Monday, November 28, 2016

A meizanologist's diary (10)

October 19: a lunch of hisashiburi-sashimi at a beachside restaurant just east of Shizuoka with Mark Hudson, the environmental archaeologist Junzō Uchiyama, and two colleagues. Mark and Project Hyakumeizan were dōhai at London University several eons ago, since when we have hardly met up.

After many years as professor of anthropology at the University of West Kyushu, Mark was recently appointed as professor at the Mt Fuji World Heritage Center and Museum of Natural and Environmental History in Shizuoka. Due to open next year, the museum will be housed in a splendid pavilion, designed by the star architect Shigeru Ban.

A pleasure-dome by Shigeru Ban, with caves of glass
After lunch we took a stroll on the black basalt sands of Miho no Matsubara – the pine grove by the sea is possibly the most far-flung of the twenty five “cultural assets” that together comprise the Mt Fuji World Heritage site. There is supposed to be a fine view of Mt Fuji from here (see below). Alas, after baring just a corner of his triple-crowned head, the top meizan slid behind a raft of cumulus.

View (with Meizan) from Miho: woodprint by Yoshida Hiroshi
Curiously, the world will soon have two Mt Fuji World Heritage Centers – one in Shizuoka and the other on the mountain’s eastern side, in Yamanashi, each supported by its respective prefectural authorities. The duplication echoes the age-old rivalry between the pilgrimage towns of Fuji-Yoshida and Fujinomiya.

You know, a little competition may be no bad thing. I will be watching with interest to see what kind of exhibitions, events and papers come out of the new World Heritage Centres. A revolution in Mt Fuji-related meizanology might just be in the offing.

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