Today in Japan for 21 Sep ~ Climbing Mt Fuji

Today in 1886, Teiichi Igarashi was born. His claim to fame was at age 100, on Aug 2, 1987, he climbed Mt Fuji.

Red Fuji by AG2016

Climbing Mt Fuji is not an extreme ordeal. It's more like a gentle hike. It's not even very steep until the very end. Even so, many people who start the climb do end up turning back, most commonly because of altitude sickness, but sometimes other reasons. For a 100-year-old to make and finish that climb is an amazing accomplishment!

He made the climb with seven of his children and three of his grandchildren. He said he made the trip to honor his wife who died twelve years before.

His strategy for this climb was to stop for rest every three minutes. Also he didn't drink any water, but he ate raw eggs during each break. That's a lot of raw eggs...

When asked how he maintained such fitness at age 100, he said he woke at 6am, walked everyday for two hours, took an hour nap at lunch, and went to bed at 8pm. He also credited his daily meal which consisted of a bowl of rice with raw eggs, soy bean soup, a vegetables. He also credited giving up smoking at 96 and warned people not to fall into the habit.

As amazing as this climb was, it wasn't the first time. He had been climbing Mt Fuji every year since he turned 89. Maybe there's a lesson here. If you want to make it to 100 eat a lot of raw eggs and climb Mt Fuji every year!

Today is Senbu 先負, one of the rokuyō, the Buddhist horoscope. Senbu brings bad luck in the morning, but good luck in the afternoon! Sounds like an excuse to sleep-in today!

(Read more about the rokuyō here)

On the old calendar, today would have been the twenty-sixth day of the eighth month. It is The Swallows Leave (玄鳥去), the third and final microseason of Hakuro (白露).

This is when the swallows leave for the winter, flying to Southeast Asia and Australia. These birds are much loved in Japan and it is always sad when they leave for the winter.

Here's a haiku from Issa:

mata kitara waga ya wasure na yuku tsubame

when you come again
remember my house!
departing swallow

Swallow (tsubame) by itself is a season word (kigo) for Spring, as we think of their joyful arrival the most. But when we add a word speaking of their sorrowful departure, it becomes a kigo for autumn instead.

Here Issa is speaking of the folklore that suggests if swallows build their nest under the eaves of your farmhouse, it's very good luck.

Image by Elena from Pixabay

Have a great day everyone! May the swallows also find your house when they return in the spring!

Hi there! David LaSpina is an American photographer and translator lost in Japan, trying to capture the beauty of this country one photo at a time and searching for the perfect haiku.

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    I don't know what is the most impressive, the fact that he climbed up Mt Fuji at 100 carrying dozen (hundreds ? ) of eggs, or that his stomach was able to take this massive amount of raw eggs plus altitude without throwing them back !


    haha no doubt. I suppose all his kids and grandkids were assigned that job. How he was able to keep down so many raw eggs is the bigger question!