Today's Notables

Training of the Mind on the Sacred Mt. Ontakesan (Part 1)

September 2003
Hisashi Furuichi
President and C.E.O.

The former president of TK wanted to strengthen our relatively weak ties to the food equipment industry. Therefore, TK joined the Japan Food Machinery Manufacturer's Association (below FOOMA) and some time ago, He actively participated as chairman of the youth section. I think participating is important and am making a conscious effort to actively participate.

Mr. Onoe (Onoe Equipment, headquarters Nagoya), who is the chairman of FOOMA is also one of Japan's prominent mountain climbers. Every year he plans a summer mountain trek for members of the FOOMA. It is a "summer trek that even a monkey can do," which, is a often used expression that even those who mountain climb often, can't be a monkey)--"mountain climbing as if playing golf." Last year I was lucky because my schedule did not allow it. At a meeting however, the summer trek is fun (=extremely tiring) and members talk. I have literally taken a walk up Kabutoyama (mountain in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Pref, height 309m) and decided that I'd like to try the summer trek.

The plan was that Mr. Onoe would supervise the group with professional climbers Mr. Tanabe and another seasoned climber. Mr. Onoe told me, "If you can play golf, this course will be a breeze." But people who went the previous year said that you walk along the precipice with no netting on the edge so if you fall, that's it. Just to make absolutely sure, I asked a friend of mine who also enjoys mountain climbing and he said that this year's destination, Ontakesan at 3000m was fairly steep and is easier to climb than Mt. Fuji?even elementary kids can do it. The dread was lifted off my shoulders and decided to participate. Then later I realized I did not even really understand that because, and I am embarrassed to admit, but as a Japanese person, I have never climbed the most famous natural landform in our country.

The first day we gathered at Kiso Fukushima station at 3pm. We split up in the vehicles of those who drove and headed for our hotel. The hotel was near Ontake Ski Area and took about 50 minutes from the station. We went into the hot spring, ate barbecue, watch firework and partied until about midnight. The next day, we got up at 6 for breakfast, left in cars to get to the Ontakesan 7.5 seam parking area. Ontakesan is 3067 meters and is a conide type volcano that is releasing steam at the summit. It is known around the nation as a sacred mountain. The 7.5 seam is at an altitude of 2200m and the plan was to climb 800 meters. The temperature was quite cold but the sky blue and cloudy?perfect weather for climbing (I guess?). The entire group of 26 people were divided into 4 groups depending on their level. There were many like me who were participating for the first time so I assumed that when the pro climbers divided us into levels they did it based on how fit we seemed and age. Much to my disappointment, the pro climber overestimated my ability and I was put in group 2. Group 1 was made up of members who had participated in the past three FOOMA climbs. The second group were those that looked like they might have the same ability while groups 3 and 4 were those that had had a hard time in the past climbs. Those groups included the seniors who wanted to climb at their own pace. The pro climber led the group in warm ups, showed us how to wear the backpack, use the walking sticks, tie shoes, etc. We were ready to go !

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