Welcome to Japan

3 years ago 1

Mt. Fuji

Hello everyone! This post is coming to you from the base of Mt. Fuji, yes in Japan. This is the first of a handful of international adventures I’m undertaking for my upcoming book SCREAM: Adventures in the upside of Fear. I’ll be going to Bogota and Toronto later this year, along with hopscotching across the US to experience as many thrills and chills as possible.

I made it here yesterday after a very pleasant 14 hour plane ride from Toronto (I had a seat in the bulk head, so I just kept thinking of David Sedaris and his opinion of that seat and laughing). Anyway I wrote the whole time and was comfortable so it was all good.

During my layover in Canada I spent a good amount of time reflecting on how dependent I’ve become on my phone for engagement and what it would mean not to have that for a whole 24 hours. I kept finding myself reaching for it and then realizing nothing was going to be there (did you know we look at our phones an average of 110 times a day? Edith Zimmerman over at The Hairpin also did a cute story about our special relationship with our phones). But once I let go of the idea of being connected it was fine and even freeing, my time was my own. That point really opened up the creative flood gates because I ended up writing about 20 pages for my book (which for me means about 6 pages of usable text, ha!).

After arriving and immediately getting a SIM card with data for my iphone I continued the next leg of my trip out here to Mt. Fuji. It involved changing trains three times, and I have to pat myself on the back for getting from platform to platform with relative ease. I just kept asking myself what the most intuitive option would be and then I go with that– it usually works out. More importantly though everyone has been so insanely nice to me. I looked just a bit confused at one point and a nice woman asked me where I was going and pointed me in the right direction. It just makes me want to be nice to everyone, it is contagious.

I finally made it to my hotel around 8:30pm on Monday– I had left Pittsburgh at 4am on Sunday (after daylights savings time, so really 3am). I’m not really sure what kind of crazy time travel happened in between but I went to bed immediately. I only woke up in a panic twice.


Yesterday I spent the whole day at Fuji-Q Highland. This amusement park is known for its coasters and a couple of big haunted houses so it was a natural choice for my adventures.





The day was amazing, the rides were unbelievable. My favorite was the 4D coaster, the Eajanika. As soon as you walk into the queue area your heart starts racing and the anticipation is unbelievable. Everyone was literally bouncing behind the gates waiting to be let on.


This coaster has seats that rotate 360 degrees, so you have to take your shoes off along with anything that could fall out. Once you’re strapped in the floor drops out and they tip you upside down as you make your way around the first curve. And then it hits you, you are being held in by harnesses and if it breaks you’re going to die. That thought never really left my mind but as I was flipped and twisted and whipped around and around I screamed my head off and enjoyed the incredible adrenaline rush. When it was over (and you’ll have to read the book for the full breakdown of this ride and more) I had tears coming out of my eyes, I was sweating, and very close to just jumping out of my skin or passing out.

It. Felt. So. Good.

It was exhilarating. I jumped out of my seat and even though I do not speak Japanese, and we had not talked at all while waiting in the long line, my fellow riders and I all high-fived, smiled, and threw our fists in the air. I felt close to them. And then I wanted to turn to a friend, someone close to me, and share with them what it felt like. But I was alone, whomp whomp.


One of the reasons these activities are so amazing and fulfilling is because we share them with people we care about (we even get a physiological kick from doing so). They are still fun when you’re on your own, but one thing I’m quickly realizing about these adventures—I need to bring people with me.

I haven’t even gotten to the haunted houses….but I should probably go to sleep, you’ll just have to read the book!

Stay tuned for more! Up tomorrow—the Aokigahara Forest.