Well here I am in the well heeled area of Kamakura, one of Japan’s ancient capitals. This is probably the most ritzy place I stayed, I mean it had a driveway and grass to pitch my tent on. That white cage on the left is their recycling collection. I found this out because it was collection day and all through the morning the whole street was coming and dumping their stuff in it. My attempt at being inconspicuous kind of failed, no one bothered me or rang the terrorist hotline though.
While I was packing up my tent an middle aged lady from one of the houses came for a chat. She remembered a western guy coming through here and looking at the block to purchase, she thought I was this guy and was ‘trying it out’. I figured trying to explain it would be difficult and confusing so I just played along, she got very interested in my personal life and was seeing if I had a wife and kids who were going to come live with me. I figure all us westerners look a like to them, in any case it was time for my escape.
The attraction of Kamakura was the 93 tonne bronze Giant Buddha –
I got my first taste of Japanese tourists in their natural environment as well, still so camera happy. My favourite was the groups of school children who all wore the same coloured hats so they didn’t get lost.
Japan is extremely mountainous, I may be talking out my arse but I believe it’s situated between tectonic plates and the creation of Japan is pretty much the squishing together of those plates, creating a great spine of mountains through the middle. It is also rather volcanic, which can also lead to the creation of mountains. To traverse this landscape Japan has built a lot of tunnels, on a regular day I would hit a number of them and they never ceased to bring a smile to my face.
The sound of the bike just reverberates off the walls and as the lights go flashing past it feels like you’re approaching warp speed. Also the emergence back into nature on the other side is a great feeling. Here’s a picture of a typical albeit short one while leaving Kamakura –
On my way to Mt. Fuji I happened on this peculiar place –
Despite the cars, there was no one to greet me. My dream of a bit of high tea was crushed 😦
I really wanted to climb Mt. Fuji and I hadn’t really done much walking yet, so I stocked up on the food I’d need at the town of Fuji and headed up the mountain to camp at the highest car park, to be ready the next morning. It was again night at this stage so I couldn’t really see the mountain.
To my great surprise *cough* the road leading to the car park was closed off. They meant business here as well, with no way to sneak my bike through. It was looking unlikely that I’d get to climb Mt. Fuji. I however could definitely camp on it, so I pitched my tent in the largest parcel of grass I’d yet seen. I lay down and shut my eyes to the image of Buddha looking down, disapproving of me.