This is My Everest
I did it, but it was no easy task. Mt. Fuji is a bitch, but I didn't do it alone. I met Ray and Eddie on the bus on the way to the mountain. They're professional dancers at Disneyland Tokyo; one of them is even from L.A. and used to work at the Northridge mall, right next to my old house. We hit it off. So, we bought our walking sticks at the base of the mountain, falsely assuming that it would be a cute souvenir. We would have died without them.
We started our climb at nighttime so that we'd make it just in time for sunrise. Our moods were so joyful for the first hour, taking pictures at the mountain huts along the way. Halfway up our climb (3 hours or so), we were starting to feel the affects of the thin air and hurricane strength winds.
The wind and rain, not to mention the lack of railways, made the climb pretty scary. One unlucky gust could've bounced us off Fuji like a little Pachihnko ball, but we were determined. The rocks were really steep and wet, and Ray would yelp, "Jesus on a bike!" everytime he lost his balance. Sometimes he'd spice things up and scream, "Christ on cruches!" Nevertheless, we made awesome time; by 1 in the morning, we were only 100 m from the top. So, we decided to hide out in one of the last mountain huts for $8 instant noodles (we were desperate). A goup of US Army guys met us inside and we all moaned about how tired and cold we were.
We got a stamp burned into our walking sticks at every mountain hut, documenting our progress. The last mountain hut was our Holy Grail; it was proof that we made it to the very top, the 12, 395 ft mark. The winds were easily 100+ MPH, so we stayed behind a rock, watching the sunrise. Every once in a while, the clouds would let up and the view over the central Japan revealed itself. Down below, the clouds looked like marshmallows suspended over Lake Ashi. That moment was the best pain releiever. No longer could I feel my worn down joints.
An old Japanese saying says that everyone must climb Mt. Fuji once, but only a fool would do it twice. They couldn't be more right.