After arriving in Japan on September 1, 1966, June and I were full time language school students from September until July 1, 1968. There were no classes in July and August of 1967, so our family of four (at that time) set out for Mt. Fuji on July 3 and spent that night in a Japanese hotel.
On July 4 we started climbing Mt. Fuji from the fifth station about 1 p.m. and spent the night in a hut at the eighth station. We had brought some fireworks with us, so we celebrated our first 4th of July outside the U.S. on the side of Mt. Fuji.
The next day Keith wasn’t feeling well, so he (and, consequently, June) didn’t get much farther up the mountain. Kathy and I made it up to station 9 along with Doris Walters, a missionary who was on the same steamship as us coming to Japan. It was so cold and windy, though, Kathy (in spite of her protests) and Doris remained there and I climbed on to the top–well past sunrise.
The picture below is of the memorial “flag” I bought in a souvenir shop at the top. In spite of being after sunrise, that was stamped on the flag I got. On the left the large words say “The light of peace,” and below that it says “Memorial for climbing to the summit of Mt. Fuji” and “3,778 meters above sea level.”
The final climb from the 9th station was difficult: it was steep, of course, but it was also very cold (around 32 degrees F.), quite windy, and cloudy with some snow flurries on the way up. But at the top the weather cleared up some and I was able to see the lake near the hotel we had stayed in on July 3.
What a great experience! — But I was sad the rest of the family was not able to share it with me. Several years later June, Kathy, and Ken (who was born about five years after that first climb) did make it to the top. I made it to summit again with them–in spite of the old Japanese proverb that says, “A wise man climbs Mt. Fuji once, only a fool climbs it twice.”