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Messages - mike

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YETI Announcements / Re: 2015-2016 YETI Council Elections
« on: May 01, 2015, 08:42:24 PM »
There has been one nomination each for President and Treasurer, and two nominations for Secretary. Therefore we will be running elections only for Secretary. Here are the candidate blurbs:

Geneva Ged

Hello, everyone! It may be a bit unorthodox for the First Year Representative to apply for a position on the Council, but after serving on the council for the past 6 months, I want to be a part of YETI`s future even past August when my time as First Year Rep. would end. After the results of the survey I created in early April, I have some exciting ideas for new events involving the local community and Japanese culture as well as more professional development and social events. If elected, I will focus on our social media presence and strive to have YETI events announced on time or early and focus on regularly releasing the YETI Spaghetti. I also hope to work on more inter-prefectural events. Thank you for your time, and don't forget to vote (even if it's not for me)!

Loren Hellem

I've been nominated to be your YETI Council secretary next year, and it sounds like a blast. I like seeing you guys at events, and it'll be great getting involved in planning them as well. If none of what I just said interests you at all, vote for me because there are no other dashing bald men on the council, and that is in desperate need of correction. Thanks a bunch!

Please send me (Mike) a message on the forum or an email to with your name and your vote.

Events Archive / Re: The Nash 500!
« on: April 30, 2015, 10:55:04 AM »
Scooby Doo
  • Terra
  • Thomas
  • Jesse
  • Adrienne
  • Rachael

Events Archive / Re: The Nash 500!
« on: April 30, 2015, 10:49:40 AM »
It looks like we have two teams so far:

My Little Pony
  • Anya
  • Brianna
  • Bethany
  • Charlotte

Harry Potter
  • Geneva
  • Catherine
  • Ed
  • Rose

Keep the RSVPs coming!

YETI Announcements / Re: 2015-2016 YETI Council Elections
« on: April 25, 2015, 07:06:09 PM »
The nomination period will be extended until Sunday at midnight. You may message me with your nominations.

YETI Announcements / 2015-2016 YETI Council Elections
« on: April 16, 2015, 12:17:21 PM »
Can you believe it's already been a year since we elected the YETI Council? Time flies, and it's time to start thinking about bringing in some fresh faces for a new council! Three positions will be going up for vote: President, Secretary, and Treasurer. These positions have one-year terms.

All members of the YETI Council are responsible for:
  • Planning events
  • Communicating with the community
  • Sharing information about events and opportunities

Position-Specific Duties:

  • Manage council members' duties.
  • Ensures good communication within the council and with outside groups.
  • Handles any urgent issues that may arise.
  • Acts as the official face of YETI.
  • Supervises other council members.

  • Ultimately responsible for the YETI Spaghetti Newsletter, distribution of event information, and the platforms used for communication.
  • Corresponds with AJET, the Block Representative, and other contacts.
  • Records meeting minutes and distributes them to the council.

  • Manages the YETI account and finances.
  • Reports financial information and advice to the council.
  • Creates budgets and proposes event fees.
  • Collects money and pays expenses.

These responsibilities are guidelines based on how former councils have functioned, but in the end each council is free to structure themselves and assign responsibilities however they see fit.

**Nomination and subsequent voting is open to ALL foreign ALTs, Eikaiwa teachers, and CIRs currently living and working in Yamanashi.**
If you are unsure if you qualify for running or voting, please feel free to contact any council member.

Election Procedure:

  • Nominations are open immediately.
  • Nominations will tentatively close on April 24th at midnight (JST).
  • Candidates that accept their nominations should send a short blurb to a council member via PM by April 30th.
  • Voting will begin on Friday, May 1st and run until May 8th.
  • Results will be announced at The Nash 500 on May 10th

How to make a nomination:
Post in this forum topic or send a PM on the forum to a council member. You may nominate yourself.

How to vote:
Send a message to me (Mike) on the forum or e-mail with your name and your votes for each position. Please only vote one person for each position.

Events Archive / The Nash 500! 2015
« on: April 16, 2015, 12:13:38 PM »
The Nash 500!!!

What: The Nash 500!
Initial meeting place: Parking lot of Aeon Mall in Kofu Showa, Lot A.
When: Sunday, May 10th, 9:30am
Cost: It is FREE, but you will need to split the cost of any gas or tolls used with your fellow teammates.

The Nash 500 is a prefecture-wide scavenger hunt that gets participants to explore Yamanashi. Participants gather into teams and drive around the prefecture visiting various famous landmarks, buildings and interesting areas to collect pictures and complete tasks. They will dress up in costumes and do various challenges all over the prefecture! But be sure to complete the tasks within the time limits and meet back at the desginated meeting points.

