About

Hello.

Welcome to my tiny corner of the digital morass.

It’s a little bit of, dare I say, literary and visual self indulgence relating to my forays into the mountains of Japan and beyond.

It all started years ago.  Back in the day, while the hippies and flower children were having their sit ins and love ins, smoking ganja through the arse cracks of spotty frogs and the likes, a Japanese bloke by the name of Fukada-san put out a book detailing his subjective and, may I even suggest, tentative selection of Japan’s most strikingly beautiful and culturally significant mountains.  There were a hundred of them in all and he entitled his tome ‘Nihon Hyakumeizan.’  The book became a bestseller and the hiking public adopted the selection as definitive, flocking to the mountains in droves in order to complete the entire list in their lifetimes. Unwittingly, the Hyakumeizan Challenge had been born.

In 2007 I quit work, dragged my sorry arse off the sofa, abandoned the bright city delights of Osaka and headed for the hills, claiming to anyone who would listen that I’d have Fukada’s hundred in the bag by Christmas of that year.

It’s here you’ll find snippets of that story.

Nowadays, settled in Kyoto and family in tow, a new mountain adventure is being undertaken (though, this time at a rather more sedate pace and kid friendly altitude) in the form of the local Kansai Hyakumeizan.  Give us til Christmas 2020 for this one.

Here’s hoping you’re inspired in some way, shape or form to get out of range of the television, telephone  and computer for an afternoon, weekend or year.

A bit of sweat and suffering never hurt anyone.

Willie.

Oh, and if you enjoy the images here do check out my less wordy photoblog.

11 thoughts on “About

  1. What a delight your pictures are! I’m off to look at your photo blog – and yes, it is inspiring to venture out further into nature. It also gives a beautiful sense of being there in the moment, looking at the scene in person. Thanks! It’s a wonderful gift you are sharing.

    ~WilderSoul

  2. Thanks for coming over and liking my post, greta for you to take the time to check it out. Just been having a quick look at your own and I like your style and spirit as well as some pretty wicked pics. MM 🍀

  3. Hi Willie, I love reading about your exploits! Finally starting one of my own in the coming weeks and I wondered what you have found to be easiest way to acquire maps? There’s scarce material online! Keep climbing. Scott.

    • Thanks for looking around here, Scott. Are you in Japan? Lonely Planet’s Hiking in Japan is a good starting point. The Yama to Kogen (山と高原) series of maps is available in most big Japanese book stores and hiking shops and at amazon Japan. These maps are 99% Japanese but I believe the major peaks are now also labelled in English. Also there is an expat Hiking in Japan facebook group that you can join with a wealth of info. Check out Wes’s invaluable blog for trail info: https://japanhike.wordpress.com/

      • Thanks Willie – will be in japan in under a week! Both the Yama to Kogen maps and the facebook group look promising, so thank you kindly. Are there any trails around this time of year that have particularly stood out to you in either the Alps (>2000m probably!) or Nikko?

  4. Best to steer clear of the Alps at this time of year. Lots of avalanche danger with the temps on the rise. That said I did climb Houou-san in the South Alps at this time of year from Yashajin Pass out of Kofu. The huts were open, beautiful mountain, a lot of snow but nothing overly dangerous on that route at that time (2008). Nikko in May I know nothing about, but Oku-shirane is a hike I recommend up there. As always, check conditions before you go.

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