Wasabi Stories vol.10: “Factors that Divide Life and Death”



wasabi stories“Wasabi Stories” is a quotation and summary of a column which touches ones heart or not found on the internet.

It is a Japanese famous person’s story extracted from the NIKKEI news paper.

The purpose in posting the column in JAPAN Style is to cheer you up and to make you feel “it’ was worth reading!”

Wasabi (Japanese horseradish or mustard) is spicy and stimulate your nose and make you teary.

The columns in “Wasabi Stories” hopefully spice your heart and sometimes make you teary!

The stories were originally sent as E-mail Newsletter in Japanese. Some are a little old but we’ll eventually catch up with new ones.



“Factors that Divide Life and Death”

Today’s story teller is a world known solo climber, Yasushi Yamanoi.

His wife Taeko is also a climber, and they sometimes climb together.

Climbing mountain is inseparable from accidents including avalanche.

He has lost some of his fingers and toes due to severe frostbite, and been wounded in bear attack.

While he went through a lot of troubles, the scariest moment he faced ever was when he attempted Manaslu (part of the Nepalese Himalayas) via the Northwest in 1998.

He was caught in a sudden avalanche. By the time he awoke, he was stuck in hard snow.

He couldn’t move or breathe because snow choked his throat.

The only fortunate thing was that Taeko was with him.

Although she was caught in the snow-slide, she wasn’t buried so much.

Since they tied each end of a rope on each body, she could draw the rope in to find where he was.

It seems that he was lucky, but Yamanoi denies it.


“People tell me I was lucky but as such I had reckoned on. Because that area has a lot of dangers of avalanches, I wouldn’t take the route if I was alone. We tied the rope right before the avalanche because by the temperature and the sound, I sensed that it was going to be dangerous ahead. ”


“I never climbed by trusting to luck. Whatever happens, I am ready to cope by myself, and write the worst-case scenario.”

Yamanoi says that while many climbers lose their lives in mountain accidents, he can survive because he has accumulation of great five senses (danger predictive ability), and learned experiences.

“Some people can’t go higher level by not being able to accumulate senses and experiences, others climb with no accumulation by mistake. If my ability at my golden age was ‘10’, that of now is ‘6’. It’s not ‘6.5’. Since I perceive that, I don’t climb ‘6.5’ mountain. ”

The NIKKEI Nov/7/2008 by Yasushi Yamanoi (Climber)


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