.

    Hi Fumie,

    Thanks for the link. As one of the commenters said, I think that every dormant volcano is a time-ticking bomb, too. I try not to worry about it too much because if you do, it’s almost impossible to live in a volcanic country like Japan!

    Hi YU,

    By the way, I heard that there was an earthquake in northern Sumatra. I hope it’s not near where your husband’s family lives.



  9. YU on Thursday July 4th, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    Thank you for your concern, but my husband is from Java, so I don’t think his family was damaged by the earthquake.

    As for TESOL, I can’t say if you should take the course, that’s what you should decide yourself concerning the cost, time, neccesity, etc…

    冷たく聞こえたらごめんなさい。でもコースを受けるか否かは最終的にBiwaが判断するべきことなので何とも言えないです。強力に勧めてがっかりされても責任が取れないですし。。。資料をよく読んで費用、内容、必要性、時間など色々考えて判断するしかないですよね。確かに高額ですし、わからないことがあったらとことん直接INTESOLに問合せをしてみては?
    私の友達からはこの前書いた以上のことはあまり詳しく聞いていないのでよくわかりません。ただ、彼女は3才、6才の子持ちの上、英語を近所の子に教えてても時間の方はなんとかやりくりできているようです。彼女に見せてもらった課題と彼女の論文はなかなか面白いものであり、また大変そうでもありました。論文に使った文献など記さなければならないので彼女は「結構本格的だからイギリスの大学時代に論文を書いてたころを思い出したよ」と言ってました(因みに彼女はアメリカ、イギリスに留学経験アリ。英検1級、TOEICも満点近く、英検2次試験(インタビュー)の試験かん、翻訳、大人向け英語塾の講師経験などもある、結構スゴイ人です。身近にそんな友達がいて私はいつもラッキー、と思っています)
    費用に関しては彼女は「高い」とは一言もっていないですね。内容に満足している、ということかな?私は彼女に「そのコースを修了できたらどんなことが出来るの?」なんて聞いてしまいましたが彼女は「いや、特に。でもすごく勉強になるから。」という答えでした。どんな資格でどんな職に就けるか、という下世話な動機ではなく、自分の身になる、と思って受講を決意したみたいですよ。だからBiwaのように資格云々よりも向上心がある人に向いているのでは?、と思って紹介した次第です。答えになってなくてすみません。m(__)m

    > Frankly speaking, I don’t have any feelings for Mt. Fuji. Maybe because I am Okinawan?! I don’t know…

    You mean, you still don’t feel you’re very Japanese because you’re from Okinawa? I’m not really sure how Okinawan today feel for Mt.Fuji or for Japan itself, so I found your sentences very interesting(興味深くておもしろい).



  10. YU on Thursday July 4th, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    ごめんなさい、最後の文はamoに向けたものでした。

    Hi amo,

    > Frankly speaking, I don’t have any feelings for Mt. Fuji. Maybe because I am Okinawan?! I don’t know…

    You mean, you still don’t feel you’re very Japanese because you’re from Okinawa? I’m not really sure how Okinawan today feel for Mt.Fuji or for Japan itself, so I found your sentences very interesting(興味深くておもしろい).



  11. Biwa on Thursday July 4th, 2013 at 03:50 PM

    Hi YU,

    >Thank you for your concern, but my husband is from Java, so I don’t think his family was damaged by the earthquake.

    I’m glad to hear that!
    And thank you so much for taking the time to write me back. I don’t have any friends who has taken the course, so your friend’s story is very helpful to me.

    冷たく聞こえるどころか、とても役立つ情報をありがとうございます。もちろん、最終的に決めるのは私なのですが、INTESOLからのテキストサンプルを見たり、資料を読んだりするだけでは果たして私の英語力でやり遂げることが出来るレベルなのか、ということが分からずなかなか決断出来ずにいました。私は留学経験もないし、正式な英語のレポートの書き方も知りません。自己流で試行錯誤しつつ子供たちに教えているだけですので(10年ほど前に、アルクの小学校英語指導者資格は通信教育で取りましたが、まったく比較にならないレベルです。)、そんなすごいお友達が苦労しながら受講されているコースなら、私には無理かも、という気がしています。でも、私も、YUのお友達同様、資格云々よりも自分の仕事に非常に役立つ内容だろうということ、また自分の英語力向上のためになるだろうということから、とても興味は持っています。色々と調べてみると、ナマの講義を受けつつこのコースを取るには、仕事を長期で休まなければならないので、ほとんど不可能だと分かりました。おっしゃる通り、あとは私がどれだけ時間とパワーを注ぎ込めるのか、注ぎ込むつもりなのか、を考え決断するだけですね(笑)ありがとうございます。



  12. David on Thursday July 4th, 2013 at 04:15 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    I’m afraid I don’t know anything about the INTESOL course, so I can’t really comment. I would be slightly wary of a teaching course that does not have a practical component, though.

