Discover more from Mountains of Wisdom
One with the Mountains
In your element, in the elements
Kia ora koutou. Tim Bunting the Kiwi Yamabushi here bringing you concepts, life advice, and hiking guides from the Japanese mountains.
More radical and practical than Stoicism – discover Shugendo
In case you missed it, my article comparing Stoicism with Shugendo in Psyche magazine was released earlier this week.
As with most articles like this, I didn't come up with the headline. I don’t actually think Shugendo is more practical than Stoicism. Stoicism came to me at a very important part in my life, right before Dad died. However, the more radical part could well be true.
Read the article to find out more.
Also, I’d love to hear what you think! Please leave a comment if the article resonates with you. That way I know what kind of stuff I can work on too.
I remember it vividly.
The colours on that fateful day were nothing short of miraculous. Peak autumn leaves on a mountain trail of never-ending forests. Then when you reach the summit, you’re struck with an expansive view of the surrounding mountains. The mountains are covered in all manner of reds and yellows, the soft sound of a not-so-distant waterfall, and a towering Gassan way off in the distance.
For me, this is what it is all about. Getting out into nature, and just letting it encompass your body. Letting yourself be one with the mountain, one with nature. That day, I distinctly recall being overcome with gratitude. It’s not every day you get to explore a world of such colour.
Yesterday was a similar story.
I was climbing Taizo-san for only the second time. I had such great memories the first time around, I wanted to see what it was like at another time of year.
This time I came better prepared. This time I brought my drone! I also took the shorter of the trails, lest I take more than double the recommended hiking time again.
So far I’ve climbed 29 of the 100 famous mountains of Yamagata. A couple of them I liked so much I’ve climbed them multiple times; Kinbo-zan, Arakura-yama, Kyogakura-san. Now Taizo-san can be added to that list.
Yesterday was a timely reminder of the power of nature.
Taizo-san is still a tough climb in parts. But the thing is, it’s so beautiful that it’s easy to forget your fatigue. If that isn’t a reminder of the power of nature, I don’t know what is.
Nature has the power to astonish.
The power to heal.
The power to invigorate.
Here in Yamagata Prefecture we’re extremely lucky to live so close to so many amazing peaks. Taizo-san is but a 25-minute drive from my doorstep, albeit on gravel for the last section, but even just getting there is always such fun. One of my favourite parts of the 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Project is simply getting to the mountains.
Yamagata Prefecture, besides its love of signs and tarpaulins (this post is free until tomorrow), is a beautiful place. Mountains abound, and the flat areas are sprawling with rice fields. Then we have The Sea of Japan here in the Shonai region too. It all makes for unbeatable scenery at every turn, and it’s especially special for someone like me who didn’t grow up here.
Taizo-san is but one of these peaks.
Yamagata Prefecture alone is home to 2,776 mountains.
2,776! That’s 330 more than the steps on Haguro-san!
Granted, their definition of mountain is a lot looser than the 1,000 ft. or 300m cutoff in English. Even 58m (190 ft.) Kashiwagi-yama on Tobishima Island is included on the list. But even 58m (190 ft.) Kashiwagi-yama is a treasure trove of nature, and the culture that comes along with it too.
In your element, in the elements
With so much nature around us, it’s hard not to want to get out there. It’s hard not to want to get encompassed in its warm embrace. Alas, life has a way of getting in the way. However, sometimes we need to make that extra special effort to just get out there and get into our element, in the elements.
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On The Blog This Week
My most popular post this week was Replaceable is risky, be useful and unique instead. This was closely followed by Uketamo: Untellable wisdom from the mountains.
The Real Work (part two, apparently)
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Mountains of Wisdom: Tell Your Cousin!
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Ka kite ano.