Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F: Mt. Fuji

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2015.html


Today's post on the letter F (does this make you feel like you're on Sesame Street? Because I think about that every time I start one of these posts!) is a little different. I'm featuring a mountain I've never seen, and may never see. Inspired by Jemima Pett's forthcoming publication of her father's memoirs, I am looking at what my Dad wrote up about his climb of Mt. Fuji while he was in Japan with the US Army in 1946-7 (I think the climb was in summer 1947).


Here is Dad's account of his climb, as he wrote it many many years later. Dad was a pastor and a historian but not necessarily a writer, but I have chosen to use his words, though I've created paragraphs where he ran it all together. Prior to this description, he was summarizing what he did in Japan (mostly pick up trash and mount guard, as far as I can tell).

The next event in the big adventure was a bivouac at the foot of Mt. Fuji, where there was a large area set aside for training. We slept first in squad tents, then in puptents, to give us the experiences that might be needed for combat. It was here that we learned to fire the mortar and did some other training exercises. But that was not all. We did have some spare time, and there was a nice swimming hold in the river nearby. 

We also had a couple of days to climb Fuji, but I am not sure if it was voluntary. It was a nice experience. There is a trail that would probably take a Jeep all the way, but that was not allowed. We began hiking at about the 4000-foot level, still in the trees. As we reached the tree line, we could see the trail on up the mountain, crowded with tourists: Japanese and G.I.s. 

Periodically there was a stone hut, where one could get a snack or get his "fujistick" stamped. There were ten of these stations. All ten stamps (they were actually burned into the wood) indicated a successful climb. Since all my squad made the climb (it was actually more of a hike) we didn't make much of the whole adventure. I do regret that I did not find some way of bringing my fujistick home, even in pieces. I wasn't thinking of grandchildren then. 

The rest of the summer was training, guard duty, and the kind of things that the army thought of to keep the troops busy.

Dad, nearing the summit of Fuji.

Had to cheat and get a photo from the web. I like that you can see the trail zig-zagging up the shoulder of the mountain (you may have to follow the link to the original to see it clearly)
Mount Fuji from Hotel Mt Fuji 1994-11-29


15 comments:

  1. Mmm not sure that it legal with Mt Fuji. Been past it on the train but I'm not sure if I took a photo of it though, must look.
    http://spudsdailyphoto.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. I did my best to find one that gave permission to use with links back. Click on the photo to see. I really wanted to use my Dad's photos, but didn't have access.

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  2. Yes, one of the million and one places I'd love to visit. Great post - thanks!

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    1. You and me both! I am getting a sneaking feeling I won't get to them all.

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    2. By the way, you startled me--you have the same name as my childhood best friend's mom!

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  3. How cool to have this experience in your dad's own words, with a picture to go along with it. Thank you for his military service.

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    1. Dad narrowly missed WWII. He graduated from high school shortly before the end of the war, and opted to enter the merchant navy rather than the army. He enlisted after a year at sea, since they were still drafting young men anyway.

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  4. What a great letter/diary from your dad! These mean so much to us as we get older. I am glad he wrote this down for his family.

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    1. Many thanks to Mom, who pushed him to write his memoir. It's brief, and sketchy in places, but at least he got the bones of his story down for us. It's a precious thing.

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  5. That's such a great idea, posting your Dad's words. And thanks for the promo!
    Jemima

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    1. I might not have thought of it if not for you, so you deserve the shout-out!

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  6. Love that you used our dad's own words. I hope you get to visit someday.

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    1. So many great places, so little time....

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