Etna and Fuji: almost like brothers?

By 23/12/2014 December 12th, 2017 Tales

I would like to dedicate the first article of this blog to our Japanese friends and their wonderful mountain, the Fuji volcano. Who visits Japan can’t help feeling amazed by the organization of its society, the cleanliness and the precision of every part of its community, where everyone does his part – a part that everyone takes really seriously. During my stay in Tokyo I was really charmed by the fish market (fish market of Tsukiji), which I visit every time I go. It deserves a visit, also in the middle of the night.

Even though the market is huge, order and synchronicity reign everywhere. A Sicilian guy that loves his homeland can’t help comparing this scenery with the colors, the shouts and the messy harmony of the much smaller but still wonderful fish market of Catania. What has Japan to do with the blog of a company producing Etnean wines? What has Japan to do with Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Carricante, Grecanico Dorato and the almost extinct Albanello? There is one thing that unites us, the same feeling that animates our small company, SantaMariaLaNave: an unconditional love for a volcano and its culture.

The first time I went to Japan, I took the chance of the long flight, after intense days of work, to sleep; I woke up shortly before the landing and I saw Mount Fuji from the window. For a moment, a feeling of warmth surrounded me, a feeling you can have only going back to your origins, to your roots, to your home. After a few seconds, I realized that the shape of that mountain was different from Etna’s one, more pointed, more “rational”, and I remembered I was on a British Airways’ flight from Heathrow to Narita. I smiled and took two pictures. Those pictures are hanging in my home on a wall dedicated to Sicily; just a few friends noticed my joke and realized that that volcano is not Etna. Once I finished my work and went back to Europe, I started doing some researches on Mount Fuji, always comparing it, unconsciously, to Mount Etna. The following short chart reports some terms of comparison between these two volcanos:

Mount Etna Fuji
Height 3330m 3776m
Last eruption 2015 1707-1708
World Heritage status 2013 2013
Geological age 500-600.000 years 10.000 years

What doesn’t show from a simple quantitative comparison is the strong bond uniting the local people to their volcano. It is an almost mystical feeling that brings people to humanize the mountain and to seek guidance from it, talking to it almost as if they were praying. This feeling is blatant and appears in every talk with a Sicilian born on the slopes of Etna or with a Japanese. It is impossible to contain, as if it was a smoking lava flow! From an agricultural point of view, there are many differences: people do not cultivate Nerello Mascalese or Grecanico Dorato (average temperatures, main plants), but the strength of this feeling and its roots have common ancient origins. Maybe one day there will be a twinning between the winemakers of Etna and the sake-maker on the slopes of Mount Fuji. While awaiting this day, with complete respect of the local cultures, if some Japanese friends would like to test the adaptability of the Etnean vine varieties on Mount Fuji following strictly the current phytosanitary regulations, our company would be more than happy to offer our selected clones of Grecanico Dorato. I hope that, even if on Mount Fuji they don’t produce Etna Rosso or Etna Bianco and the main alcoholic drink is Sake, you will forgive me this digression, which is a token of friendship towards the inhabitants of the land of the Rising Sun and a sign of deep respect for every culture whose roots lie in the fertile soil of a volcano.

Cheers! Kanpai!

Etna - Fuji-6

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