Prepping for My Close Encounter
A man is only as good as his tools. That sounds like a saying. Surely somebody has said that at some point. Anyway, the point is I went to the shops the night before and bought these handy binoculars. Absolutely essential alien spotting gear. Also an essential is a notebook so you can sketch that alien when you see it like Leo on the Titanic. Your notebook doesn’t have to be Pokémon-themed, but like, it should be.
- an audio recorder,
- a map, and
- some bloody passion mate.
Now that’s all sorted, let’s go find us an alien.
But before we go anywhere, my photographer/alien-hunting partner Ryou and I make a quick stop at Shinjuku’s Blue Bottle Café. Yes, I know Blue Bottle is full of basic hipster wannabes taking photos of their coffees.
But I’m no better.
There’s a reason it’s so popular; it’s damn good coffee. ALSO, with its ultra-clean minimalistic-bordering-on-sterile approach to its decor, I feel like it’s the closest depiction we have in this city of what a café operating in the mothership would look like.
Leaving Shinjuku Station for the Unknown
Now that we are CAFFEINED UP. Time to catch us some aliens. Blue Bottle is pretty much attached to Shinjuku Station which makes things convenient. The station at the base of Mount Takao, Takaosanguchi Station, is easily accessible from Shinjuku Station, taking about 50 minutes and costing 390 yen.
I fall asleep pretty much as soon as the train begins moving which is basically standard for Japan. Everyone sleeps on trains, they’re comfortable, for one, and they definitely spray some sort of sleep-inducing chemicals in the ventilation system, there is literally no other explanation.
We arrive at Takao and immediately I’m on alert. It seems to be more popular than I anticipated. Do the aliens have something to do with this? Definitely.
Outside the station, you’ll find this big map that shows multiple trails leading up the mountain, all of which have been laid out by aliens (or humans in cahoots with the aliens) to specifically bypass their alien dens. I know better though.
I see an information desk and shoot my shot. I ask politely, yet firmly, if they could tell me where the aliens are. But they play dumb. I’m not playing easy ball here, so I pull out a map of the area and proceed with my questioning. But they remain tight lipped.
A minor speed hump on the highway of knowledge. I thank them for their time as basic human politeness is what separates us from animal and alien, and buy two of these honey bear cakes as a token of peace. Also cause they look delicious. As I’m paying for my snacks I jokingly ask if there are real bears on Mount Takao. Though to my unease they hesitate and give a nervous laugh.
“Not really… but possibly.”
I fucking hate bears man. Those evil things will tear you apart. It’s entirely possible.
To qualm my nerves I stop by a small store at the base of Takao and pick up some alien hunting juice AKA Pocari Sweat AKA the closest thing to complete human optimization we’ve got on this damn planet. Ultimate hydration.
The initial road up Takao is paved, well-marked, and overall quite pleasant. At this point I’m feeling optimistic. Sitting basically smack bang between Mount Fuji and Tokyo, Takao is known as a “power spot” to many Japanese—a place which radiates natural energy, and attracts spiritual pilgrims en-masse to the area. A logical place for aliens to converge.
These are Tengu. The road up the base of the mountain was full of gift shops selling them. These long nosed goblin demon things are known as tricksters, and despite their penchant for causing fires, possessing humans, and just generally trying to fuck with anyone on the path to enlightenment, they’re my new favourite thing.
Look at them. So cute.
No rest for the wicked though. I quickly buy one and continue the trek up the mountain. I keep an eye out for both Tengu and alien (could they be one and the same?) all the while.
Time to Get on with the Task at Hand
Further up, a scan of the skies provides nothing of significance to report. The greying, rain heavy clouds seem about to burst, and soon the inevitable downpour begins. One would think it ill-advised to go search for aliens on such a shitty day. I beg to differ. This is perfect weather for UFO spotting. Think about it; if you were an alien and wanted to take your UFO out for a spin, would you go out on a sunny clear day where literally every bloke and his dog can look up and see you? No. You’d pick the natural cover of clouds and rain. Chess not checkers man.
As we progress further up the mountain I stop and ask locals and tourists alike about aliens. Everyone plays dumb. I look through bushes, in trees, and continually scan the sky, but E.T remains hidden.
Perhaps it’s my mind that is failing me, my normal waking conscious brain may be naturally filtering out wavelengths that would otherwise come through if I were in an altered state of consciousness. Aliens could be trying to communicate with me as we speak and I wouldn’t know. I decide I need to shift my consciousness and alter my brain waves in order to better receive any incoming communications.
I need to get plastered. Lucky beer is literally everywhere in Japan, and Takao is no exception.