If you'd like to join:
First, create your own team and post it here!  You can have as many teammates as will legally fit in your car.  Usually this is 4-5 people.
Then, choose your theme together.  Examples of team themes in years past are Dukes of Hokentucky (Dukes of Hazzard costume and decorated car), Go Go Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro costumes and car), Rainbow Racers (Mario Kart theme). You can choose any theme and costumes but you WILL BE JUDGED ON APPEARANCE so choose wisely! 
Next, post your teammates names and team name here!
Last, Show up!

The hunt organizers will distribute the clue sheets for the morning's tasks at 9:40am sharp, at which point you're free to get started. Check-in points and times will be detailed in the materials distributed at the start, this will include the morning tasks. The morning tasks are to be completed before the lunch time deadline. We will all meet again at lunch time and you will be given a second set of tasks to complete before dinner time.

At least one person in your group has to bring a camera (preferably one that can also record videos) with a removable memory card!

The hunt will end at roughly dinner time at a location to be disclosed, at which point we will tally points and distribute awards and prizes while everyone eats dinner. Points will also be given for costumes and the manner in which you complete the tasks!

We will also announce the results of voting for the next year's YETI council at this time!

Get to planning!  Post here or on the Facebook event page when you know your team!  If you do not know who you wish to be teamed up with but want to participate, please let us know so we can hook you up! Remember, at least one person in your team must own/rent a car to participate. This event requires one driver and car for each team.

Finally, we are looking for judges to help assist with this event! If you are interested, please let one of the council members know!

Events Archive / Re: Winter Party
« on: November 28, 2014, 04:03:14 PM »
I'll be there.

Fred you have literally posted on here over 11,000 times. HOW?!

The boards used to be really active with,er, "discussions." Some former years were quite vocal with their opinions. 懐かしいな。

Also... "lazy Sunday" + "get up early"? Does not compute (x_x)

Sleep on the train! We're open to the idea of a later start, but the issue is how long it takes to get to down to Fujiyoshida by train.

Events Archive / Re: 2014 Fuji Climb
« on: September 11, 2014, 03:18:07 PM »
We apologize, but unfortunately the weather didn't turn out well again this year. We have already discussed changes that we hope to make next year so as to avoid this in the future.

[Facebook event page: ]

It's that time of the year again! The grapes are ripe and ready for harvest, which is cause for celebration in the Kōshū region. That's right, it's time for the 2014 WINE FESTIVAL!

Join us for this bacchanalian event as vendors and vintners share with the public the best wines and grapes you're likely to find in all of Japan. Once again this will be a YETI / ShizAJET co-hosted event, so get ready to see some new faces and make some new friends!

This is a 2-day party, so make sure you bring your game face (and magic hangover remedies)! Last year we tried a trip to FujiQ, but after several recommendations against following a drinking event with rollercoasters, we've decided to take the Sunday a little more slowly this year:

+ Katsunuma Wine and Grape Festival
+ 500 for a festival glass / Wine refills in the glass are free!
+ Festival starts at 10am. Meet at 10:36am at Katsunumabudokyo Station (tentative) to take a shuttle bus (100 yen) to Katsunuma Chuo Park.
+ You are free to come and go as you please! We will have a tarp set up for YETI / ShizAJET use.
+ You are responsible for your own lodging afterwards, but by all means please ask if you need a place to stay!

+ Lazy Sunday at Lake Kawaguchi
+ Get up early and meet at Kawahuchiko Station at 10:26am.
+ Grab brunch, take a ride up the gondola, eat lavender ice cream, and nurse your hangovers while gazing at beautiful Lake Kawaguchi and Mt. Fuji.
+ Head back home in the afternoon.

For our Shizuoka friends, if you will be using public transportation please keep in mind that the going by train from Kawaguchiko to Shizuoka takes quite awhile. However, does have a bus that departs from Kawaguchiko Station at 5:25pm and arrives at Shizuoka Station at 7:19pm. for 2,680 yen.

Let us know if you have any questions / comments / etc.! If there is an overwhelming desire to change any times or events, we'd be happy to accomodate - so let us know what you think!

