Delving into the Intangibles

   Mt. Fuji  

Escaping from the intense summer heat of the lower depths, I am relaxing in a villa at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

At night, I look on a sea of hut lights and the moving lanterns of mountain climbers. Lights carried by many foreign tourists must be among them. I heard that a resident of Fujiyoshida city holds the record: he has climbed Mt. Fuji more than 6000 times. Wow!

Professional alpinists challenge the highest mountain, reaching the top of Mt. Everest with the help of Sherpas. But, in the case of Mt. Fuji, more than 7000 ordinary souls will make the climb in one night. At 3776 meters, Mt. Fuji is a moderate peak and not so hard to attack, even for the elderly.

Viewed from the south, the mountain shows a feminine ridgeline that is like the hem of a kimono. From the north, the grandeur of the violent "Masculine Fuji" can be admired. Spring, summer, fall, and winter––cherry blossoms, clouds, and snow: Mt. Fuji’s overwhelmingly beauty changes with the season. In autumn, we are made happy just by viewing the multicolored trees on the lower slopes.

It is "Red Fuji" when the sun is slanting to the west. Other times, it is shining under the light of the moon or snow-covered to the foothills, pure white and frozen. If we could strike it with a hammer, we might almost hear it give off a stiff, metallic sound. Mt. Fuji is the model of dignity.

It is dormant now, but still an active volcano, with a reservoir of molten magma inside, and we do not know when it will next erupt. This might be one of the reasons why so many people are attracted to the mountain. Such are the tangible aspects of Mt. Fuji.

But Mt. Fuji is not merely a tourist attraction; it is a mountain with tremendous Intangible Power. Since ancient times, the Japanese people have considered it sacred. As a mountain inspiring religious fervor, historically and culturally, she has long been an important mental foothold, a Japanese spiritual talisman. If you are wallowing in a negative frame of mind, just by looking up at Mt. Fuji will change everything for the better. Mt. Fuji’s Intangible “Reiki” (Spiritual Energy) pulls you up––and up.

The pageant of a mystical sunrise viewed from the summit shows us the brilliant and majestic energy of the sun. It is a collaboration of the mountain and the sun. Having experienced it once, they say, you will want to climb every year and become a “repeater.”

At dawn, when the sun begins to appear in the east, pushing between gaping clouds, those gathered on the mountaintop begin to cheer involuntarily, with hands together, as if worshipping a god. This is a pleasure exclusive to those who stand at the summit of Mt. Fuji, so I have heard.

I have not yet realized my dream of climbing Mt. Fuji, but just looking up from the foot of the mountain, I feel very happy and satisfied. The tangible and intangible energy that the mountain gives me has always been GREAT.