    >it must feel really satisfying to reach the top.

    I guess my sentence should be “it must make you feel really satisfied to reach the top”. Is it still weird?

    Both of these sentences are okay.

    Another question: Would “feel fulfilled” or “be fulfilled” be more appropriate here?

    “Fulfilled” would not really be appropriate here. It’s used for things that happen over a longer term, like a job or a marriage.



  13. YU on Thursday July 4th, 2013 at 08:13 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    > 色々と調べてみると、ナマの講義を受けつつこのコースを取るには、仕事を長期で休まなければならないので、ほとんど不可能だと分かりました。

    ???INTESOLは通信教育(在宅)でTESOLの資格が取れる唯一の機関みたいなので講義をどこかに受けに行く必要はないと思いますよ。もし通学が必要なら毎日幼稚園の送り迎えをしていて時間に縛られている私の友達はまず受講を考えないと思います。

    コースを取らない方向に決めかけているのに今更ですが、もし興味があったらコースを無事修了できた生徒さんたちの感想を見つけたので読んでみてください。

    http://www.intesoljapan.com/ja/trainee/index.html

    無理にすすめているわけではありませんのでどうぞ自由に決めてください。私はINTESOLから何ももらってないし!(笑)



  14. Biwa on Thursday July 4th, 2013 at 09:47 PM

    Hi YU,

    Sorry, I have to learn Japanese, too!
    I was talking about other institutions that offer this course with live lectures and practical teaching training.
    前にも書いた通り、「教え方」を学ぶのであれば、実際に自分が模擬授業をしてフィードバックをもらうような形式でないとあまり意味がないように思っていたので、そういう通学形式の学校も検索してみたのですが、首都圏だとテンプル大の夜間コースか上智大の大学院くらいで、あとは「5日間で資格が取れます!」みたいな怪しい語学学校しか出て来ませんでした。YUのお友達同様、今の私の状況でこのコースを学ぶには実際このINTESOLくらいしか選択肢がないことが分かりました。
    「生徒さんたちの感想」、私も読みました。(Thank you!)何だか恐ろしく大変そうなコースですよね。(笑)でも、どんなすごい教授法や理論なのか、興味をそそられるのも確かです。だって、そんなにすごい方法なら自分の生徒たちに試してみたいですし。でも一方で、そんな魔法は存在しないだろうな・・・と思う自分もいます。もしそんな魔法が存在するなら、TESOLの資格を持った先生が教えた生徒たちはみんな素晴らしい英語力を身に付けているはずですものね。どんなものか、ちょっと試してみようか・・・という内容と価格でないところがまた悩みます。すみません、お騒がせして。

    Hi David,

    >I would be slightly wary of a teaching course that does not have a practical component, though.

    Thank you for your advice, that’s what I’m worrying about, too. However, as I wrote to YU, there seems to be no other choice at the moment. I wonder if none of your students ever think about taking this course. You’re teaching future English teachers, right? Perhaps the best choice is to fly to Gifu and take your lectures! I wish I had どこでもドア!!

    And thank you for the answers for “satisfying” and “satisfied”.
    Now I’m getting even more confused. But I’m too tired to open my dictionary and think tonight. My brain is asking for sleep! so I’m going to do it tomorrow. Zzzzzzz…



  15. amo on Friday July 5th, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    Hi Fumie,

    Am glad to know that my understanding was not wrong 🙂

    Hi Biwa,

    >I’m a Kanagawan, but I don’t, either.

    So I am not alone 🙂

    Hi YU,

    >You mean, you still don’t feel you’re very Japanese because you’re from Okinawa?

    Mmm, it seemed that my sentence gave you a wrong idea 🙁 Should I have written that “I am from Okinawa” instead of “I am Okinawan?” If so, you shouldn’t have got me wrong? or you still think so?
    Your comment( I have to admit that almost all Japanese people have special feelings for Mt.Fuji since their childhood, so do I.)made me feel as if I were not Japanese, but of course I am Japanese. I was just trying to say that there are some Japanese who don’t have special feelings for Mt. Fuji. I couldn’t find any reasons for me to have special feelings for it. Mt. Fuji is far away from Okinawa, so I don’t have any memories with Mt. Fuji in my childhood. It is a bit of hard for me to have some feelings for something that I don’t have any connection or memories. Hope you understand what I mean this time.

    Good night and sweet dreams 😉
    amo



  16. YU on Friday July 5th, 2013 at 07:03 AM

    Hi amo,

    Thank you for your clarification, but to be honest, I don’t really understand the differences between “I’m Okinawan” and “I’m from Okinawa”! 🙂

    > I was just trying to say that there are some Japanese who don’t have special feelings for Mt. Fuji.

