PEAK PERFORMANCE

Both of yesterday’s matches turned out to be strolls in the park in the end; Italy and England showed very few signs of weariness as they picked up seven tries apiece whilst conceding just the one. The US in particular were delighted to get on the scoresheet in the final action of the second half. For the victors, tougher tests lie ahead.

Climbing Mount Fuji is not such a stroll in the park. Unfortunately, climbing season coincides with typhoon season and the two are not happy bedfellows. If you were thinking about going up this year, I’m afraid the mountain officially closed on September 10th.

Mind you, that didn’t stop somebody I know with an ‘adventurous’ spirit (who will remain nameless) from waltzing up to the summit solo with a tent on his back and camping overnight out of season. Don’t try that at home folks. Seriously. People die up there.

The first time I tried to go up myself was as a Japan newbie. By the time I got to Fujinomiya fifth station and started up in zero visibility, strong wind and pounding rain, I was the only person ascending and everybody was telling me to go back. So I did.

Funnily enough, I bumped into some teachers from the same company as me who had made it up to the eighth station before being beaten by the weather gods.

Even more peculiarly, I met one of them on Japan’s second most famous volcano, Sakurajima, also by chance, a few months later. Small world!

My second attempt at Mount Fuji was in glorious weather. I went up with relatively little fuss wearing a t-shirt, a pair of shorts and trainers and wielding a climbing stick . I’d forgotten the sunscreen though, so I had to tie a towel round my head and neck.

Coming down, I realised I had gone up a little too fast and felt a bit giddy. It’s advisable to rest overnight in a hut rather than go straight up and down, but the prices are fairly exorbitant for what they offer.

Although I went up the Fujinomiya route, I came down the Gotemba trail. The latter features the ‘Great Sand Run’. This section of the mountain consists of a steep slope covered in black sand and the easiest way to negotiate it is by running.

It was far easier on my knees than standard descending, but it did destroy my trainers. I could barely get them off my feet afterwards and when they did finally come off they went straight in the bin.

Mount Fuji lies on the border of Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures and Shizuoka, my adopted home, will be hosting the big game tomorrow, Japan vs Ireland.

I could hear plenty of Irish accents on the streets heading home this evening and I’ll definitely be heading to the fan zone tomorrow for the match. I’m hoping the Brave Blossoms keep it respectable.

Where will you be watching?

Yesterday’s Matches
Italy 48-7 Canada (Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka)
England 45-7 USA (Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe)

Tomorrow’s Matches
Argentina vs Tonga (1345 JST) (Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka)
Japan vs Ireland (1615 JST) (Shizuoka Ecopa Stadium, Shizuoka)
South Africa vs Namibia (1845 JST) (City of Toyota Stadium, Toyota)

Expression of the day
富士山を登ったことありますか? (fuji san wo nobotta koto arimasu ka )
Which means…
Have you ever climbed Mount Fuji?

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