Feeling buzzed, calm, and ready to meet my alien, I depart the little rest stop and continue up the mountain. I soon come across a monkey park, arriving on a special occasion — the birth day of the park’s 78th monkey. Sick.
I feel excited, I imagine myself frolicking with monkeys; climbing trees, rolling around — life is perfect in my imaginary monkey heaven. I see the monkeys communing with me and spilling secrets of alien knowledge, the wisest elder monkey takes me into his inner circle and shares talks of close encounters. It’s all quite wonderful.
Though as always, reality never quite lives up to expectations, and what I find is less monkey oasis, more monkey jail. I’m disheartened to say the least, there’s no way of getting to the monkeys, so I figure out a way to get the monkeys to come to me.
My plan doesn’t work though. It seems they have been trained to resist the allure of beer. Either by aliens, or humans in cahoots, etc, etc.
I sign the guestbook and get the hell out of that monkey Guantanamo. As we progress further up the mountain, the spiritual significance of Takao begins to grow more apparent.
Takao has been a hotspot for mountain worship for over a thousand years, and small shrines and statues begin to dot the way up.
Before proceeding further, it is customary to cleanse oneself, though Ryou tells me that this is not just a physical act. During the process of washing your hands and mouth, you must also have an internal dialogue with the spirits of the mountain, requesting their help in the cleansing and purifying of your spirit.
The Tengu statues up the mountain seem markedly less kawaii than their gift shop counterparts. I still wanna have a beer with one though.
Further along, I find this sacred looking circle that’s definitely used by aliens. Look at it. it’s so aleiny.
Eventually we make it. The top of Mount Takao. I begin to scan the skies. But of course, they continue to hide. Desperate for some form of contact, I stand in the rain and try to channel them; surely if I just concentrate hard enough they’ll feel sorry for me and come say hi.
But after five minutes of being the only dickhead standing in the rain, I give up.
Now the real adventure begins, we decide to stray off the beaten path and go into the wilder side of Takao, if they’re anywhere on this mountain, this is the best bet.
Though after hours of trekking different routes it all begins to seem pointless. I continually scan the trees and sky, to no avail.
I scan the ground below, too, careful to look for signs of extraterrestrial activity amidst the rotting logs and fallen branches.
In a last ditch effort to call the aliens, I heed the words of Junichi Yaoi, known as Mr. UFO in Japan. The 84 year old is a prominent voice on the subject of UFOs in Japanese media, and my research on him informs me that, according to him, often the best way to contact a UFO is to sit down and meditate. So I head up this stream, on a mission to find a rock to meditate on.
I try hard to concentrate on summoning them but by this point I also very much need to take a shit so inner stillness proved a difficult state to achieve as all concentration efforts were directed in keeping whatever was wishing to escape my bowels inside them for the time being.
My Mission to Find an Alien Atop Mount Takao? Failed.
Even Ryou was wrecked. And he has the stamina of a mountain goat. With sundown fast looming, we begin to make the ascent down, unaccompanied by aliens which is annoying, but whatever. I wouldn’t have been able to bring it home to Australia anyway. Imagine trying to explain that one to the interrogatory human herding system that is modern day airport customs.
So, are aliens living on Mount Takao? Possibly. Just because I failed, doesn’t mean you will. If you decide to head up there yourself, here’s some handy tips.
What to Do if You Encounter a UFO
According to the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON, a non-profit organisation “dedicated to the scientific study of UFOs for the benefit of humanity,” there are ten steps one must follow when they’ve encountered a UFO.
③Use a camcorder or camera to record the event.
④If you have a tape recorder, record your description of the event as it happens.
⑤If other witnesses are present, ask them to write or record their observations.
⑥If the UFO left some trace of its presence behind, do not disturb the area around it, and restrict access to the site.
⑦Ascertain a rough estimate of its size.
⑧Try to judge the distance from you to the object, the object’s altitude and its speed.
⑨Should you encounter some type of extra-terrestrial being associated with the craft, be prepared to take evasive action to protect yourself.
⑩Immediately report the event to a UFO research organization for investigation.
For a Close Encounter with the Third Kind Head to Chiba
The mile-high club is one thing, but ‘ave ya ever shagged in a UFO? That’s right. There’s a UFO-shaped Love Hotel in Chiba just to the east of Disneyland. Truly where dreams are made.
If you happen to be lucky enough to actually find an alien on Mount Takao, you’re gonna want to take them straight here.
I’m not saying you should have sex with aliens, I’m not conditioning that. But if you were going to, hypothetically, this would be the place.
The hotel doesn’t have an official website, but they do know how to tweet.
This article was originally published on Tokyo Survival Channel.