WITH A big boulder at my back, I sit atop an outcrop with the view and scent of a unique mountain. Nestled over a thousand meters above quaint villages below, in the center of Honshu Island, Japan, I find amidst familiar rhythms, endless variety and nuance. Whether lighting a handful of brittle foliage to start a campfire, following a meandering brook to collect a handful of leafy greens, stalking a goat-antelope, observing a rare luminous moss, sitting on an outcrop listening to hawks chirping above, drinking fresh spring water from cupped hands, or watching the swaying trees in the wind blur my vision – Within the space of close attention, no two moments are alike, life is in constant flux.

Furthermore, the views on this mountain are very unique, for the slopes and dells are chock full of megaliths, petroglyphs, pyramid stones, dolmens, caves, murals and cupules – All, left over from the ancients who lived here tens of thousands of years ago. Apparently there is nowhere else like this in Japan. Within the labyrinth that connects these ruins, I tramp, discover and postulate the possibilities for what life once was here. Nobody knows for certain what exactly the ancients were up to here all those years ago, but according to some it was of an otherworldly magnificence as the ruins have qualities that border on mysticism and prehistoric science and philosophy.