Events Archive / Re: 2014 Fuji Climb
« on: September 04, 2014, 09:28:11 PM »
Here's a quick Fuji FAQ! It should answer most of your questions.
Q: How is the climb organized?
A: The climb is only loosely organized. YETI helps to arrange the times and to share information, but that's about. Generally everyone will start out at the same time, and the group will splinter into smaller groups of people with similar paces. While you should try to stick with at least one fellow climber, you are otherwise free to do the hike as you please.
Q: Is climbing Fuji difficult?
A: That depends. Fuji is not a technical climb, and people with some mountain climbing experience probably won't find it very difficult. However, your fitness and health will play into this. If you have some health issues (anemia, asthma, dehydration, bad knees, etc.) then this will add to the difficulty of the climb.
Likewise, if you rarely exercise then your body will be more taxed. Conversely, if you are are in fairly good shape then you should have an easier time climbing. Multiple ALTs that play pickup basketball (and have no significant health issues) but otherwise don't work out have reported having very little difficulty climbing the mountain, for example.
In short, this will depend on you more than anything else, and you know your body best. More than anything the challenge to climbing Fuji is a mind game.
Q: Why are you climbing at night?
A: Night climbing is extremely popular in order to see the rising sun from the summit, which is seen as a symbol of Japan among many other things. Climbing at night does not significantly increase the difficulty, and in fact it helps to keep climbers cool.
Q: Why are you starting at 8pm?
A: This is our traditional starting time and we have found that a start between 8 and 9pm accommodates most people's paces. It is important to reach the summit well before sunrise as a gridlock between the 9th station and the summit occurs between one and two hours before sunrise. Arriving early also allows you time to rest before climbing down, and leaving shortly after sunrise is the best way to beat slow-moving crowds on the path down.
Q: When should we meet?
A: That’s up to you. Just make sure you arrive before 8pm and try to give yourself time for a gear check. The event will be listed as starting at 7:30pm just to be safe. If you forget anything, there’s shops at the 5th Station.
Q: What’s the 5th Station like?
A: It’s like a small city. There’s several food shops, omiyage stores, parking and restrooms, a small outfitter, ice cream, etc.
Q: What if we get a late start?
A: As long as you keep an eye on the time and your pace, you should be fine. 8pm should be good even for slower climbers, but quicker climbers will find a 9pm start or even later shouldn’t be a problem.
Q: Why September 6th? Isn’t that out of season?
A: There are various ways to measure the season. It is after the main tourist frenzy, but all of the facilities are still open and the trail is still very, very busy. This date avoids Welcome Party, most school festivals, the start of harsh weather, and the peak season. This means that most people should have the weekend free, and that you can drive your own car up (which is not allowed in peak season).
Q: Isn't bullet climbing (climbing without sleeping in a cabin) bad?
A: Bullet climbing has been under fire from Japanese media over the past few years. With that said, it is a tried-and-true method by YETI and thousands of other climbers and tour groups. We'll leave the discussion as to why bullet climbing is so frowned upon by some individuals for another time.
If you would prefer to make your own arrangements and schedule for the climb, you are more than welcome to do so! We would love to see you at the top and share the sunrise together regardless.
Q: What about altitude sickness?
A: Altitude sickness is not a simple topic, but generally speaking one is not able to adjust to high altitudes over mere hours. In this sense, it is perhaps best to get in and get out of the risky altitudes as soon as possible.
Furthermore Mt. Fuji is not considerably tall, and it shouldn't present a significant risk of altitude sickness to a healthy individual. Many times people will mistake symptoms of dehydration and fatigue as altitude sickness when it is not. Again, however, your health and fitness play a contributing factor into this. It is certainly possible to start exhibiting symptoms of altitude sickness on Fuji, and we encourage everyone to remain constantly aware of their condition - as one should always do while hiking and climbing.
If you are concerned that you are developing acute altitude sickness (as indicated by headache, nausea, and especially confusion) let your climbing partners know and take a break together. After rest and rehydration, if you or your partners are still concerned you should consider turning around and going down the mountain WITH A PARTNER, or consulting personnel at one of the various stations.
Every year we discuss the issue of altitude sickness as it is very important to understand for any mountain climber. However, in YETI's climbing history it has been quite rare for anyone to actually exhibit symptoms of acute altitude sickness. Keep it in mind but don't let it worry you, and if you are especially concerned you might consider picking up a can of oxygen at Sports Depot or in various stores in Fujiyoshida. Just be sure to take the canisters down the mountain with you and dispose of them properly.
Q: What is the climb like?
A: It starts off around the tree line and has a number of switchbacks with some steps. The terrain above the fifth station is almost entirely rock, except at the very start. From there the path becomes a bit more direct, and at a few places you will probably be using your hands to keep your balance on irregular surfaces. The sides of the path are clearly marked whenever it is possibly in question, and you are not allowed to venture off the path. There are several stations and substations along the way where you can sit down and rest on decks, pay to use toilets, or buy food and drink. While resting and nearing the top it can get rather cold all year-round.
The hike is long and often steep. It is simple and straight-forward, but exhausting.
Q: What do I need to bring?
A: You absolutely need very warm clothing, and you need to wear layers. You will want to start with rather light clothing as you will be working up a sweat and quite warm, but near the top it gets freezing cold. Literally. There’s still snow up there in July, and I’ve had snowflakes falling on me in early September. You will also probably want some light gloves to help you as you use your hands to keep balance (and perhaps even crawl a bit) on the harsh rock, and if you have room a heavier set for the summit is also a good idea.
You’ll need water, at least 2L and it’s wise to have extra. Your body will dehydrate extra quickly due to the exertion and the dry air in higher altitudes. Drink a little now and then even if you aren’t especially thirsty, as this will help prevent issues like headaches.
You need a light source. Headlamps are best and can be picked up at Elk in Kofu or ICI Mountain Sports out east on Rt. 20 (or in Harajuku), and cheaper varieties can be found at Sports Depot. While light sources can be shared, it is inconvenient and at times dangerous so it is best to have your own (and extra batteries just in case).
You’ll probably want a hiking pole. You can get them at the same places as headlamps. I have known many people insist they don’t need one, only to be grateful after I demand they carry one and they find they need it. If your knees are at all in bad condition, a pole is a life saver. They are especially useful on the way down.
You’ll also need food. You can buy snacks at the stations but they’re limited and expensive. You’ll want at least one meal and several snacks. Imagine how much food you eat in 10 hours or so, and then imagine how much more you’d eat if you were constantly hiking on a slope for those 10 hours.
This should go without saying, but you need good shoes for hiking and good socks too. Remember that the top is very cold and windy, and you’ll probably be covered in sweat, so think about things like warm shoes and extra socks.
Sunscreen is also a fantastic idea. You’ll get a lot of exposure on the way down.
The main post mentioned this, but you need money for the toilets. Bring 100 yen coins.
I always carry a few emergency supplies when I hike, like painkillers and first aid or climbing tape. This is optional and you’ll almost never be alone, but at least a few people should bring a few basics.
And finally a pro-tip: Emergency blankets (aka space blankets) are a godsend while waiting at the summit. They’re cheap and oh-so-warm. Pay the extra 100 yen and get the double size.
Q: What if I want to climb from the bottom?
A: Go for it. Make a post and try to find partners (as always, you shouldn’t hike alone). A number of people have done this. It roughly doubles the duration of the hike. The first half (Sengen Shrine to 5th Station) is mostly forest and the stations are more like ruins and have no personnel.
Q: What if I want to climb from the very bottom?
A: How low can you go? If you want to go from ocean level, check out the annual (non-YETI) Sea to Summit event.
Q: I heard something about a summit beer?
A: It’s a tradition for the true warriors among us. Just be careful and remember you still have to get down.
Q: How long does it take?
A: That depends entirely on your pace. Some people can run the entire trail, others will have to stop frequently. 5-7 hours up is common, and significantly less going down. My last trip was 5 flat going up, and about 2 or 2.5 going down - but that is not representative of the average. Give yourself time and enjoy it.
Q: Is there anything else I should know?
A: You get cell phone reception most of the way up, but when it cuts out you should turn your phone off to save battery. Otherwise, it might quickly run out while searching for a signal. It’s wise to have at least one wristwatch per group for when the phones go off.
For drivers, be careful not to overuse your brakes on the way down. You can actually downshift in your car to provide a little resistance to keep your speed in check. Break fading - when your breaks overheat and slowly stop working - is a concern on any mountainous road. If you feel it getting harder to break, just pull over for a minute to catch some fresh air and let your breaks cool off. This has only rarely been an issue, however.

