OPERATION: DOWNFALL (The Invasion of Japan for Otaku Purposes [aka ODTIJOP])


Mt Fuji 5th Camp!!

That guy in the back in the wheelchair, I swear that I saw him get up and carry it across the gravel to where he is in this picture.


Mehve is a Tengu

Mehve is a Tengu. That is all.


Mt Fuji 5th Camp!!

And then the fog started rolling in again. It came in like a drape pulled across a window. It was unreal.


Mt Fuji 5th Camp!!

This ain't no moon landing. I can prove that I was at Fuji on 10/19/2011. Hello Kitty has my back. And apparently I was at 3776 meters in altitude, which is about 76,000 feet. Which means it was time for a drink.


Mt Fuji erupts

Oh shit! Oh shit! Fuji's erupting! Death to ALL! We're DOOOOMED! DOOOOOOOMED!

I like how the chick on the right was just staring at me the whole time I was posing for this picture. We took like 3 shots, and she was in all of them, just looking at me like that.


Mt Fuji Horses

There were horses at the 5th Fuji camp. I wanted to jump on one and strike a Lone Ranger pose.


Mt Fuji 5th Camp!!

But then they went for the goodies and, well, that was not worth the risk. And I didn't have a cowboy hat, a gun, and a mask on me either. So there really was no point.


Mt Fuji 5th Camp view!!

Check that view out. Fuji-san, you are a pretty cool volcanic mountain of potential death and destruction for all. The clouds are below us. Awesome.


Mt Fuji 5th Camp!!Mehve and I took about 50 shots each at the 5th base, and eventually wandered back to the bus after I couldn't steal a horse. After that we all piled back into our tour vehicle again and flew down the mountain like Dennis Hopper wired our bus to explode if it ever went under 80MPH.

We drove into the heavy mist again to some small town near the foot of Mt. Fuji, and we had a pretty good lunch at a sushi restaurant (where we met and sat with a father/daughter duo from Utah) before Fish-san started losing his shit over the fact that we were behind schedule, and something terrible (and he meant that... something fucking terrible) would happen to him if his bosses found out that he could not keep us to the time-frame set up for him. Mehve and I thought he'd be forced to go on one of those crotch-punchingly painful Japanese game shows (where they force the "contestant" to do things like hooking up a car battery to their nipples and testicles if they answered a question incorrectly) if we missed a point in the tour due to dilly-dallying too long in one place. It was also around this time that Mehve and I both noticed that Fish-san's voice was starting to sound very rough. Like he was coming down with a bad cold. We then both started to hold our breath when we were near him and prayed that we didn't catch his apparent flu or Captain Trips, or whatever it was.

Everybody was hustled back onto the bus after eating, and we drove up and down and around lots of smaller mountains until we swerved around one peak, straight down towards a pretty big long lake that reminded me of Lake Alkali. There wasn't any fog where we were at the time, and we had a great view of the dark lake and about a half a dozen riverboats sitting at the dock on our side of the water. At least one of them was a goddamn pirate ship.

I turned to Mehve with a look of "Holy fucking shit, that is awesome!" plastered on my face, but he just shook his head and said, "Rossman, I highly doubt that we're going to take a lake tour near Mt. Fuji in Japan on a fucking pirate ship. Just lower your expectations now, for both our sakes." I didn't. I held out hope, even as we veered away from the lake and were dropped off at the gondola ride up a neighboring peak.

As the bus pulled up to the cable-car lift station, Fish-san rushed our group to the entrance of the ride mere seconds before a group of elementary school students ran up the line. There were like 4 buses of the noisy little pricks, and we all sighed a huge relief when they started cramming us into the floating boxes ahead of them.

Fuji lunch

Lunch was tasty, but quick. We were on a schedule and Fish-san didn't want to fall behind or they'd repossess his kids... Though I don't know if that would be a good or a bad thing judging by how he smiled when he told us of that penalty.


Hakone cable car madness

These kids on their field trip... Sooooo loud. And their hats were sooooo yellow. Luckily Fish-san moved us along quickly, and at least our gondola car didn't have any of them on with us.


Hakone cable car madness

And here's a Hakone gondola car..... Majestic as fuck, no?


Hakone cable car madness

And here's me getting slightly nervous as we climbed higher and higher on a pretty thin piece of cable, quite a distance above the trees and bears that lingered below, just waiting for us to drop to our deaths so that they could eat our livers and pick their teeth with our bones. Goddamn bears.


