When I went to Japan for the first time in 2001, I had no idea how out of shape I was. I mean, we walked on that trip. Everywhere. I would collapse into bed each night sobbing from the pain of my blistered feet. And sometimes I was simply incapable of moving any further, and I’d have to stay behind while everyone else saw the sights. (I missed seeing Tokugawa Ieyasu’s grave because of that.)
It was humiliating.
Since then I have felt strongly that I need to be in a better physical condition so that I can truly enjoy my travels and experience everything possible. I didn’t really start doing anything about it until after my second trip to Japan in 2003 for our honeymoon; I became incredibly exhausted walking through Akihabara and realized that I hadn’t improved at all. Even now I’m not exercising much, though I know I need to. Old habits die hard. I’ve spent at least ten years training myself to sit in a chair all day.
But I want to climb Mt. Fuji, and there is no way I can pull that off the way I am right now.
My biking endurance is pretty high now (although I haven’t gone biking in awhile), but I haven’t worked on my walking at all. What I need to do is start hiking in earnest, for hours at a time. I need to build up some serious stamina. And hell, there are mountains in northern Georgia, maybe I could practice.
I don’t think I’ll ever be a serious mountaineer, scaling sheer cliffsides in snow and ice, but I would at least like to think I can hoof it up an ash-covered hillside without needing medical attention.
Our instructor on the 2001 trip, Todd Stradford, was an avid hiker who typically spent his weekends in the hills of Wisconsin (in the company of his large dogs, if I’m remembering correctly). I need to take a page from his book and spend more time in the great outdoors.
Here are some people whose testimonials have inspired me to aim for Fuji:
Justin Klein climbed Fuji three weeks ago. (Check out that video! And then please click his Google ads ;> Oh, and speaking of climbing volcanoes, Justin also just went to Mount Aso. I visited the Nakadake caldera in 2001.)
The Cynical Traveller also went this year.
So, obviously, Fuji is the thing to do if you’re a gaijin, and I want to do it too!