Monday, November 12, 2018

Japan 2018: A Journey of 165,000 Steps

Annamaria on Monday

According to the app on my phone, I walked 165,139 steps (67.2 miles) and climbed 70 flights of stairs in the thirteen days I spent in Japan in late October.   Roughly the equivalent of climbing to the top floor of Chrysler Building 

My favorite NYC building, BY FAR!

Or walking Times Square to Philadelphia 

Thanks to my vagabond nature, I have taken scores and scores of trips in my life.  For many, many reasons, the one from which I have just returned went straight into my pantheon of voyages.

Here are some favorite images from my time with Susan in her adopted country, were she introduced me to its beauties - both the artefacts of its culture and the natural beauty of its lands.

Created by mankind and Mother Nature
Some of people were exotic
Some looked 100% familiar to denizens of anywhere in 2018
Some were too cute to be believed 
Mother Nature's displays were all surpassingly beautiful.
The artefacts of the popular culture range from astonishing...
(This the back of the driver's seat in an ordinary taxi??) surpassingly cute... LOL bizarre uses of American pop cultural ideas.  Look at what it says
under the red swatch.
One of the first places we visited, I have to admit, made me envious.  Tokyo has a historical museum with accurate dioramas of the time period Susan writes about.  How I wish I could see the times and places that I write about so presented.   BUT!  Then there is the fact that the town, the people, and especially the bridge that I saw in the museum were familiar to me.  I would have recognized them even if Susan had not pointed them out.  You know why?  I had read her books.  And her prose descriptions made me see them clearly and remember them.  A picture may be worth a thousand words.  But Susan's writing is worth a thousand pictures. 

I have proved to myself that I can get in and out of a Medieval sedan chair. 

Owls in captivity

Fish too
We visited many shrines and temples.  I had several to show as a group.  But Google Blogger in its typical unhelpful behavior shuffled them into its own idea of the right order.  It's nearly midnight in NYC and tomorrow in Tokyo. This blog is due to launch in minutes.  So here are two favorite temple pictures with more to follow.

We sailed across a lake in a pirate ship, sort of.

Stunning is only word to describe the iconic mountain.  Here are some of the hundred or so photos I took of it while entranced.

Susan told me that the cycle-shaped trail you see on the left of the snow cap
is the trail she took when she summited this splendid peak
 After seeing Fuji two days in a row, I could not help imagining that the beauty and simplicity of the Japanese aesthetic evolved and was inspired by the surpassing splendor of this most beautiful of mountains.  Look at these temple roofs.  What do you think?

Fuji, day two of viewing--at sunset

I took a lot of pictures of Susan taking pictures.

I made it to the top of three of Susan's 100 summits and about 80% of the way on the fourth.  What a privilege this whole trip was.  With Susan as the best of all possible guides, it was much more than a tour.  It was a master's degree class, a love-fest, and blast.

 Here is a snippet of the kind of introductions she gave me.

 There's more.  Stay tuned.


  1. Wow, how on earth did you ever leave??? Thanks for sharing, AmA (and Susan), beautiful.

    1. From Annamaria: parting wasn’t easy, EvKa. But I came home psyched to plan - in a year and a half or so - to return the favor and take Susan to Florence!

  2. Thank you so, so much for coming and visiting and hiking with me. I treasure the time we had together - and loved being able to share the journey with you. Every time I see the spectacular peak of Fuji, I remember that I saw it with you first :)

    1. No, thank YOU, Susan. Our days are indelibly imprinted in my memory. You had conquered Fuji. My showing up after you climbed opened the mountain to you. And then we had those two days of basking in the sight of it. Worship is not too strong a word for what seeing it in person inspired in me.

      And we can still have our long text chats, even from this distance. :))

  3. You're better than Boswell to Johnson... a literal King to Spann all things Japan.