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09 September 2011

Moving Mountains

By Stacy

As Marvin Gaye so aptly sings, “Ain’t no mountain high enough” indeed describes my experience or inexperience during my adventure climb up Mount Fuji on 26 & 27 August 2011.

As some may already know, this mountain climb is part of AirAsia X’s Altitude X project whereby we are proud to partner up with this amazing guy (in my books he possesses secret super powers), Swee Chiow on his quest of scaling 8 of the highest peaks within AirAsia X’s network namely China (He is the only South East Asian to have climbed Everest 3 times!!!), London, Paris, Iran, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand.

As part of my job perks (challenge) in AirAsia X, I packed my bags along with my not so fit self and followed adventurer Swee Chiow, our social media contest winners and my CEO Azran Osman-Rani who took time of his hectic schedule on our mission to scale Mount Fuji.

So back to the adventure story….It started off with a warm welcome ceremony by the Yamanashi Prefectural Government who also kindly sponsored our mountain hut stay up Mount Fuji. During the trip, we were joined by delegates from Peru and not forgetting the mountain guides who made sure we did not fall off any cliff!

Top: (From L-R) Welcome ceremony represented by Mr Masao Goto the Director General for
International Affairs Tourism Department, Yamanashi Prefectural Government.
Bottom: All smiles; our social media contest winners to climb Mount Fuji, Kay Weng and Gina

Equipped with my mom’s sports shoes which were deemed unsuitable for mountain climbing by the man himself Swee Chiow, an open mind and a not very sure if i can make it but nonetheless i will try attitude, i made my way up Mount Fuji.

L: Mountain hut which we stayed at the 7th Station
R: Our dinner; rice and curry

To cut the long story short, Azran and Swee Chiow got to the 10th station way earlier then I could ever manage. I was probably lacking by a good few hours. My CEO and Swee Chiow are indeed superheroes. Time was somehow a blur during my whole trip up and down the mountain. The journey down felt like forever. And as the saying goes, nothing lasts forever and hence I found my way back down solid footing again.

L: Azran and Swee Chiow looking unfazed on the peak of Mount Fuji
R: Azran being patriotic with the Malaysian flag on the 10th station

Lessons learnt and feelings felt:

– Wear the right shoes for hiking. A must, unless of course you plan to constantly fall down
every other second especially on your way down the mountain(which was practically what i
– Train, train and train.(Walking 30 minutes once a month like me does not count as training)
– A must see and must experience – the view on top. It was breathtaking with clusters of stars
at night and the sunrise in the morning. It’s like having the best of both worlds in 24 hours.
What more could you ask for.

L: Random beautiful/weird trees
R: Sunrise and the ocean of clouds

If an average unfit person like me can climb Mount Fuji, I am sure anyone can as well. Who is to say you can’t do it but yourself. As true as the song goes “Ain’t no mountain high enough”, so if I can do it, so can you!

As expected, the next day I woke up with a sore neck coupled with legs that could hardly move. I had to literally drag myself off my bed and explore the city in the few hours I had before my midnight flight back to Kuala Lumpur. With the sore that I had, i felt like calling a cab but cabs are expensive so I took the subway! Tokyo is so accessible with its well connected trains and don’t be fooled by how complicated the routes look (They have it in English as well, Yay!).

I went to the ever popular Harajuku Street and needless to say, it was packed with tourist and locals in their weekend dress up!!! Walked down to Shibuya and gawked at its endless rows of clothing options. I even went to a sushi bar in Shibuya for lunch. The place was filled with both locals and tourist who are busy filling up their stomachs with fresh yummy sushi.

Top: A street in Shibuya with endless rows of shops
Middle: Harajuku Street in all its glory; packed with the weekend crowd
Bottom: Sushi Bar in Shibuya

If I had only one word to describe Japan, I would use the word unique with endless of things to see and experience. It is a city where you can find a blend of modernism such as endless tech shops, clothing stores mixed with cultural aspects such as their shrines all rolled in one city. I would say the earthquake which affected Japan is a thing from the past and don’t be let down by critics or negative comments about this country.

L: A Shrine
R: Rows of shopping pleasure

From my observations, tourists are still pouring into this country and citizens living here are carrying on as if nothing ever happened. If only I had more time to see this city…..if I had a choice next time around, I would definitely love to visit this place again and most probably as a tourist with at least a week or more to spare.

Singing off,
AAX Communications