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The Unprepared and Mount Fuji

A brief tale: shortly after my second year at Oxford, I got invited on a camping trip by some of my friends. We'd go punting up the Cherwell, moor the boats on a bankside, make a campfire and... well, mainly sit around drinking and looking at the stars. Not a bad evening, actually.

My stuff was packed in boxes waiting to be shipped home or put into storage, so I asked my friends if they had sufficient supplies. "Oh, yeah," said J., "Sure." They had sleeping backs, blankets, and we'd stop off and get food...

What we actually got was soft drinks and a lot of wine. No one had brought a flashlight. Our bed equipment consisted of two sleeping bags, a long overcoat, and a curtain that had gotten wet in the bottom of the punt. And all this for five people. The most useful thing brought along, actually, was a bayonet, which ended up functioning as stake, axe, cooking implement, and occasionally dinner utensil. Really, bayonets seem much more versatile implements than you might expect. Do not ask why anyone would bring a bayonet camping. Preparation for unexpected attack of the Napoleonic Hordes, I suppose.

Anyway, that was my night spent shivering in a wet curtain, lying on a bed of nettles. I mention this because tomorrow I'm going to attempt a climb of Mt. Fuji. For this kind of trip they normally propose a jacket, a flashlight, and many other pieces of equipment which I lack. Some of these I'll buy, but for many I intend to simply 'make do': instead of a jacket, it's layers of shirts and pants. My quickly-deteriorating shoulder pack in which I normally carry my computer will cover for a real rucksack.

Thankfully, while I may not be the strongest or the quickest thing around, I've inherited my father's persistence. With a walking stick in my hand, a flashlight in the other, and my pack on my back, I'm confident I'll make it to the top if all it takes is the persistent slinging of one foot in front of the other.

Mt. Fuji has the highest post-office in Japan at its summit, so some postcards are getting mailed Sunday morning. What it does not have in profusion, however, is net access, so you may not see me until I've pictures of sunrise from the summit.


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"Really, bayonets seem much more versatile implements than you might expect." Military analyst and former wargame guru (founder of Simulation Publications, Inc. and longtime publisher of Strategy and Tactics back in the salad days of board wargaming) said as much in his How To Make War; basically bayonets are used for just about everything but killing people.
Can't wait to see the photos!! Please post some of them here. This is so cool, so exciting! I've seen Mt. Fuji, but never had the opportunity (ok, or the desire) to climb it. What an awesome summer you're having!

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