Ok, Part 3, the last day of my Tazawa trip.
Last time I forgot to include some of my favorite pictures of that trip! After dinner, I went outside with my camera and tripod for a bit and took some pictures that I quite like. The most important thing was that I got to see the stars. You don’t realize how much you can miss something simple like that until you don’t have it. You can’t see any stars in Tokyo, ever. I can watch Disney’s fireworks every night, but it’s just not the same. There is something wonderfully grand about stars. They are immense and remote, but they seem so small and near don’t they? Universal is the only way to describe them. It fits in the literal sense, but the more metaphysical as well. Who doesn’t stare at the stars? Maybe the better question is why we all stare at them. They are peaceful; a world that moves silently and subtly in a dim, pleasing light. Maybe it’s the hope they give us; a universe to explore, incomprehensible beauty, and even common ground. We all watch the stars, and it’s nice to know someone is doing it with you, even if they aren’t there. Maybe it’s God; our innate desire to find out if or who He is. I suppose I’ve rambled a bit. All I really wanted to do is show you the pictures.
After a good night’s rest, a shower, and a hearty Japanese breakfast (fish, tea, and something else I can’t remember), I was off again. It was a nice crisp morning, not cold enough to be uncomfortable; crisp. It woke me up, kept me cool, and formed a little frost on the plants.
I had no plans for the day; today was a day to wander. And so I did. I took pictures of gardens, plants, and that day more than any other, people. How do you take a picture of a perfect stranger? There just isn’t a good way; it’s always awkward. So, to avoid that, I just took pictures with people in them, but distant. It is still interesting though.
Three people worked in their field as the sun rose, laughing and talking loudly to each other.
An old woman was walking along a stream.
An elementary schooler on his way to some school function.
An old man on his way up a hill to a shrine. I’ll pause my story here and focus on him.
First of all, this is not a little hill. Given I’m fairly out of shape and was tired from the day before, but it was a huge staircase grandly rising a good 200 feet. After some nice pictures of the town, I was on my way down the hill. As I approach him coming up I get a boisterous “おはようございます!” People were generally friendly, but he was particularly energetic. I say “おはようございます” in reply, and go on my way. Well, back down at the bottom again I notice a sign that says something about a waterfall over the hill. Back up the hill. This turned out to be far more rewarding than I could have ever imagined, largely because I could have imagined what I saw. That old guy walking up the hill; he is still up there. But he isn’t just sitting and watching the birds or the trees, he is riding the zip line. I couldn’t believe it. I looked over and saw what looked like an old man up-side-down holding onto a short zip line. No way. Kept looking, and sure enough, I was right and there he was pulling it back up again for another go. I had no shame this time. I pulled out my camera, set the sights, and waited to take a picture. I didn’t get too close, but I wasn’t going to miss that. So here he is the man of the hour:
On his way up the hill,
On the zip line,
Off to a new adventure,
That was the high point of my day, the rest was just relaxing. I took a leisurely route back to the train station, bough a piece of fried fish with the tail sticking out (delicious and cheap), and waited for my train back. By noon I was at the train station and early afternoon put me in Morioka.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself or what to eat until my bus arrived at 11pm, but luck willed out. Right outside the train station I saw a sign for an art museum, and I thought it would be fun.
Those are some of the paintings they have. Was interesting anyway.
After that I had another great stroke of luck. I just walked past the station again over to where some temples were, but before I got there I found something better; a street of farmer’s market type food stalls. I thought it couldn’t get any better, until I saw a line for free soup. FREE. There are no better words to a college student traveling abroad than “free food.” It was a small bowl and it only wet my appetite. That said, I was more than grateful for it. After that I proceeded to buy a skewer of chicken and two croissants’ filled with cheese and ham. They were almost exactly like the ones you cook at home, mom! I was quite happy to have found those. A farmer’s market in Morioka, Japan had one of my favorite comfort foods of home. With a full stomach, a darkening sky, and tired legs, I settled for the long route back to the station and a few hours of music and angry birds. It was a relaxing way to end a wonderful weekend.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention the waterfall. It was actually just a small spring coming out of a rock. The shrine next to it was a fertility shrine. Now look closely at what is in the little hut and you will how I figured out it was a fertility shrine.