Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ascending FujiSan

I joined the climbers from Msia at Shinjuku train station, the west exit. Aini, my host, was kind enough to be with me. We met and exchanged greetings and names. Most of the people in the group are in their 20ish, a fistful in their 30ish and a couple in their 40ish. I, without saying, am the oldest of the group.
I introduced myself as Kak lela and one of the ladies questioned me to the title Kak on me. She felt she is entitled for the Kak calling in the group, I told her my age, straight up and she was like open-mouthed staring at me.
We left the inn and took the bus up to the 5th station. There we bought post-cards, climbing sticks for yen 1000 and took lots of snaps. Its like a carnival over there, lots of sight-seers, climbers, picnikers or just strollers.
The air was at 23c, gust of strong winds and foggy. Some of the Msian climbers were already feeling the chills and started to add on some layers of clothings.
We made our safety doa and I adding some of my personal doa as I start to walk on the path.
The ground was gradually sloping, with lots of flowers and small plants in between the volcanic rocks. We started our slow walks at 11.35am from the 5th station (2305m) and the estimation time to reach the 6th station(2390m) is 45 min, but we made it at 50 mins...considering good for me.

We took 10 mins rest at the 6th station and started our slow walk at 12.35pm for the 7th station(2700m). The estimation time was 60 mins but we took 1.25 mins to reach the 7th station. The vegetation between 6th to 7th station was lesser and the trails was mostly loose volcanic, black sand. The slope was still manageable but I have to stop every 10 steps to take some deep breath. My heart was bumping like doing the aerobic steps.

We reached the 7th station (2700m) at 2pm and rest for 30 mins. I have to make myself go to the toilet. I felt my urinary bladder so full and heavy but I cannot let it out. The toilet cost yen 100 per entry and there is no water to wash. I have to take with me wet tissue paper for the cleaning. Then, every toilet is uni-sex. The males do their thing in front and we ladies have to pass them by to enter our cubicle. Some Msian men cannot do it in public and they used the cubicle for privacy.
The toilet stank beyond description, the smell would stay on your clothes for quiet sometime.
For stamina drinks or pet-bottle water of 500ml, it cost 5 times more. On ground level, it normally cost yen 100 but here on Fujisan the higher you go, the higher the water cost, which comes at yen 500 per 500ml pet-bottle.
There were 6 resting huts at every interval from the 7th station. These huts provide drinks or hot instant soup and toilets facilities.
From halfway through the 7th station, I felt I need to use the portable oxygen. My breathing was swallow and short. Every steps I took was breathless. I had to stop for breathing every 10 steps. There was this guy, Muzzafar who helped me with counting my steps and telling me to breath every now and then. I tend to get away with long steps and forgetting to stop for my regular big air.
The approximate time from 6th to 7th station is 100 min but we took 180 mins. Extra 80 mins because we stopped many times for breathing rest by the side walk. The trail was getting narrower as we go higher. At some points, only one person can passed through and we had to wait in queue. It is recorded that between July and August of the year, about 3000 people climb Fujisan daily. So imagine the bottle-neck at some rocks.

We reached the 8th station (3020m) at 5.10pm. The leader of JALPAK, sdr Azhar had booked bunker rest at Taishi-kan Hut. All of us are given a single space of 1m by 2m side by side for 15 people. We cannot stand, the bunkers are only for sleeping.
Again no water for washing, for toilet we have to queue outside with the rest of the crowd and pay for every entry at yen 200.

We rest for 6 hours at these sleeping bunkers from 5.10 pm to mid-night. I can hear the winds howling outside. The temperature was below 0c. We we given a sleeping-bag and a square bean bag for pillow, thats all. We were not allowed to eat at the bunker but I bit slowly on energy bars, stamina liquid and a ball of white rice that I brough with me. Just before getting ready to walk again, I went outside to the toilet, I saw some people standing and shivering in the cold gusty winds. Lots of space and empty bunkers and they don't booked to stay inside. The hut is a private enterprise and the management closed the doors to people who don't pay for the warmth inside. I really symphatized those people standing in the cold strong winds and felt strong ache to how those people managing the hut have hearts enough to let people stays outside in the cold.

