The traveler should attend a Sumo wrestling match. The contenders, behemoths in breechcloths, charge each other like rutting bulls. The appeal to the Japanese perhaps is the sharp contrast in size and behavior of the contenders to the average Japanese male, who is usually slightly built, constrained in behavior and carefully schooled in courtesy. Judo, kendo (bamboo sword fighting), karate and aikido can be observed, or even learned.
What better symbols of touristic Japan than Mt. Fuji and the Shinkansen, the bullet train, speeding below the mountain. The Japanese railway system is generally considered the most advanced in the world.
In contrast to these violent activities are Japanese flower arranging and the tea ceremonials, both subtle and highly refined.
The mountains to the Japanese are things of beauty and poetry. Mt. Fuji figures in the folklore and painting of the nation. Every year during July and the first three weeks of August thousands of people, young and old, climb the heights of this famous volcano. The climbers have a choice of six paths to the top of Mt. Fuji. Ten stations have been provided for rest and refreshment. The climb takes between seven and nine hours and can be broken up by an overnight stop in a stone hut at the seventh and eighth stages. Transportation is available to the fourth or fifth stations. Some idea of the rigor of the climb is gained from the old saying in Japan that, âœHe who climbs Mt. Fuji once is a wise man, but he who climbs it twice is a fool.â
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