Day 19 – Tuesday, 16 April 2024

From Tateshina, after a walk in the morning, down to Lake Yamanaka, and our breath taken away by the iconic sight of Mt Fuji. Words really do fail. It stands, alone and astonishing, like one’s first sight of Saturn through a telescope – miraculous, impossible but so obviously a solid, enormous fact. The photographs do not do it justice, the full impact lost on the page, no matter how many shots I took, and I took plenty.

Justice not being done

One astonishing aspect of Fuji, among many, is the changing atmospheric conditions mean that the clouds that one minute merely kiss the summit, at others crown the peak, sometimes also conspire with an overcast sky to conceal the mountain completely. In its massive isolation, it is so present, so immanent, as unignorably and mind-fillingly there as a tyrannosaur or a cancer diagnosis, but a bend in the road, and a change in the wind, mean that it can be, all of a sudden and quite impossibly, gone, as if swept from existence by a master magician, or a powerful god. And then, another ten minutes goes past and – close your eyes, spin thrice and open them again – it’s back, owning your attention like little else can.

Nothing else that day looms much in the memory. Nothing could.


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