Anyway, after the sleep and rest for 6 hours, we started our walk again at mid-night 12.15am in the dark. We were well-clothed, thick winter clothing, gloves, caps and head-light or touchlight. It is dark and the trail is for one person only. So, you can see the lights moving on the mountain as people moved along the trails. There is no public light to light up the trails. Here, no matter what happened, you have to go up. Not down because they is no way down. At some point, human jam would cause the queue to wait for some 5 mins. There is no more loose sand from 8th station. Only rocks and big stones. There is no proper stepping stones...you have to find a good space to put your tired feet to walk on in the dark. One of the girls who joined our group from Las Vegas, she is a Hawaiian dancer and she cried from the 8th station. She was cold and very tired. There is no medic here as well. If you throw up, you just sit on the side and rest. Then walk up not down. The things is, nothing goes down at this point...everything points up and up.
I looked up and serched for the sight of the peak, can't see anything in the fog. I just moved, carried my legs, counting 10 steps.

What in my head, in my head...zombie...I was walking like a breathless zombie. I can't speak, too tired. Have to preserve all energy for the steps upwards. The air was getting thinner. I have to breath the portable oxygen a few times.
My urine bladder felt so heavy, like its coming out of my body but weird thing is, there is no urine!
My heart was beating 10 times faster than normal. Wow, people with high blood pressure, never ever think of climbing any mountains.

The sunrise was at 5 am. At this time, we were still climbing in the fog. Still can't see ahead. Visibility was like 5m. Of course, we can't see the sunrise at all. The winds was so strong, it was like a small typhoon. We couldn't stand straight, else the winds will blow us towards the edge of the one-line stone path. I was now crawling on my two hands, grabbing for something strong to step on.
The at 5.25am, I heard some people in the crowd ahead of us shouting "banzai, banzai"

are we there yet? are we at the summit already?

I reached a level ground and saw the only person sitting there calling my name...
"kak lela", Norhayati called me.
She was alone...waiting for the rest to reach.
She is the first person to reach the summit and I am the second to come.

Kak lela kita dah sampai, she said...
Oh ye ke? me, breathless...

We have reached the peak of FujiSan at 3776m at 5.25am on August 24, 2007.

I looked around, everybody was smiling, excruciatingly feeling on top of the world. Some people went in the shops to have warm breakfast, some went it to stamp their walking sticks, it was like a big fun-fair there.
I collected stamps on my walking stick at every station, each stamp cost yen200. We waited for the rest of the group climbers to reach and they spread MYJICA and Jalur Gemilang for the success climb.

I will write another entry for the descending journey...

Sunday, August 26, 2007



They say when the muscle ache comes 2 days later, then you are considered as old.

young people's muscle ache will come on the next day.

you should ask tomo to massage your leg when you go home.

anyway, please go home and have a big rest.

This is the e-mail I received from my elders daughter in Singapore.

My answer is...

My dear girl,
Yes, I am old.
I am old but I am proud to tell you that I've climbed the highest mountain in Japan. The muscles ache comes immediately I reached the summit and double again once I reached ground level.
Does this comes in the young people age-group? Or the going to die-soon group?

Tonight will be my third night at the foot of Mt. Fuji. The first night, I just walked across the road and booked in a shared room. I took dinner and a hot bath and slept unconscious. Then, the 2nd day, I booked in a business hotel for 2 nights.
I slept for 48 hours on the go, only to get up for toilets and a drink of water. I don't have much feeling to eat anything.
For the past two evenings, I soaked my screaming muscles in the hot bath, a burning sauna and a painful massage on the massage bed.
Then, before sleeping, I applied some muscles pain-killer all over.

I will make my way to Shinjuku by the express bus and then to Shibuya tomorrow morning. Then fly off home in the evening, insyaAllah.

First thing I do will be to upload the photos of my success climb once I reach home, insyaAllah, but I can't promise yet as I might hibernate again for sometime at home.

