Thursday, June 28, 2012

I saw Mount Fuji today... honestly

Mount Fuji from Mount Takao, as seen with my natural eyes.
Photo: Japanory

This may not be news to you, but Tokyo is pretty big. So big, you can travel on an express train for 90 minutes and still be well within the city limits. So big, you can escape the squashed city streets for the serenity of the mountains and not even get close to the edge of the local rail map.

I've been trying to pack in as much as I can during my brief stay in Tokyo, and filling my 'off' days with work due to inflated worries about how much Japan's costing me (not too much and I'm doing fine, but don't waste your effort trying to assuage my paranoia with facts and maths). So discovering that the day trip to tranquil Mount Takao would only take about an hour and 1000 yen or so each way, this seemed like a great way to spend the best part of my Saturday.

I love nature walks, and from the websites I read, this seemed to be my perfect type of national park - not too far out, well signposted trails, the teasing prospect of monkeys and easily accessible even by old women, so I can clamber over tree roots past the old dears and delude myself about my physical superiority.

Unfortunately, this promise of Zen serenity was splintered into annoyance and more financial worries when I arrived at Takaosanguchi station and dug around in my bag to find my camera was missing.


I've become umbilically dependent on my cheap camera to justify my excursions, and the prospect of doing something without documenting it for the benefit of my three regular readers (one of them's my mum) was hard to get my head around. That's how I did things in the old days before I bothered to buy a camera (see all blogs up to 26 November 2010), when I had to put in the effort and actually write paragraphs to describe things without the benefit of illustrations. Like this thing you're reading now. Boring, isn't it?

If someone could have told me that my camera was safe and sound in my room, I might have enjoyed this break from the city like I'd hoped to, with the added freedom from self-imposed obligations to take ten times as many photos as I need and then spend more hours than are practical deleting, resizing, meticulously naming and uploading these to Blogger. But for all I knew, my camera could be getting kicked around by power-walking commuters on the floor of some distant JR station, having been dislodged when I pulled several maps from my bag while trying to work out an ingeniously complex transit system I thought I'd finally mastered (more layers than an onion).

I had more sightseeing and freak-watching planned for Sunday - would I need to replace my camera again again? Would I have time, or manage to find a shop with decent prices? Do they even sell electronics in Tokyo?

These worries did spoil my visit and meant I didn't really take a lot in, apart from the clear view of distant Fuji-san which was a delight, and will have to make do as I recently found out that the mountain's only open for climbing during July and August (I was here in May).

Though judging by this entry, I could just tell you I went to Fuji after all, but forgot to take my camera with me. I could tell you anything and you'd believe it, wouldn't you? I didn't even go to Takao today, I just stayed in my loft watching ten-years-out-of-date episodes of Adam and Joe Go Tokyo, drinking cheap sake and crying.

Happy ending (not that kind)

Wait... if that's my camera... how... who... what... eungkh...

Fortunately, when I got back to the hostel and opened the fabric door to my room, my camera was sitting on my bed where I'd left it, looking up at me with a cheeky expression, like a kitten trying its best to look adorable next to some incriminating poo. I can never stay angry at it - it's basically my fifth eye after all (sixth if you're dirty, seventh if you're dirtier), and it helps me feel like my trips are worthwhile and justified, rather than being pointlessly expensive and time-consuming distractions from the responsibilities of adult life. Now the dream team's back together, there'll be plenty of photos accompanied by silly/racist captions next time!

But at least I saw Fuji with my own eyes, you can't take that memory from me. Not until this entry gets published in July anyway, and I see someone else's photo of Fuji on my blog that I pointlessly check about 50 times a day, which will eventually replace the real memory. Most of my travel memories are probably based more on my photos than the actual events. I didn't realise how much I relied on my camera until today.

This whole post seems like a convoluted advertisement for cameras, doesn't it? Like one of those 'articles' that soulless, clueless freelance copywriters churn out for digital marketing agencies, pretending to convey useful information before insulting the patient reader at the end by revealing itself to be nothing more than an advert, making everyone involved feel cheap and slightly sick.

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1 comment:

  1. Ha, James is training up his replacement just now and after telling her all about the sordid world of linkbuilding she turned to him and said "I'm not going to trust anything I read on the internet EVER AGAIN"