    Oh really? If so, actually you didn’t need to say so, because “almost all Japanese” and “all Japanese” are different. Of course, I did’t mean “全ての日本人が”, but I meant “ほとんどの日本人が”, and the hidden meaning is that “there are some who don’t have special feelings for Mt.Fuji.”

    > Mt. Fuji is far away from Okinawa, so I don’t have any memories with Mt. Fuji in my childhood. It is a bit of hard for me to have some feelings for something that I don’t have any connection or memories. Hope you understand what I mean this time.

    I know what you mean, but as I think I have mentioned here before, I’m from Shikoku and spent my whole childhood there until 18. Shikoku is very far from Mt.Fuji, too, but I don’t think it explains that you can’t have any connection or memories of Mt.Fuji because as I explained, if you are born in Japan, naturally you should have a lot of chance to feel close to Mt.Fuji, through pictures like ”浮世絵”, old stories, or even through a picture of Mt.Fuji in the public bath!

    amoの言いたいことは分かります。でも出身地から富士山までの距離と富士山に対する思いは比例しないしあまり関係ないと思います。もちろん山梨や静岡など地元の人は特別な思い入れがあるとおもうけど。と言っても私もスゴイ富士山好きなわけではないですよ。ただ、外国から日本へ帰る飛行機の中で富士山が見えると「お~、無事日本に帰ったぞ~!待っててくれてありがとう!」とか思っちゃいますね。ホッとする、というか、何とも言えない安堵感を得ます、ドッシリとした富士山を見ると。

    沖縄は悲しい歴史もあるし、未だに沖縄県人以外の日本人や日本政府を快く思わない人もいると聞いたことがありました。amoが何歳くらいの女性でどういう教育や環境の中で育ったのかはわからないけれど、そういうことで日本の象徴、誇り、と言われる富士山に興味を持てない、と言いたいのかと勘ぐってしまいましたが、ただの勘違いだったみたいですね。ゴメンなさい。



  17. YU on Friday July 5th, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    TESOLの資格もレベルがあってINTESOLのコースを修了してもらえるレベル4はかなり高いものみたいですね。私も5日間で取れる、みたいなコースは怪しいし、提供する側は金儲け、受講する側は資格が欲しいだけの人も多いのかな、という気がします。
    いずれにせよ何か一つでも引っかかるものがあるのなら迷わずやめた方がいいと思いますよ。
    因みに私は受講料を聞いた時点で「はいパス!」って感じでしたもん。内容はとても興味深いと思いましたが。

    Hi amo,

    Maybe I should have written “most Japanese” instead of “almost all Japanese” because “almost all Japanese” sounds almost 100% of Japanese and that was not what I tried to say.



  18. Biwa on Friday July 5th, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Hi YU,

    As for your sentence to amo, how about “many Japanese” or “a lot of Japanese”?
    And for the TESOL course, I’m going to consider a little more. I don’t want to decide these things too hastily, and the course is always there, it won’t go away.(コースが逃げて行くわけではないので、ゆっくり検討します。):)

    Hi David,

    I guess the reason why both sentences were okay was because “feel” is a link verb. I hope I’m right.



  19. Biwa on Friday July 5th, 2013 at 01:54 PM

    Hi David,

    I have a question for your latest tweet “I went and told you the answer!”. What does “went” mean? Is it like “I did my turn (自分の番は済んだ)”?



  20. YU on Friday July 5th, 2013 at 03:08 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    As for INTESOL, it seems to be a very new course and it says they have only about 100 finished trainees.
    自由に検討してくださいね。元々紹介したかっただけで「どうするの?受けるの?」としつこく聞くつもりもなかったのですがBiwaからどう思うかという質問が来たので自分の考えを述べただけですから。時間的に余裕がないときに無理にやる必要もないし、今後もっといいものが見つかるかもしれませんしね。

    > As for your sentence to amo, how about “many Japanese” or “a lot of Japanese”?

    Maybe, but they mean “たくさんの” or “多くの”, don’t they(?), and actually that is a bit different from what I meant to say(=ほとんどの), either, but of course, I’m not saying those who don’t have special feelings for Mt.Fuji are’t Japanese or strange.

    Hi everyone,

    By the way, by chance I had chance to talk about Mt.Fuji with our American teacher this morning. One of the sudents started talking about her trip to Mt.Fuji she took with her husband last Autumn.
    Actually, our teacher seemed to have some special feelings for Mt.Fuji,too. He said, “Mt.Fuji is very beautiful and it can’t be compared with any other mountains in Japan, so it’s a pity that a very high building was built in front of my apartment several years ago and it has become not able to see Mt.Fuji from my balcony any more.” He also told us that he leaned that you could see a picture of Mt.Fuji only in the public baths in east Japan, but not in ones in west Japan watching ミヤネ屋 the other day. Is it really true, Fumie??