My advise to people who have intentions to climb this beautiful mountain is...
Reduce the body cellulite to less than 40% before climb,
No gout,
No irregular heart-beat,
No high blood pressure,
No weak angkle and knees,
No lung-related sickness,
Most important of all is to prepare mentally for the gruesome tortoure.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fuji Climb

We did it, we did it. With pride I declare that I successfully climb the summit of Mt. Fuji at 3776m.
I am the oldest among the group, the rest are like 40 ish and 30 ish, 8 men and 8 women.
I will describe the ascend later on when I get back to Okinawa with photo uploads. After all the experience, the climbing up is easier than the descend. I was the second to reach the top but the last to come down. The climb was very, very tough to the legs, angles, thigh and muscles behind the femur bone and not forgeting the knees.

I thought coming down was double easy that climbing, I was absolutely wrong. What makes the climb down gruelling was the loose black sand and rolling stones and boulders.
My legs went angle deep in the sand every steps and I fall and went buttock-skiing a couple of times. I couldn't make my way down and after having my buttock scratch a few times, I had to hang on the arms of two guys on each side for support.

We started our descend at 8.35 in the morning today and I ended up finishing at 3.30 pm alone, the rest of the group left me to go and pick their lugguge at the Japanese Inn.

An hour ago, they left me here by myself at Kawaguchiko Station at the bottom of Mt. Fuji to make their way to Shinjuku by train.
I checked in a room near the station with a commom Ofuro, alone. The reason is because I cannot walk at all!
I am limping and every muscles on both legs are pinning my sensory so much. I cannot move my body at all.
I just had dinner round the corner restaurant and after writing this entry, I will soak my aching muscle in the hot ofuro.
Hopefully, I can move normally tomorrow and might go back to Aini's house in Shibuya but my body cannot tell me just yet.
I will update on the ascending report of Mt. Fuji, once I have the chance to do it at home.

Salam Kawaguchiko, Mt. Fuji.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back from Niigata

I'm in Tokyo again now, back from Niigata yesterday afternoon. I cannot reply to all the comments in the previous entries yet.
Today, Aini, my host family, and I plan to go Shinjuku station to find out the exact location of Keio Bus line. This is the express bus that we are taking to Kawaguchiko Trails for the Fuji Climb Expedition. Then, I need to get some supplies for the climb, things like light food to munch and stamina drinks.
The climb will be tomorrow Aug. 22, 2007.
How am I feeling about it?
Not so confident, to be frank. Even my spirit is quavering. I keep on thinking of my feet. I remember having the pain at the sole of my feet while doing my hajj. This time I've prepared two pairs of padding for my feet for this climb, one for arch support and one for the sole. Also, knee support and ankle support. After this, I don't know what else to do but make lots of doa to reach the peak.
The members of the group that I am with are mostly from JICA Msia, I don't know anyone of them yet.

While we were in Niigata for 4 days from Thursday to Monday, we went to a summer sky resort. There they had this sleigh ride called Bob-sleight, I can't upload my photo yet on this pc. I have one ride here after seeing Aini who is 4 months pregnant having a go at it. I remind myself, I am climbing Mt. Fuji at 3996m and what is 20 m high bob sleigh ride. I took the cable to the top.
I had some nervous strike looking down. My phobia for height is too strong.

Yesterday, I saw on tv news about China Airlines bursting into flames after landing at Naha Airport, on Okinawa main island. Alhamdulillah, no human live is affected.
Now, my fear for flying comes back. But I still have to fly back to my home in Okinawa.

I have lots of stories on my trip to Niigata, most of the things I did there are first-timer like grape-picking, Ayu-fishing and tasting and bob-sleighing.
All these stories will have to wait for me to update when I get back to Okinawa, insyaAllah.

