We woke up at 4:30am after sleeping at 12:30am. I woke up remembering our evening bath at the public bath (yes, you shower in your birthday suit with a roomful of other strangers also in their birthday suits....then you all get into a giant tub and soak..).Separate rooms for men and women. We packed our bags. We were fortunate enough to get a chance to leave anything we didn’t want to travel with at the temple, to pick up later. We left the temple at 6am and took 3-4 different trains to the fish market. It was the cleanest fish market I have ever been to. You could close your eyes and actually forget that you were in a fish market. It didn’t have any fishy smells. We walked around a bit then finally got into one of the restaurants to eat sushi and sashimi. That was honestly the most delicious, freshest sushi and sashimi I have tasted in my life. It was so unfortunate though that we were running late and had to finish that breakfast and my beer in a rush to make it in time for our bus to Mount Fuji. We had a crazy rush to get to our bus. The backpacks we were carrying plus the fact that we had slept for only 4 hours and been up and about from 4:30am made the rush even more frantic. At the different train stations, we were running up and down stairs with our ginomous backpacks. Finally we got on our 3 hour bus to Mt. Fuji. I slept for almost 2 hours of that journey.
The plan at Mt. Fuji was to rent bicycles and go on a 1 hour scenic ride round the lake by the mountain – 3.3kms. The view was so beautiful from the moment we got there. I only learnt how to ride a bicycle in early 2016 and my cycling endeavors to date had been limited to the office parking lot and the backyard of our house. This was essentially going to be my first time riding my bicycle in the real world. Starting is always the hardest. I have a good 10 seconds where it looks as if I have equal probability of ending up flat on the ground as of actually getting the bike to pick up speed. Once I do confirm that I am moving, I freak out when I move too fast. I freak out when I see a stone in my path. I freak out when I see a slightly downhill path ahead. I freak out when I see a couple pushing a pram slowly in front of me. I freak out when a dog stands in my path. In short, I am an amazing rider if I am alone on a completely flat course with no unexpected events e.g. a leaf falling off a tree. Yep!
So the group started off. It was great to be cycling with people as I instantly felt that I cannot let it be seen just how rudimentary my cycling skills were. I had to prove that I did not need to employ my flintstones way of stopping the bike with my feet. Yes, I know how to use my brakes. I needed to prove that I didn’t need to walk my bicycle down inclines. I could ride and put just the right amount of pressure on the brakes to ensure I didn’t speedily go tumbling to my death at the base of a cherry tree.
Eventually I lost track of the group cause I decided to go at my pace (a snail’s pace.) I actually had a wonderful ride. The track itself was beautiful – extremely scenic. Babies on strollers crossing the path were few and far in between. I got lost and ended up going round the course 1.5 times – without falling once. I was extremely proud of myself.
We still had a bit of time by Mt. Fuji. I joined everyone else at the resort. They had been extremely welcoming – storing our giant backpacks for free, letting us use the wifi. We then took a bus to get us to the train station in which we would get on the world’s fastest train – the Shinkansen.
The day was only halfway done, but we had already had lots of adventures!