JAPAN: Mr. Fuji

As inevitable as a cheese crouton in tomato bisque is Fujiyama in the background of a Japanese print. To Japanese the symmetrical, snow-shawled, 12,395-foot-high cone is sacred. They call it "Mr. Fuji," and climb it in droves, usually starting at sundown and taking about twelve hours. Seeing dawn from the rim of Fuji's long-dead crater is considered a sort of virtuously ecstatic act, like seeing a vision. Last week 13 disabled Japanese war veterans declared their intention of "demonstrating national spirit" by stumping up Mr. Fuji on their honorable peg legs.


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