I am booking my trip back to Okinawa after this entry, so I still don't know my return date yet.
To all members of Forum BashoHut and PondokBasho, please make doa for my safe journey back, insyaAllah.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sampai Tokyo

My flight was in the deep of the night between 3 to 5.30 in the morning. I couldn'd sleep a wink *sigh* as usual. By 4 am the sky was suddenly ablase with fiery yellow strip and by 10 minutes later, it was daylight. Most of the passengers on flight were young Japanese youth on holidays. I think this is the cheapest flight I've taken in my life, even a cup of juice is charged for 100 yen.
Landing arrival was smooth and I was the last to pick my luggage. Saw Hani waving at the waiting floor. It was about 6am, when we left the airport parking lot and drove to Yokohama. While we talked, my eyes were looking around everywhere, trying to find something familiar. Just a little spot here and there but not much as most of the byways and highways were not there 20 years ago.
Anyway, when we reached Hani's house, the first thing I was showed here small garden porch where she grew almost anything that she can get her hands on. She has this olive tree growing about 3 metres with lots of little green olive fruits. Actually, this is the first time I saw olive trees, then she have kacang panjang, 3 pots of beautiful kesum plant, 2 bushful of healthy serai, mulburry plant and lots more other plants that I've seen before.
For breakfast, we had nasi lemak and towards lunchtime, we made our way to AiniZakri's house in Naka-Meguro. Going from Yokohama towards Tokyo, we had to pass through Tamagawa river and then, I saw the area that I occupied 25 years back.
I screamed at the same time pointing to Hani the area and make her promised to take me there again to have a closer inspection and hopefully manage to see my previous apartment owner.
We reached AiniZakri's house in the depth of Tokyo. I don't recognised anything at all on the road there at all. None at all. Most things have changed.
Before seeing Aini's apartment, I had the impression that her apartment is going to be the typical Japanese 3-rooms 6 tatami design, but I was in for a shock. Real shock. But, unfortunately, I cannot tell you this shocking feeling as it might revealed some confidential privacy on my kind host. So, let us stop here.
We girls chatted all through the day and still going strong towards late evening. In fact, our friend Hani was quite taken away with the time until she really, really had to rush home in the night.
Aini's hubby came home and we had dinner together and chatted away till very late into the night. Eventhough I still haven't had a wink for more than 24 hours.
He is a very acceptable kind of guy, easy to adapt and talk to. There is not an air of showishness in him. I've met some guys with his character, the kind that you couldn't get mad at, in whatever situation!
Yesterday, the second days at Aini's house, we prepared ourselves to leave the house after a late breakfast. Imagine me not sleeping for more than 24 hours and that morning on the rock I slept through till 9.30 am.
Just as I planned, after breakfast we made our way to Akihabara. We went from nooks to nooks, corners to corners, alleys to alleys. Aini had some hard time trying to keep up to me. She is into her 4 month pregnancy, all she complained was the heat of summer but she never say a word about tiredness.
Anyway, I found out that they do sell laptop Windows Vista in English here for about US1000. What made us went about every nooks and corners were comparing some desktops and laptops for Aini. I knew the exact specification and we were trying to get the best for somewhat at minimum cost. We went for Laox to Laox, from small tiny shops to big famous names. I was searching for a desktop with 300 gigabytes, HDD more that 1.8 with speed of 1 gigabyte and of course engilish Vista.
It either we have that spec but Japanese vista or the right spec with eng. vista but at some extro cost.
Anyway, we made some dealings and negotiations and had to make our way to Azra Haida'house. We took the Ginza line to Asakusa masjid and then took the local bus.
She leaves almost on the roof of that masjid and we had to climb some 5 story flight of steps.

After the intro and get-to-know sessions, we were served asam pedas with goreng sayur and a dish of ikan terubuk masin. With Haida's husband, the imam of the masjid, we chatted for almost 3 hours topic ranging from politic to Islam, but mostly islamic.
I thought maybe today, the 3rd day in Aini's house, I take the 3 children to the public library here and read them some Japanese children story. Then, we might go for some light groceries to prepare for our trip to Niigata tomorrow.
Niigata is the hometown of Hani's in-law and the place where Aini's hubby study before. Well, I haven't been to Niigata before and going there would serve the 3 of us some good purpose.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

New kits-bunnies

Most people call baby rabbits as bunnies, that's what written in the dictionary but to be exact baby rabbits are called kits at birth, then before they are a year old, its changed to leveret. This is what I found out from some language expert but who would be bothered to change from kits to leveret. I take the easy way out, lets call them bunnies, internationally-understood.

