October 8: Starting the annual trip to Japan - a meizanologist has to go where the Meizan are - I'm on the Tokyo-Haneda to Osaka-Itami flight and seated on the right-hand side of the plane.
Yet there’s no sign of Japan’s most famous mountain. Has it collapsed under the weight of visitors? After all, their number is said to have tripled since UNESCO designated Mt Fuji as a World Cultural Heritage site.
But then I notice the white hummock in the undercast – that must be where the volcano is lurking. What really captures the attention, though, is the huge stack of lenticular clouds riding on the mountain’s lee side. A colossal pile of crockery juggled on the winds by an invisible prestigitator.
Is there no end to this Meizan’s virtuosity? The plane steers well clear, though - and with good reason. This is a mountain that demands the utmost respect, from climbers and pilots alike.