Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The mountain who wanted to be a skyscraper

Maybe it's just me, but when I think 'mountain' I think 'rural', 'solitude', etc. Not so on Takaosan.

Men will wave sticks of soy-coated mochi at you until, will weak as tired knees on the 45 degree (paved, concrete) ascent, you finish your 'kudasai'. Agility somewhat impaired by the glutinous result of your weak will, you wonder about a break. 'Of course', Takaosan nods: 'would you prefer some shopping, a little sake, or a trip to the monkey park?' (Yes, Takaosan boasts, alongside its wild monkeys, a mini enclosure full of them. It also advertises, in capital letters, a GRASS PARK, but somehow that seemed less exciting...).

It's as if 50 years ago Takaosan grew afraid of being called old-fashioned by its new neighbour, Mr Tokyo, and decided to catch up. 'Look! I'm just like you, I have shops and restaurants and booze! I'm not like all those other mountains, those sad old things with their trees and rocks. I'm just like a street, but vertical!  Sugoi desu ne?! Rooms and shops extending, scraping the sky - mark my words it'll catch on some day... '

Tokyo from Takaosan

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