On my way…..

Everything is packed and am waiting at the Ottawa airport to catch my flight from Ottawa to Toronto. If there is anything I forgot, it is too late now. Did my three point check, passport, check, plane ticket, check, VISA card, check. If I forgot anything at this stage I can always buy it in Japan.

Had a good last day at work. We had a nice team lunch to see off one of our co-workers. Usually it can be hectic trying to make sure things are in order and caught up before leaving. However, it was a manageable day and I know things are in good hands, as usual.

On the drive to the airport Masa broke the news that it looks like typhoon 18, which is passing close to Japan, will mean we will probably have rain the first 3 or 4 days. Well, it will be a good way to toughen us up and see how well our preparations and gear choice works.

On the drive to the airport was one of the most beautiful sunrise I had seen in awhile. It reminded me of the beautiful sunrise when I was in Nova Scotia recently after my mother came out of the hospital. I always get pre-trip jitters thinking of last minute things. However, the sunrise had a calming effect, as if saying, “calm down everything will be alright”. The sunrise only lasted about 5 minutes, but even Masa commented it was giving me a nice send off. I tried to take a photo, but my camera doesn’t do it justice.

Packed Ready To Go

Two days to go before I leave for Japan. I did a test run of packing my pack and it weighs in at 14 pounds. Not too bad. I might make some adjustments tomorrow night before I head out Friday. Here is picture of my stuff before I packed it in individual zip lock bags.

Getting those last minute  jitters wondering what I am forgetting. 

Trip to Nova Scotia

I ended up taking a trip to Nova Scotia to help my mother recover from a hip replacement operation. Amazing what they can do these day, even though you are 83 years old. While waiting for her to get out of the recovery room after the operation, I decided to get a tea at Tim Hortons and go sit in the Camp Hill garden next door to the Halifax Infirmary. It brought back fond memories of taking dad to the garden in a wheelchair while he was there.

I found the memorial plaque with his name on it that we arranged after his passing and took a photo of it.

It was nice to sit peacefully in the garden on a nice sunny day waiting.


I stayed at a wonderful AirBnB last night. It was so peaceful and quiet, set in a beautiful valley near Higashi Agano station.

Went for supper with my hosts Tetsu and Stewart at an onsen. It was nice to relax my sore muscles from the Mt Fuji climb. They had a salt scrub sauna , which I enjoyed.

The next day, after a wonderful breakfast outside, they drove me to Kawagoe. A town with buildings and architecture dating back to the Edo period. Here are a few photos.

Outside one of the buildings, on the way to Penny Candy Lane, there was an interesting statue.

While I was looking at a washroom, back at the train station, I came across a 100 yen shop and was able to pick up a candle/insense box Bob can use during the pilgrimage.

Afterwards it was nice to relax at Starbucks at the Kawagoe train station and have a matcha latte grande hotto, before catching my train back to Ueno, where I am staying the last two nights.

All and all, a beautiful last couple of days.

Mt Fuji

Yesterday I completed my two day climb up Mt Fuji to see the morning sunrise. It was a hard climb up and down, however, it was spectacular. What s feeling when you climb above the clouds and look down at them.

It was kind of training for my Shikoku pilgrimage in October. We climbed to the 8th station the first day, where we had supper and headed off early to bed at the hut.

We were up at 2 am for the final climb to the 3776 meter level to see the sunrise. It was a hard climb in the dark and with the lack of oxygen it was hard breathing. Our entire group made it to the top. I couldn’t get good pictures on my smartphone of the sunrise, but the picture memory in my mind will stay with me forever.

Just as the sun was rising, there was a loud rumble. Our hiking guide was concerned of being an avalanche, but he said it was only a rock slide into the crater. It was like Mt Fuji was just thanking us to honor her in this time honoured Japanese tradition.

As we hiked around the crater after the sunrise at one point there was a perfect shadow of Mt Fuji. It was awe inspiring.

After walking around the crater, we hiked down to the hut we slept at for breakfast. The descent down was difficult as the trail was steep switchbacks with loose lava rock gravel. I slipped and fell 4 times. It was a good test of my pants, proved the importance of wearing gloves and having a walking stick for support. I wasn’t the only one falling.

To think I made it to the top was definitely an accomplishment for me. I can say I have never climbed to 3776 meters before for sure. Another thing off my bucket list.