Events Archive / 2014 Fuji Climb
« on: September 04, 2014, 09:27:38 PM »
It's been brought to my attention that people would still like event posts on the forum. For that reason I'm copying the event info for the 2014 YETI Fuji Climb here. Feel free to comment and RSVP here, however most of the discussion is going on over at the YETI - Yamanashi English Teachers International group page on Facebook. If you're on Facebook but not a member of our group, join now! If you're awaiting verification please contact a council member or Fred and we can get you approved.  Without further ado, here's the event details:

Two types of people come to Yamanashi: Those that think "I'm climbing Mt. Fuji," and those that think "No way José, it's just meant for looking at."

For the first group, get excited because we're holding our annual YETI Fuji Climb! (For the second group, they're more than welcome to organize an anti-climbing party!)

YETI Fuji Climb 2014

Date: Saturday, September 6th
Location: Yamanashi's Fuji 5th Station
Time: Meeting around 7:30pm, hiking from 8pm
Price: Free! (However a 1000 yen donation is now encouraged at the trailhead to help preserve Mt. Fuji)
Access: You can drive to the 5th station via the Fuji Subaru Line (2000yen toll), or you can take a bus from FujiSan station on the fujikyuu line. If you plan on driving and can fit others, please post here in order to arrange carpools.
What to bring: A light source, a hiking stick, winter clothing and jackets, gloves, 100 yen coins for toilets, a backpack, food and drink, etc.

If you have any questions, please ask here, on the event page, or on the YETI Facebook group and we will try to answer them. Many people in the community have experience climbing Mt. Fuji and should be able to help you.

Look below for the answers to many frequently asked questions.

Events Archive / Re: Fuji Climb 2013
« on: September 10, 2013, 12:00:04 AM »
Catherine is concerned about taking a Kei Car on the Subaru Line. Does anyone have experience with that?

Events Archive / Re: Fuji Climb 2013
« on: August 28, 2013, 01:22:44 PM »
A few things:

1.  I'll be assigning rides soon.  Try to get your RSVPs in soon to make everyone's lives easier.

2. IT WILL BE COLD.  Possibly zero degrees with high winds.  Prepare appropriately.

3.  We are going on the last possible day.  The weather is fickle this late into the year, and there is a very real possibility that we might have to cancel at the last moment.

4.  I'm going to be late, so it's up to everyone to make sure you get started at the right time!

Events Archive / Re: Fuji Climb 2013
« on: August 09, 2013, 04:57:32 PM »
If anyone needs to grab gear, ICI (Ishii) Sports on Route 20 has quality equipment and helpful (Japanese speaking) staff.  My poles, pack, headlamp, gloves, sunglasses, and I'm sure a few other things are from there.

Sports Depot will have cheaper brands if you prefer that, but a little extra money for a better product/brand can go a long way for outdoors gear (in my opinion).

I hear Elk (Eruku) is another quality retailer ik Kofu, and there's a shop in the Fujinomiya Aeon that has an assortment of gear and (mostly) clothing.

Events Archive / Re: Ichikawadaimon Fireworks festival 2013
« on: August 07, 2013, 02:20:25 PM »
Now that I have a spot, I've made a map to find your way to the spot that we have.
Its the same map as 2011 and it's as cute as ever.


...what is this map?  Is the festival going to teleport us to clipart land??
Sometimes Jorudan works better than Hyperdia for Minobusen, btw.

Events Archive / Re: Fuji Climb 2013
« on: August 05, 2013, 01:54:36 PM »
Obviously Mike will be able to sort that out as people sign up.

Precisely.  If you all can just RSVP with ''Car (# Spots),'' ''Bus,'' or ''Need Ride'' I can get you all sorted out!  I just need a little better idea of how many people we have going first.

Events Archive / Re: Fuji Climb 2013
« on: August 05, 2013, 01:09:31 PM »
Count Emily and Andy in for this time around!

And how about your transportation?

Also, the climb from the base to 5th station isn't so bad, it's actually a very nice climb through the forest and other then gigantic ditches in the middle of the trail which you need to find your way around, it's pretty easy.

I recall your knees hurting quite a bit near the end of it. ;)  But yeah, you handled it much better than me with my goya-poisoning.  Anyway, MCAS is correct - the trail is not at all technical.  I think we did that section in around 5-6 hours; does that sound right?

Question (and sorry if it was posted up there) - any good places to park around there? I'm sure there are, it being Fuji and all, but does anyone have any suggestions?

The fifth station has a parking lot.  I expect we will be fine given our decision to climb just-out-of-season.  Good question!  And I hope you have more fun this year, too.

Events Archive / Re: Fuji Climb 2013
« on: August 01, 2013, 06:14:26 PM »
I didn’t have a great idea of what to expect when I climbed Fuji in my first year, so I want to provide a quick description for first-time climbers of how this shindig is likely to operate.

We will meet at the 5th Station, immediately start second guessing ourselves, and grab some last-minute and overpriced ramen.  A few people will venture off to buy Fuji Sticks and souvenirs at the shops that comprise the strip mall known as 5th Station. 

More or less around 9pm we’ll decide that everyone that is coming has come, and we’ll set out on the trail.  As we climb up, we’ll marvel at just how far up we get cell phone reception.  We’ll start to get tired and thirsty, and there will be the 6th station.  People with Fuji Sticks may opt to have their stick branded for a small fee, and everyone who needs to can buy drinks and food.  There will also be restrooms, for which you will have to pay if you want to use.  Then we’ll hike on, thinking we’re one-fifth of the way to the summit.  Then we’ll discover that the numbering of the stations is all a dirty trick (station 7, station 7.5, random mountain hut, station 8) to mess with your head and leech money from the people branding their Fuji Sticks. 

People will start to stratify and impromptu groups will form – this is fine.  There is no need to stick together, but please try to stick with at least one partner.  There will be one short section of slick scramble, but for the most part the path will be clear-cut with many switchbacks. 

Eventually we’ll get to the summit and realize that it’s really freaking cold and that we’ve arrived too early.   We’ll group together like penguins to share body heat and a few people (myself included) will cry about how it was all a horrible idea.  Then the sun will rise and we will temporarily forget our grievances as we all ooh and aah and take lots of pretty pictures to share with our friends. 

At this point the summit will have gone from near empty to a bustling city at 3776m, and the trail up will be gridlocked.  We’ll decide that getting there early wasn’t such a bad idea after all, and we’ll beat the crowds going down.  There is a separate trail to go down.  Not everyone will realize that, others will ask and be told otherwise and realize after a few minutes fighting the crowds going up in order to get down that they were misled and cut across a forbidden stretch of path to get to the right trail so that it doesn’t take twenty million hours to get down (totally not speaking from experience here...). 

The correct path down is a few dozen (literally) cinder switchbacks.  Some of us will fall on our asses repeatedly in this section, and everyone will agree it is the least fun part of the climb.  Some (more agile and coordinated) people will choose to run down it.  We’ll all make it back to the 5th Station over a period of time and meet back up with our rides to get home.  Some people will choose to partake in some absolutely scrumptious post-climb ice cream, which I highly recommend.

And a note for everyone:  On the drive down the Subaru Line will test the endurance of everyone’s car’s brakes.  Please try to engine break whenever possible to reduce the strain on your car.

Events Archive / Re: Fuji Climb 2013
« on: August 01, 2013, 06:14:04 PM »
This post spot is reserved.

Events Archive / Fuji Climb 2013
« on: August 01, 2013, 06:13:34 PM »
*I’m putting this post up early in case people need to make alternate climbing plans due to the date, and so that hopefully people can see it before they leave on vacations.*

WHAT IT IS:  Overnight Fuji climb to watch the sun rise

DATE: September 14

TIME: 8pm Arrival for a 9pm Departure

PRICE: Free!

ACCESS:  Driving – Subaru Line (2000 yen toll); Public Transportation – Bus from Fujisan Station (Fujikyuu Line).

Layered Clothing – the temperature will range during the climbing from the 20s (Celsius) down to around 0 degrees.  Please be prepared for around two hours at the summit in freezing temperatures.

Gloves – Wind proof gloves are better if you have some available.

Socks – Your fingers aren’t the only thing that will get cold.

Hiking Shoes – To put on your socks.  Make sure you wear them in beforehand.

Headlamp –  Unless nightvision lists among your superpowers, you're going to need help seeing in the dark.  These can be picked up at most sports stores.  You won't need anything too fancy.  You should also bring extra batteries just in case.

Water – Drinks can be purchased on the mountain, but everything is expensive.  I would advise 2L of water and potentially more if you don't want to buy anything.  Please keep in mind that the exertion, cold temperatures, and other factors will cause you to need more liquids than over a normal 12-hour period.[/i]

Food – Believe it or not, you have to eat.

Sunscreen - You'll be completely exposed on a barren mountainside on the way down.  This means lots and lots of sun, so bring plenty of sunscreen with you.

100 Yen Coins – For the bathrooms.

Lots of Yen (optional) – For omiyage, souvenirs, food and drink, and as previously mentioned the restrooms.  A fully stamped Fuji Stick will cost you upwards of 3000 yen I believe.

A Hiking Stick (optional) – If you don’t want to buy a Fuji Stick, you might benefit by having a nice hiking stick or two.

Event Description:

Are you sitting around your desk over summer vacation, bored to death and dreaming of your next great adventure?  Worry not, we have just the event for you!

Every year YETI organizes a Mt. Fuji climb for its members and their friends.  We hike overnight and arrive in time to see the famous morning sun from the summit.  The date for this year’s Fuji Climb is set for SEPTEMBER 14, so mark your calendars now and start dusting off your winter jackets.  Luckily for you this event is FREE(ish) so you won’t have to bite into your summer beer budget to join us.

Those of you more acquainted with our iconic friend will notice that this is two weekends after the technical closing date of climbing season.  Don’t worry, we know what we’re doing here (or at least we’d like you to think so).  By going after official climbing season we are able to avoid the large crowds that make Fuji-san feel more like a lunch line queue than an alpine adventure.  The mountain huts will still be open at this time so the standard amenities will still be available.

We will be meeting at the SUBARU LINE 5TH STATION at 8PM for a 9pm departure.  We will hike overnight and should arrive well before sunrise.   By planning to arrive at the summit early we should be able to avoid foot traffic and unexpected delays – BUT IT WILL BE COLD while we wait.  Last year it was hovering just above freezing and with pretty fierce winds.

