UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and is a specialized agency of the United Nations.
Described by many as the symbol of Japan, it is purported to be 3,776 meters (12,389 feet) high, and is supposed to be a snow-capped peaked volcano that even the non-Japanese recognize as being one of Japan's most recognizable sights - along with geisha, sumo wrestlers, ninja and samurai.
Although I know that samurai once existed (having been killed by one in a past life), have seen and been sweated on by living sumo wrestlers, have seen a documentary on geisha (when is that being released to the world, Ken?), I never expected to see ninja until I am dead... that's how you know these secret society of deadly assassins exists.
(I'm only kidding about that past life thing, though perhaps not about the ninja.)
But Mt. Fuji? The so-called symbol of Japan... made famous by ukiyo-e artists, poets et al... I'm still not convinced it exists and thus throw poo-poo at the suggestion of UNESCO's world heritage status.
I simply don't believe that Mt. Fuji exists.
In three plus years of existential existence in Japan, I never saw it even once. I even sought it out - but no... it remains shrouded in mystery.
Is it really possible that of the 75 times I physically attempted to view the mystical mountain that I should be stymied?
Could the weather really block my view? Sure it could... five times... 10 times... maybe even 50 times... but 75 stinking times?
How could it always be conveniently foggy, rainy, snowy, cloudy, misty or nighty?
Look... from the volcanic mountains in my backyard of Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken about 10 kilometers away... I have driven up there, taken a bus to the base, taken an aerial car to the top, and even have physically hiked up the side of this steam-spewing monstrosity to impress my girlfriend... all to gain access to the peak to view the view...
And from this peak, I have been told that I should be able to look south and to the west a bit and see this magical mountain called Fuji-san... but no... despite it being sunny where I am, "Mt. Fuji" is always "shrouded in weather" about 150 kilometers away.
Am I looking in the proper direction? No less than Matthew - a gaijin who is more Japanese than most Japanese I know (I don't know a lot of Japanese anymore, but back in the 1990s, I sure did), and my girlfriend Noboko both bade me to shell out some coin top look through the Super Binoculars upon the peak of Mt. Nasu... and take a gander.
Silly goose that I am, I agreed, paid money to the machine, which in my mind said: "Oishi - domo arigato, gaijin-san (Delicious - thank you very much Mister Gaijin)," and then showed me a vast area of cloud cover.
Lo and behold - cloud.
Other times, I traveled to towns right in front of it - also with Matthew... also with Noboko... also with my Board of Education Office... also with... no, that was about it... but there I was... right at the supposed foot of "Mt. Fuji" - and on each occasion I had cause to look up, and and saw beautiful, majestic grey 'sky'.
On many, many occasions, I traveled past the mountain's supposed location via slow train and bullet train. I did so with Matthew, Trish, Ashley a few times... Noboko... and even a few times by myself... and, unless Mt.Fuji looks like grey mist, then I don't see what the hubbub was/is about.
Never saw it. I don't believe it exists.
All of you who claim to have not only seen it, photographed it and even climbed it, I put it to you that you have all been drugged and snookered by Japan's Tourist Board... but you are not alone... now UNESCO has been, too.
Heritage site? I lack the sight...
It's just bad luck, Andrew... that's all it is. That's what the voices say. Damn voices!
(To those of you who actually hear voices - I apologize for my insensitivity.)
(No, he doesn't!)
Well... it's true that I earned the name Ame-Otoko (Rain Man) (or Candy Man depending on which Kanji was being used) whenever I traveled about Japan... a fricking rain cloud would follow like I was some Bad Luck Schleprock... but come on... it was sunny where I was when I went up the Nasu Mountain...
Man... maybe I should become a magician like my buddy Vince...
Sure... it should be bloody easy. I could make Mt. Fuji disappear simply by stating I was going to look at it. Let's see Copperfield do that! Alakazam!
Oh... check out the photos... what Mt. Fuji?
PS: As a nod to the old days, allow me to present The Pink Floyd: