Today's awesomeness started with driving to Mount Fuji. After we parked the bus, we had 45 minutes to hike as far up as we could. There were a couple kids on the trip that made it higher than me, but I made it higher than any of the adults. My goal was to make it to cloud level... to where I was surrounded by the clouds. I accomplished that goal! The thing that really drains you when you're climbing up is house thick the gravel can be. It's obviously steep, but when you add in gravel, it's just draining! Other than that, it's a really spiritual experience. When you pause for a moment, it's so quiet... the clouds are swirling around you, and it's so much cooler than below the clouds. It was well worth the climb!
We went straight from there to a crater lake that was unusual in that it's not circular. I guess there were three different craters close enough that they combined into one larger lake. We took a boat across, and it was really pretty. I finally had an opportunity to use the straps on my hat My beard hasn't blown that much before, so that was kinda interesting.
Before leaving that location, we went to another shrine. This was, unsurprisingly, super pretty too. It was pretty deep in the forest on the side of the mountain. It had a really large cedar tree that is meant to provide blessing of fertility. I made sure to stay away from it.
We roamed and got lunch in this same area before leaving. I finally got my favorite noodle type... soba. It was a chicken curry soba bowl that was really delicious. It was so large that I couldn't even finish it though.
We made another stop off at a little place to grab so random snacks for our upcoming bullet train ride. The guide told the story of the evolution of the bullet trains, and that they current one is said to be the "Speed of hope!" I don't know about that, but I sure know that it's a blood fast train!
Finally we arrived in Kyoto. The hotel is pretty neat... it's got a manga theme, so there's weird characters everywhere. The room itself is really small, but still pretty neat. It's got a giant drawing staring you in the face when you walk in, and the bed is on a raised platform.
We're finally getting a little chance to do laundry, so while my kid watched the clothes, I went hunting for a bar to get a quick drink. I found a TINY little bar/restaurant that was no wider than 10 feet across. There was a couple there eating, it seemed packed with just us three. I got into a fun conversation with the guy who seemed to own the place, and the couple eating. They were asking were I was from, so we looked it up on a map. One of the people dining there has a perfect Australian accent when she spoke in English... it seems very strange to hear. Most Japanese people obviously have a Japanese accent when they speak English, but as soon as she spoke any English, it was REALLY strong Australian. I mentioned this, and she said she spent a lot of time in Australia when she was young, and that's where she learned English. Anyway, it was a good time, and I really love random encounters like that.
I have no idea what's planned for tomorrow, but I'm sure it'll be fun!