In order to get to the Subaru Line 5th Station (please keep in mind that there are several trails and therefore several 5th stations) you may drive up the Subaru Line toll road (2000 yen) or take a bus from the Fujisan Station on the Fujikyuu train line.  We would like to carpool as much as possible to this event, so if you are driving please say so in your RSVP!

Questions and Answers
Because yes, we can read your mind.

What if I don't want to climb Fuji?
For the past few years, a dear friend of ours in Fujiyoshida has offered his place for the unofficial F@!$ Fuji party.  This is a party for those not climbing Fuji that is held on the same night as the Fuji Climb.  However this friend has moved on to bigger and better things this year, so as of right now there are no plans for the FF party.  If someone would like to take over this tradition, please feel free to organize an unofficial event.

I want to climb ALL of Fuji.
That's not a question, but okay.  Some years there are participants that wish to hike the full Yoshidaguchi trail from Sengen Shrine in Fujiyoshida.  If anyone is interested in doing this, let me know and I can provide further information.  From the trailhead to the 5th is about the same duration as from the 5th to the summit, although the trail is very different. 

If you want to hike from the sea, well, you're crazy but more power to you.  There is a charity event called Sea to Summit for your kind, although the event has been filled for 2013.

What about altitude acclimation?
Luckily Mt. Fuji isn't all that tall, so most people won't have problems with altitude.  We will be meeting at the fifth station at 8, which gives us an hour to settle before we even start hiking.  Time has also been factored in to take rests along the way.  If you are a concerned, feel free to spend the night in Fujiyoshida (elevation around 800m) to prime yourself.  Generally at least a full night at altitude is recommend for your body to start to acclimate, but if you wish you may show up to the fifth station earlier than our planned meeting time.  If along the hike you believe you are feeling the effects of altitude sickness, you may purchase oxygen canisters to help relieve the symptoms.  They are expensive, however, and you will be expected to carry it back down the mountain with you.

I don't need that much time to climb Fuji.  Can I leave later?
Be my guest, but be aware that the trail will become very congested leading up to sunrise and you may not make it in time.  We have scheduled the event with enough time to help ensure that everyone that finishes the hike will make it to the summit before dawn.  Even hiking overnight you should expect one or two short bottlenecks that may slow your progress.

What if there's bad weather?  Is there a backup date?
No.  We're sorry, but due to the inflexibility of the date for Welcome Party we are already going as late in year as we are willing to.  If the weather is foul, we'll have to cancel the 2013 Fuji Climb.  Be aware that Fuji has it's own weather patterns that are unique from the surrounding area and can change quickly.  This could work for or against us.

What if I start to miss my mom/dad/bff/gf/puppy or need to call in an emergency shipment of Dunkin' Donuts while on the mountainside?  (a.k.a. the CELL PHONE question)
You get reception a remarkable way up the mountain.  Feel free to brag to your friends (or toy poodle) about your adventure on Facebook, but conserve enough battery for the next day!  You will probably have to get in contact with the people you are carpooling with - which won't be easy if everyone has a dead battery.  At some point you WILL leave the reception range.  At this point your phone will start constantly searching for the network, which will very quickly drain your battery.  So your best bet is to TURN YOUR PHONE OFF before this happens.  You might even want to do it before you leave the 5th Station so that you don't forget later on.

Be aware that while it's pretty hard to get lost on the way up (hint: go up), there are multiple paths at the summit and you could potentially take the wrong one down.  Unfortunately, you won't have reception anymore at this point so you won't be able to call for help.  Ganbatte!

How do I get down?
I'm going to reiterate this again, there is more than one path.  Please to the one leading to the Subaru Line 5th Station / Fujiyoshida / Yamanashi.  It won't be hard to spot.  Just make sure people are going down it and not up or you're going to have a bad time.  Also make sure it the sign doesn't say anything about Shizuoka / Fujinomiya.  If in doubt, ask.  If you do get caught going down the wrong way, head back up and try again.  If you get in trouble for cutting around the mountain on an restricted access path that looks like it's going to crumble away under your feet, I don't know you.

What kind of food should I bring?
High calorie and light weight is best.  Obviously things that don't require much preparation, so leave the frozen chicken breast at home.  Peanut butter is gold, Calorie Mates and those squishy protein gels are perfect for snacks.  Nuts - and by extension, trail mix - are a favorite amongst hikers.  If it needs refrigerated, don't bring it.  If it comes with a ton of packaging, consider repacking it.  I'm pretty awful at packing for the outdoors, but if you google "hiking food" or some such you should find good advice.

I heard about this thing called a... summit beer?
Is that even a question?  Alcohol will pack a punch at the altitude of Fuji's summit, but if you'd like to join me in celebrating our achievement then feel free to lug a brewsky up with you.  Try to pack it away from your body to keep it cooler, and if you die it's not my fault.

