Monday, April 13, 2015

Fuji Fiasco

Well . . . ya win some and ya lose some.

I booked a one-day tour to Mt. Fuji, thinking it would be the highlight of my trip to Tokyo.  It turned out to be the trip to hell and back.

Frustration Number One:  The bus picked me up at my hotel and then continued on to three other hotels before dumping me at the bus terminal where I fought my way into a line to purchase the right tour.  Finally started driving out of Tokyo two hours later.  All elated at my first glimpse of Fujisan (the pictures above) taken from inside the bus.  Thought to myself:  Okay, this is cool.  Get to see the countryside a bit.  It's cloudy, but there she is!  Relax, girl.  Everything will be all right.

Frustration Number Two:  The 15-minute bus stop at the Visitor's Center.  Fifteen minutes?  Are you kidding me?  There's a World Heritage Site Museum here.  And there's a long line at the bathroom.  But, okay.  There's Mt. Fuji.  A little closer and not inside a bus.  Still sort of cool.
Because I'm the last one on the bus and we are now a little behind schedule, I get a few nasty glares.  But I couldn't NOT go through the woodblock exhibit.  After all, this iconic mountain has inspired artists in Japan for centuries!  And this room was filled with beautiful, colorful prints.  Prettier than the mountain itself!  At least, today.
Frustration Number Three:  It begins to snow.  By the time we get up to the 4th station, a full-on blizzard blocks Mt. Fuji completely.  But I start to laugh.  Everyone is taking their selfie in front of a white backdrop.  Fujisan is out there somewhere!  It's cold.  Where's the bus?  I panic.  There are twenty buses and they all look the same!  HELP!!!
Beyond frustration:  Find my bus.  Not the last one on this time.  My seatmate arrives with a hot can of cocoa.  She's so happy.  Has me feel the can.  Yep!  It's warm, all right.  We take off.  The road is long and very very windy.  My seatmate throws up.

Arrive at hotel for lunch.  My mom-mode kicks in.  Get the poor girl (and myself) all cleaned up.  But have lost appetite.  My food goes untouched.

 But, there she is again.  I get one last look of Mt. Fuji before she disappears for the rest of the day.
I think to myself:  Maybe we can go back to Tokyo now.  I can take a hot bath and order some warm sake from room service.  But, oh no.  Our perky tour guide tells us that even though the Ropeway is closed, she is taking us to an aquarium.

"I like fish," I hear someone say.  Now it was my turn to glare.

"And good news.  We can still make the last boat ride before we head back to Tokyo."  Her optimism fails to penetrate.  It is pouring rain.  You can't see a damn thing.

Normally I have a great capacity to enjoy the moment no matter what.  I tried hard.  I really did.  I got through the next couple of hours with a resigned attitude.  Yeah.  Yeah.  I like fish, too.  I even got my sense of humor back when the guide pointed out the red torii gate on the lake and all you could see was thick fog.

But I confess, I lost it when we finally got back on the bus.  Tokyo was only 100 km away.  The day was almost over.  "So sorry," our guide got up and said.  "Big traffic jam.  It will take four more hours."

  The bus drops us off at the Ginza Metro Station at 9 p.m.  I find my way back to the hotel even though I am cold, tired, stiff, and very very hungry.

 I order myself a warm sake.  And then another.


  1. Oh dear, a fiasco for sure. And the sick seatmate would really have tipped me over the edge. Yuck!
    But the art is beautiful!

    1. I can laugh about it now, but it was truly a miserable experience.