We arrived at Lake Kawaguchi and it was magnificent; surrounded by mountains and the last few vibrant colours of autumn. Because of the weather, we couldn’t even see the peaks of the mountains and had no idea even the direction in which or how close Mt Fuji was. It had been raining for a few days, so the clouds were very thick and low in the sky. I started feeling a little down and was worried that I would not have the chance to see Mt Fuji. Getting to see Mt Fuji had always been a dream of mine, so out of the entire trip to Japan, the one night we would be in the Mt Fuji region was what I was most excited about. Ming Hay suggested that we book the traditional Japanese room. When he told me that meant paying extra to sit and sleep on the floor, I laughed and told him how ridiculous I thought that concept was. We didn’t have another conversation about the room until we were sitting in the lobby of the hot spring hotel waiting to check in. I kept going on about how nice the hotel was and had a laugh about why someone would pay more for a room without a bed or a chair. In a nonchalant way, upon being shown to our room, he mentioned that he booked the traditional Japanese room. At night, a woman came to the door to deliver a traditional Japanese dinner. Our tables were filled with an amazing array of dishes of all sizes and so much food that I could not identify, but looked and smelled delicious. Dinner took almost 2 hours to finish, but we managed our way through each and every dish. After eating as much as we did, I found the benefit to sitting on the floor and not in a chair during a meal; you can stretch out, curl up, and lean to the side, anything to open your stomach more than if you were sitting in a proper chair. Once the dishes were collected, a man came to the door to prepare our sleeping area. He moved tables and pulled out all sorts of bedding. I watched with slight trepidation and anxiety as he transformed our bedless room into what resembled a comfortable sleeping area. The image I had since hearing of sleeping on the ground; curling up in the corner of a room on a hard floor with just a blanket, was as far from the reality of a traditional Japanese room as could be. The bedding was soft and being on the floor gave more support than my bed at home. Maybe it was because the hot spring washed away all of the stress in my body, or maybe the sleeping area was really comfortable, but I did have a wonderful night’s sleep and woke up feeling refreshed and content. When I opened my eyes the next morning, I found Ming Hay looking out of the window. With a smile, he told me to come over and meet Mr. Fuji. Just outside of our window stood this massively impressive beauty. Twelve hours before, I stood at this same window watching the monkeys play on the rooftops, having no idea that Mr. Fuji was right there the whole time.
[Published in Clip Magazine #36: http://issuu.com/clip.magazine/docs/clip36/24]