Thursday, August 16, 2012


It was brought to my attention (by some of our blog readers) while we were home that I never posted pics on our blog of our new furniture. Enjoy!

                                                        This is our step tonsu.
                                                     Our new China closet.

                                                 And the new TV stand.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Congratulations Andy and Jewel!

Last week we took our last trip home before we move back there permanently. It was great spending 10 days in the country that we love, with the food and shopping that we love! The main reason behind our journey was the wedding of A.J.'s brother, Andy on Friday, August 10th.

Despite the rain during the day, things cleared up in time for the outdoor ceremony and reception and everything went off without a hitch! It was a beautiful day! Congratulations again Andy and Jewel! We wish you lots of love and happiness!

                                           A.J. looking very dashing in his tux!

Mt. Fuji Climb

On July 28th, A.J. and I took on the infamous Mt. Fuji! Fuji-san (as the Japanese call it) is an active volcano located outside of Tokyo. (Note: the last time it erupted was 1707.) On clear days we can see it from base and in the winter, we get beautiful views of its snow covered top. Given the elevation, the only time of the year that you can climb it is between early July and late August because it is too cold to do so the rest of the year. So, seeing as this is our last summer in Japan, we decided now was the time to climb so that we could do it together. Little did we know what we were in for!

Mt. Fuji is 12,389 feet high; we started our climb at 8,000 feet. There are multiple stations and huts on the way up where you can get snacks and take breaks from the hike. You can also purchase walking sticks at the start of the climb and get stamps on your stick at each stop on the way up. These made for a very cool souvenir! A.J. and I did the one day climb through our tours office on base. This meant catching a bus from base at 4:00 in the morning and returning around 10:00 that night. That makes for a long day!

We started our climb at the 5th station, which as I mentioned is at 8,000 feet. We spent 30 minutes or so there so that our bodies could adjust to the altitude before we started.
The view from the start of our climb...doesn't look so bad from down here!

The short walk from the 5th station to the 6th station isn't so bad. It is mostly flat and you even go downhill for a little bit. After the 6th station is where it gets rough! Most of the trail is a mixture of gravel, dirt and volcanic ash, which makes walking tough. The entire trail is extremely steep and when you aren't dealing with the gravel, you are climbing on large rocks that involve the use of your hands at times. Needless to say, it's not easy.

Now, I know there are people who really enjoy hiking and doing this type of thing... I however, am not one of them! So this whole thing was very difficult for me. If it wasn't for A.J., I never would have made it!
Pics from about half way up. Please note that I was not as happy as I appear in this picture!

                                                            We finally made it to the top!
                                                          And I was really excited!
We took most of our pictures on the way down. These 2 shots give you a good idea of how steep the trail was!
The crater at the summit. It was still filled with ice at the end of July! The temperature at the bottom of the mountain reached about 96 degrees that day. At the top, it was probably in the 50's.

We made it up in 6 1/2 hours, spent about 45 minutes at the summit and then took 3 hours and 15 minutes to get down. Coming down wasn't much easier as the gravel and such caused you to slip and slide most of the way down and it was extremely steep. Needless to say, our knees were pretty sore by the end!

Overall, we were both so glad that we did it and that we made it to the top, but have agreed that NOTHING would ever get us to do it again. Just another thing checked off our Japan bucket list!