Today was devoted to Mount Tsukuba. The Japanese refer to their mountains by calling them Tsukuba-san, or Fuji-san, which translated into english roughly means Mr. Tsukuba or Ms. Fuji. It makes the mountains seem very friendly. The mountain treated us very well, and I appreciated his hospitality. 

Ben wanted to climb the entire mountain, but I wanted to stay behind and watch the monkey show. Luckily Akihide, Ben’s friend, was up for climbing the mountain, so we both got to do what we wanted. The hike up took them about 70 minutes, and it was apparently very steep. I had a lovely, peaceful day all by myself.

I am so glad that I watched the monkey show, it was really funny. The monkeys did magic tricks! The monkeys also had very good manners, and would bow every time the trainer would say arigato (thank you).

Frog Slime Salesman

I met many interesting people today. People seemed to find me very approachable. There was a frog slime salesman, who told me that Sakura are very exciting because they come only for one week, although the plum blossoms are very beautiful, they are not as fleeting, so they are not as celebrated. I am now thoroughly amped up for the sakura to blossom, I’m excited for the blossoms themselves, the festivals, and the warm weather.

Tsukuba-san is a unique mountain in Japan. Unlike most mountains in Japan which were formed from volcanoes, Tsukuba-san is made of non-volcanic rocks, this makes the 
plant life, and geology unique, and looks more like the environment of Colorado.

Tsukuba has two peaks, one is male, and one is female, together the peaks are considered a loving couple, and ascending the mountain with ones spouse is supposed to bring marital joy, and conjugal bliss. This couple are the gods that united to give birth to Japan, and many other gods. (Check out the shinto creation myth.)

Near the beginning of the world, a deity descended from the heavens and asked Fuji-san and Tsukuba-san if she could spend the night. Fuji-san with her great summit, perfect cone, and lovely skirt (the clouds surrounding Mt. Fuji) refused, she believed that she did not need the deity’s blessing. Tsukuba-san, welcomed the deity, and offered her food and water. To this day Fuji-san is barren, and bears no fruits, while Tsukuba bursts with vegetation, and the colors of the changing seasons.

Tsubasan’s beautiful changing seasons.
Tsukuba Shrine

Tsukuba has a shrine that is centuries old. A monk, in the 15th century, named Koyo-shonin used the grease from toads to cure the injuries and wounds of the warriors, who were frequently at war in the area. It has recently been chemically proven that the ingredients of toad’s grease are effective for injuries. They are now found in some main stream medications. 

Washing station
Daffodils on the mountain.