During my first summer in Japan, I had the opportunity to climb Mt. Fuji. Most foreigners in Japan seem to want to try that. I was quite interested in it.
So, on July 31st, 2005, I and 4 other teachers left Shinjuku in Tokyo on a bus to the 5th stage of Mt. Fuji. It’s halfway up the mountain and the highest point that vehicles can travel.
We started our climb at 10pm and planned to arrive at the summit in time to see the sunrise. It was dark, so we needed lights. There was a line of lights all the way to the top, hundreds of other climbers. While it was dark, the thing that amazed me was the night view. Not only could we see city lights, but the sky was very clear and thousands of stars were visible. My first “Wow” moment was when I saw the Milky Way very clearly. I’d never seen it before. Absolutely beautiful!
By the time we reached the top, the sun was rising. That’s my second “Wow” moment. It was amazing to see from the top of Japan. At the top, we rested, at ramen, looked at the crater, and finally headed down. What amazed me then was how red the mountain was. “Wow” number three was for how it looked like pictures from Mars.
We arrived back at the 5th stage around 10 am, feeling very sore, tired and hungry.
And you know what? I really want to climb it again.
Have you ever tried fishing on the ocean? I’ve done it many times with my grandfather and dad. My grandparents lived on Vancouver Island, and we often went fishing for salmon whenever we visited them. Sometimes we caught plenty of fish, while other times, we caught nothing. One time, we went back after catching only some seaweed. Most of the time, we spent our time just watching our fishing rods bouncing as we went over the waves, as well as watching the sonar to see if there were any fish down there. If we were close to the shore, we sometimes saw seals. But there was one very special time.
It was just like any other time that we went fishing. We weren’t catching many fish, but it was fairly relaxing. I don’t recall how old I was, but probably when I was in junior high school. The weather was calm and the waves were small. I remember that I was looking north when we saw the fin. And then another and another and another. They weren’t just to the north, they were to the south as well. And east. And west! They were all around us! It was a pod of resident killer whales. They were swimming to the southwest, closer to shore. They were probably following some salmon, which is also what we were looking for. The moment we realised that we were surrounded by a pod of killer whales, I had to say “Wow!” That was a remarkable experience.
Everyone has those moments when you suddenly say or think “Wow!” Sometimes it’s obviously amazing, while other times, it can appear quite mundane. With this post, I’m starting a little “Wow!” moment series to talk about some of my moments.
The first is quite ordinary, and maybe some people may think it’s boring. But this happened while I was watching the Westminster Dog Show, which is the biggest dog show in North America. I like dogs, and I always enjoyed watching dog shows. When I was a kid, I was fascinated by the differences between the various breeds, and dog shows were one way to see them all. I had books about the breeds, as well. I read them several times, I’m pretty sure.
I was watching the dog show on TV with my mom, as we often did every year, and the Sporting Group was having its turn. They were to choose the winner of this group, so it could move on to the final group to determine Best in Show. As the dogs were parading around, we saw this one dog that made us say “Wow” at the same time. That doesn’t happen often. What we saw was a Weimaraner, a gun dog that was developed in Germany and is known for its distinctive mouse-grey colour. This particular Weimaraner was beautiful. It was elegant. It was athletic. It ran with so much poise that we were in awe. That’s never happened to me before. I was impressed by a dog that was simply running. Unfortunately, it didn’t win the group, but it was one of the top choices in the Sporting Group.