The days go by very quickly and I actually don’t mind as I miss the warm days. The cold weather does give me solitude as I am keen on spending productive time alone as that is when I get to accomplish more. Consequently, I was able to write a second book. Unlike the first book, which was about mastering English, this second one is a novel. I figure since the cold weather has me running home immediately after work then I would use that time to do what I love. I love that being in Japan has allowed me to grow and develop in ways I never thought possible. I love that this one-year experience provides inspiration for future endeavours.
Day Trip to Otsuki
Otsuki is on the way to Mt. Fuji and only a short distance from my home in Musashi-Sakai. I had a free day yesterday and decided to visit some sites there and hopefully catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji. I was lucky as the weather was good, it was sunny, the sky was clear and I was excited to explore the area, I decided to visit two main sites, Saruhashi or ‘monkey bridge’ as it is known as and Mt. Iwadono. The bridge was very pretty and had lovely artwork on blocks lined up along the sides of it. There were wooden steps on the lower part of the bridge, which were apparently created to replicate monkeys holding hands to form a bridge back in the 7th century. The view below was of clear turquoise water and high cliffs on each side. I sat by the rocks and had some fried chicken in the afternoon sun. The rush of the water below sounded relaxing and I sat there for some time taking it all in.
I then took a bus for about ten minutes to Mt. Iwadono. It was early evening at this stage and I knew I wouldn’t have time to climb the whole mountain but I did climb a small part of it and was delighted to see Mt. Fuji in the distance, glaring over the scattered houses and neighborhoods below. I sat on a bench while admiring the view and as I sat, I felt so lucky to be in that place at that moment on a Tuesday evening, when this time last year it was all so different. Mt. Fuji is really magnificent to see. It makes me feel humble and grateful which nature tends to do. I finished off my day with some ramen from a lovely restaurant near the train station. My aim now is to go back to Mt. Iwadono and climb it to the very top. Apparently it’s not a difficult climb which is great news for me as I’m not the best at mountain climbing. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a taste for mountain climbing and it will become my new pastime.
It is amazing how quickly time has passed. Just a few months ago, I was disembarking from an airplane feeling very uncertain about everything. Since then, five months have passed and I am experiencing my first winter holidays away from home. The winter holidays have been a very quiet yet relaxing one as I spent most of my time hiding away from the cold. I still tried to do some sightseeing and enjoy New Year’s holiday festivities. I was hoping to experience snow but no such luck. I am still hoping and waiting for that opportunity as there are a few weeks of winter left. Since it keeps getting colder and colder, I am hoping for snow.
This year I remained in Japan for winter break. It was a lovely change from being at home in Ireland. The weather was better than Ireland in winter, as there was hardly any rain. I visited a lot of places and got to spend some time with my Irish friends. In early January, I travelled to Fujikawaguchiko for three nights. On the first day, I went to see the ice caves and walked through Aokigahara forest which was so green and dense. The walk lead us to one of the lakes near Mt. Fuji where the view was amazing. On the second day, we took a boat ride around the lake and went on the cable car, which takes you high up where you can walk around and take photos of the magnificent Mount Fuji. It looked spectacular in the early afternoon sun. In the evening, I spent some time relaxing in the onsen back at the hotel. It was a holiday like no other and I will be sure to travel there again in the future. Overall, it was a very enjoyable winter break. There are so many places to visit in Japan and I hope I will have enough time to do everything I want to do.