Now, it's at this point that I can remember that I was in kind of a dark mood that day. I don't remember for the life of me just what my pissiness was about, but I was miffed about something and had been kind of giving Mehve the silent treatment for a while. So as we rode up the mountain looking down at the lake below and the cloudy horizon where Fish-san said Mt. Fuji lie, I was in an inexplicably grey mood... Not to mention my acrophobia was really kicking in and I was getting really nervous. But as I stared out my side window in quiet bitchiness Mehve tapped my shoulder and started saying, "Rossman. Rossman! Look!" while pointing out the back of the gondola. And there, in the distance, the clouds had parted in the afternoon light, and almost like a spirit-fog displaying Brigadoon they revealed Mt. Fuji in all its iconic awesomeness!

Everyone in the cable car with us (including Fish-san) pulled out their cameras and started taking pictures until the small window of opportunity closed when the clouds rolled in again, taking away our Fuji from sight. That's when I smiled hugely, held up my thumb and said, "Nice-u catch-u!" Then half the gondola repeated my sentiments to Mehve in the exact same Engrish terminology. It was goddamn hilarious to hear elderly Japanese people say "Hai! Nice-u catch-u!" to an American Jamaican Chinese guy who didn't speak a lick of Japanese. That seemed to have broken my funk too, and the rest of the day was much more lighthearted and enjoyable for me and I hope for Mehve.

Fuji view

Fujis in the mist! It was a pretty spectacular and majestic view!


Hakone cable car madness

Then Mehve and I took separate shots of each other with Fuji in the background. I guess Mehve is more scared of heights than I am.


The top of the mountain that the sky-hook took us too was a lame little touristy place... An odd lame touristy place that shared the peak with some strip mining activity. They had a bunch of Hello Kitty photo ops, some fake gondola photo ops, a strange gift shop selling black boiled eggs because the region was known for black eggs because Japan and because the place smelled bad I guess... And right outside the gift shop was a destroyed half of a mountain — deforested and shredded in a way that reminded me of Lady Eboshi's operation in Mononoke Hime. It was really sad to see, and the whole place stunk of sulfur too. It was supposed to be the hot spring capital of Japan, I suppose (I just made that up. It might be for reals though, I don't know), but overpowering sulfur smell is still overpowering sulfur smell.

After a little bit more sightseeing (and FINALLY seeing Mt. Fuji in all its majestic glory off in the distance when the clouds cleared away for a real hard good look at the thing), we boarded the bus (which met us at the top of the mountain) for one last adventure on this tour.

By this time Fish-san sounded like the frog in his throat was being murdered by a porcupine whose quills were destroying what little flesh was left in his voicebox. He sounded godawful. He spent the short trip down the mountain rasping into the microphone about how the lake we were going to go to next was probably polluted, and how he wondered if the youth of Japan would ever pull their shit together and start becoming valuable members of society. He found he had no reason to believe that they would, and he thought Japan would probably crumble from the inside allowing China to infiltrate and destroy their society once and for all.

Hakone Soft drink Machines

There was no escaping the soft drink machines. Even here, at the top of a mountain that had no real tourist-trappy designs besides a decent view of Mount Fuji on clear days, there were plenty of soft drink machines.


Hakone mountain strip mining

This picture doesn't even show you just how bad this mountain has been gutted. It's an absolute Japanesey mess. And yet this is still a big tourist spot. Weird.


Me and the boar from Mononoke Hime

Hindsight is 20/20, and boars are apparently pretty dumb. His attempts to stop Lady Eboshi's plans were not all that well thought out.

My new friend then told me that even though he didn't speak English too well at the time, that was him in Game of Thrones when they needed a boar to gut King Robert. He is a versatile actor!


Me and Fuji… Fuji and I? Whichever.

And then the winds picked up and I FINALLY got a shot of both me and the iconic Fuji silhouette. I was amazed.


Me and Hello Kitty and her eggy friend

Hello Kitty then introduced me to her friend, African American Egg-san. This was a mistake as I was starving. Once I gave Hello Kitty a taste of her friend's brain she said something like "Oishii!... I shall never eat anything other than egg brains again." Then she pounced off to hunt down the rest of Egg-san's family. He had a wife, 3 children, and a grandmother all living with him. God rest their souls.


Hello Kitty and Bukkake Bunny

Fun fact: Hello Kitty is older than you thought! Here is one of the original prints of Hello Kitty and Bukkake Bunny by legendary Takamachi Boro inked in the Azuchi-Momoyama period.

Notice the writing? That's a word balloon where Hello Kitty is asking her friend if she's going to the Emperor's "pantsless party" on Saturday. I guess that we are just to assume that the Bunny's answer will be "Hai!"


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