Saturday, March 27, 2010

Do Not Climb Mount Fuji

Above Katsushika Hokusai, Red Fuji (Southern Wind Clear Morning). Ukiyo-e woodblock print, c1830. The following passage is from John Morris, Traveler from Tokyo. New York: Sheridan House, 1944—

I wish, however, that I had not climbed Mount Fuji; never again was I able to quite capture the feeling of pristine beauty that it undoubtedly gives until such time as one actually sets foot upon its slopes. But then, as one of my Japanese friends was fond of saying, Fuji is only a "seeing" mountain; it was never meant to be climbed. The Japanese, however, have a saying that there are two kinds of fool: those who have never climbed Mount Fuji, and those who have climbed it more than once.