Around March this year, we bought a buck and a doe, that's what you called a male and female rabbit. I mean, only if you turn the rabbit under and check for the reproductive instrument but would anyone bother with this? So, most people would just go for rabbits, not because they don't know what to call them but because they don't know the genitals.

Anyway, its 10 days today (see photo below) and the kits are growing beautiful, soft fur on their skin. At birth, their skin are mixture of dark or white, then came the fur which will follow the colour of their skin.

Anyway, the mother rabbit gave birth in an opened box with nothing at all. Otto was the first to see those kits. He was excited and warned everybody not to touch those kits for fear that with human smell on them, the mother might reject them and not be willing to feed them.
Most of the feedings are done in the night as I often go up the balcony to do my house laundry and haven't yet seen her feed the kits during the day.
Just for information, mother rabbits breast-feed their kits, just like humans females do.

Yesterday, the winds brought in some typhoon breeze that travelled to Taiwan bypassing this island. Eventhough the winds are not so strong, but still frequent with some little strength. It was bright and clear with that little strong breeze in the morning and Otto found out the rabbit box and kits was covered with shredded newspapers that we stocked on the balcony to collect their poos.
Otto questioned all of us about the newspapers and we all denied having done anything to do with it.
Then, in the afternoon the typhoon winds brought in some torrential downpours. Only after this downpours do we all realized that it was the mother rabbit that was doing the covering. The thing was, the mother rabbits knew the winds would bring in the torrential downpours. We, as humans with 5 senses, did not feel the downpours coming at all.
Some would call it animal instinct but I don't see it that way. I called is The Mercy and Rahmah of Allah SWT that give all animals the way to protect their youngs.

.: kits at 10 days old

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Some people said, "O Allah's Apostle! Meat is brought to us by some people and we are not sure whether the name of Allah has been mentioned on it or not (at the time of slaughtering the animals)." Allah's Apostle said (to them), "Mention the name of Allah and eat it."

Semalam saya menerima emel ini dari salah seorang saudara baru yang berkerja dalam pengkalan tentara Amerika. Emel ini bukan untuk saya sahaja tapi untuk semua yang telah dan sedang berkerja dalam pengkalan. Saya kira ada dalam 35 nama dalam senarai emel itu.

Sudah 4 tahun saya mengelakkan diri dari bermakan-makan di rumah kawan-kawan Islam yang tinggal dalam pengkalan. Tak suka makan bersama mereka sebab ada 2 garisan. Satu untuk saya dan orang-orang melayu lain dan satu lagi garisan untuk orang-orang dia.

Garisan itu dipandukan oleh hadis di atas.

Saya bukan pandai sangat berbahas mendalam tentang ugama. Saya juga pernah membaca hadis di atas itu, tapi tidaklah saya terus terjun dan makan daging orang kasi atau dijual di kedai-kedai merata.
Ada banyak lagi ayat-ayat dalam Qur'an yang menguatkan supaya kita makan daging bersembelih cara Islam tapi mereka dalam pengkalan mengambil hadis ini sebagai garis panduan untuk melantak tulang rusuk lembu macam harimau lahap.

Mereka bukan orang cacat mental atau banggang fikiran. Dan berdebat apa saja pun dengan mereka, mereka pasti menang.
Mereka orang pandai, pandai dari segi membaca dan menulis.

Jadi kalau mereka ingin membuat hadis ini sebagai garis-pandu makanan harian mereka, siapa boleh larang?
Lantaklah engkau...sebut aje nama Allah dan makanlah daging steak yang tebal berkilo-kilo, gong-gong rusuk lembu panggang berketul-ketul, stew ekor lembu berjela-jela.

Tapi tak perlu jemput saya sama...thanks but no thanks.