I have a question...
Then ask!  A lot of people in the YETI community have climbed Fuji before, and we all love to share our opinions and advice.  If it's already been addressed, though, we might poke fun at you - so read through this post closely!  ;)

If you would like to attend this event, please reply to this post with your name and one of the following: CAR (# SPOTS), RIDING WITH _______, BUS,  or  NEED RIDE.
If you are willing to take a bus but would prefer a ride, just go with "need ride."

Non-YETI Social Gatherings / Re: 2013 Summer Fireworks!
« on: July 31, 2013, 10:32:04 PM »
I may be coming out, but not from the basin sadly.  And yes, good luck passing the test!

I passed the driving test.  The first try there were 5 people.  It was the first time for me and one other.  No one passed (I and the other first timer did quite well, I'd say better than the others).  The second time there were also five people, again two first-timers.  I was the only one that passed.  So the pass rate was 1/10...

When I went downstairs to get my license, they insisted that there was a problem with my name on my materials - but all of it matched (well, Japanese documents and my passport with last name first, foreign documents with first name first) and it was prepared exactly as was requested and as I've seen recommended.  This resulted me in getting a green (new driver) license.  I asked my BoE to help me get it worked out, but they said that I drive a leased car so I don't need the sticker and it's a non-issue.  At least I have my license, though!  Thanks for the tips everyone.

General Stuff / Re: Orchestra? and instrument rental?
« on: July 23, 2013, 10:03:25 AM »
As stated above, there is at least one community orchestra.  I'll ask a friend of mine about their name and how to contact them.  I think you'll yave more luck asking them about cello rentals than us.  You're music teacher should also have advice for you.  I think it might be easier to find a cello than you imagine, or at least I hope so.  There are many, many musicians in Japan and communities usually love it when the ALTs share their talents.

General Stuff / Re: 2013 people - Welcome to Yamanashi
« on: June 10, 2013, 01:08:47 PM »
Someone smuggle me crawfish from the states.  I'll love you forever and ever.

General Stuff / Re: Buying a Cameras at home or in Japan?
« on: May 27, 2013, 03:05:15 PM »
Two things to keep in mind that I haven't seen mentioned:

1.  Cameras sold in Japan are legally required to have a shutter sound, including cell phones.  Personally I find it really annoying.

2.  It's getting harder and harder to NOT get a smartphone with some carriers.  Furthermore, smartphones are awesome - especially for GPS and looking up train timetables.  They're also more likely to have an English UI option.  But... they make a shutter sound.

General Stuff / Re: White powder next to the gutters?
« on: May 10, 2013, 12:05:50 PM »
Sorry, I'm not familiar with what you're describing.  Does it look at all like boric acid / the anti-mukade powder?

YETI Announcements / Re: New 2013-2014 Yeti Council!
« on: April 16, 2013, 10:20:24 AM »
Thanks for all of your hard work, and congratulations to the new council!  I look forward to working with each of you.

I'd look more forward to it if you brought pizza and cupcakes to the meetings, though.  Just saying.

Non-YETI Social Gatherings / Re: Tokyo Yamathon 2013 - April 20th!
« on: April 16, 2013, 10:19:10 AM »
cool. we can be decked out in fresh adidas originals RUN DMC

Don't give away our costume theme, yo.

buriko, I don't think I've ever asked you this, but do you teach the 1-4 graders?  Just curious.  Previously we've only done 5-6 grades, although I'm starting 2 lessons a month with the other grades this week at my smallest school.

Anyways, to the original question: My personal thoughts as a ES & JHS ALT is that you have a responsibility to prepare them for JHS.  That would be my number 1 goal, to make sure the students don't fall flat on their faces when the real work starts (especially if they will be coming together with students from other skills and with different ability levels).  Not for the students convenience, but because if you get left behind in 1st grade there's little chance for catching back up.

As for your teacher, given my priorities, I would try to make sure that he understands exactly what the students need to learn before graduating and remind him that you teach at JHS too - so you've seen the difference in well- and ill-prepared first years.

But if he doesn't listen, and you don't really have the power to change the way he conducts class, I think you have to bite the bullet and support him and the students as best you can.  Maybe by being enthusiastic for him you can help loosen up his anxiety about having you around.  If fundamentals are being skipped, then you really need to build up the students motivation even more so that they'll want to put in the extra work in JHS.  And as long as you aren't doing it every 5 minutes, I wouldn't worry about a quick interjection.

I'd also love to see your phonics lessons.  I use Foxy Phonics in JHS (I swear I'm going to edit the 3rd edition all by myself...), but it would take a pretty advanced 6th grade class for me to try it sooner.  Something more tailored to ES might be a nice warm up!

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