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Six-month stay in Japan includes hike up Mt. Fuji

by Julia Hart Most people don’t begin a mountain climbing experience late in the evening. However, if like Sunnyside’s Hank Tramel, your goal is to watch the morning sun rise over the peak of Mt. Fuji in Japan, a hike beginning at 9 p.m. in the evening is the only way to accomplish that goal. Unfortunately for Tramel, a monsoon-like storm kept him and his party of friends from seeing the sunrise. Still, Tramel said the climb up the iconic 12,389-foot peak was both awesome and amazing. “It also was a pretty wet trip,” Tramel said. “It took two days for my backpack to dry out.” While climbing Mt. Fuji was a highlight of Tramel’s recent six-month stay in Japan, attending Kyoto University of Foreign Studies was amazing as well. Among his classes were explorations of Japanese cultural and history, including a number of field trips to historic temples and to a stretch of Japanese desert, which runs along the Sea of Japan coastline. Tramel said he loved living in the city of Kyoto. “I’d been there before on short vacations, but this time I got to live there,” he said. Tramel said the city is the country’s oldest and is its center of cultural history. The Japanese emperor once kept one of his many castle homes in Kyoto. “It is a beautiful city and the people are very friendly,” Tramel said. Tramel, who is double majoring in cultural anthropology and Japanese studies, attended the Japanese university as a part of a Central Washington University foreign studies exchange program this past year. Tramel, a 2010 Sunnyside High School graduate, only returned home from Japan as of last week, and is already looking forward to attending CWU in Ellensburg in two weeks time. “But I do hope to return to Japan to live and teach one day,” he added.

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Photo by Photo courtesy of Hank Tramel

Among the many sights and tours Sunnyside’s Hank Tramel enjoyed during his six months in the Kyoto region of Japan was a tour of the famous Kiyomizu Temple.

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Photo by Photo courtesy of Hank Tramel

As a part of Hank Tramel’s foreign studies while in Japan, he prepared for the summer festival Yukata. The gowns, worn by both women and men, are a type of kimono, but not as elaborate. Tramel said he also took a class in the making of wagashi, a Japanese sweet treat served at the traditional green tea ceremony.

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Photo by Photo courtesy of Hank Tramel

Hank Tramel (far right) and friends took the opportunity to climb Japan’s tallest peak as a part of his trip to Japan this past year. Tramel said his Mt. Fuji climb was a night climb, in order to see the morning sun over the horizon.

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Photo by Photo courtesy of Hank Tramel

Tramel said the climb to the top of Mt. Fuji took about five to six hours, but the sunrise was hidden by a deluge of rain and cloud cover. “Still it was an amazing trip,” he said. It was a cold and damp walk down the mountain.

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Photo by Photo courtesy of Hank Tramel

An awards dinner held at a Chinese restaurant with the Chancellor of Kyoto rated high on Hank Tramel’s recent study abroad.

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Photo by Photo courtesy of Hank Tramel

Hank Tramel was one of several hundred foreign nationals from around the world attending Kyoto University during the past six months. “I made a lot of new friends from all over the world,” he said. In the background is the famous Himeji Castle Temple, which is said to be one of the tallest castles in Japan.

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