Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Climbing the Mountain

This weekend I did what everybody (at least all the foreigners) do when they come to Japan. I climbed Mt. Fuji. Traditionally, you're supposed to watch the sunrise at the top of the mountain. In Japan during the summer, the sun rises around 5am. Here's an overview of my schedule for the climb.

6:00pm - Depart Tokyo (Shinjuku Station)
8:15pm - Arrive Mt. Fuji (Kawaguchiko 5th Station)
8:30pm - Begin ascent
4:30am - Reach summit
5:00am - View sunrise
5:30am - Begin descent
9:30am - Return to 5th Station

In hindsight, replacing 8 hours of sleep with 12 hours of climbing is not a good idea. But it was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience. Emphasis on once. There is a Japanese proverb about climbing Mt. Fuji. "He who climbs Mt. Fuji once is a wise man, he who climbs it twice is a fool." Wise words.

From Japan - Mt. Fuji

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Electrons are the universal language

Occasionally my coworkers ask me if I have any plans to travel outside of Tokyo. My standard reply is "Not on this trip. There's just so much to see and do in Tokyo. And this way I'll have an excuse to come back later." How have I been able to find all these fun and exciting things to see and do in Tokyo?

Lonely Planet Tokyo Encounter
Lonely Planet Tokyo Encounter

This book is absolutely amazing. It's full of useful ideas and information, but it still fits in my pocket. My friend Gabriel says I treat it like a Talisman. This trip has also encouraged me to explore New York City more, so I'm definitely grabbing a copy of the New York version when I get home.

Anyway, this weekend the book led to me to Ueno, a beautiful neighborhood with numerous gardens and museums. My favorite museum was the National Science Museum. I couldn't understand the signs on the exhibits, but I was very impressed nonetheless. (Now I know how little kids view science museums.) My favorite exhibit was The Natural World, an entire floor (the basement) devoted to physics. They had fundamental constants projected on the floor and models of electron orbits. Now that's speaking my langauge.

From Japan - Ueno