What I learned translating 100 Japanese Mountains

Endless discovery is the perfect slogan.

Today I finished translating the 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata. Here’s some things I picked up along the way.

There’s so much more to Yamagata than I thought there was. There’s so much more to Japan for that matter! And I’ve been living here for thirteen years so far!

Japan’s mountains have dictated so much of Japanese culture it’s insane. Not only were mountains key in dividing regions, meaning they played an important role in wars, they were also key for trade, in providing sustenance for the people, and not to mention the amount of faith put into mountains alone is astonishing.

As much as mountains are to be worshipped, they’re also to be feared. The mountains of Japan are covered in Yokai, supernatural beings that will gobble you up if you make one wrong turn. Yamagata is full of such creatures. At least if legend is to go by.

Mountains were also key in creating cultures. Multiple ones at that. Mountains meant that dialects and local delicacies developed all with their own intricacies.

Yamagata has tons of natural features to explore. Waterfalls, volcanoes, hot springs, alpine lakes, rare flora and fauna, rocks, cliffs, you name it, Yamagata has it!

In all, the most surprising thing for me is why more people aren’t exploring the mountains of Yamagata. Although I have a sneaking suspicion why.

And it’s my job to do something about it!

ENJOYED THIS? HAVE MORE.

MOUNTAINS OF WISDOM

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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

tim@timbunting.com

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