It started with a homecoming. Familiar city streets. Streets I’ve walked a hundred times before, where I can trace the road crossings and vending machines. Hiroshima is close to my heart. Continue reading “Nearer the Smoke (Travelogue Part 2: Hiroshima- Aso- Kumamoto)”
Sunlight through Trees, and how not to Use a Kayak (Summer Camp, Week 2)
(Credit for all camp photos goes to English Adventure’s fantastic photography team. Thanks so much for all these.)
I want to start with a vignette that sums up my week perfectly. Continue reading “Sunlight through Trees, and how not to Use a Kayak (Summer Camp, Week 2)”
The Clouds Live Around Us
The days are long here in the cloudlands, but the mornings are breathtaking. Continue reading “The Clouds Live Around Us”
A Song of Wind and Drizzle
Listen, I’m not saying the ancients were right about Daisen. Despite all the age-old warnings, I doubt that Kagutsuchi, Shinto god of fire, himself dwells on the slopes of the mountain, or that would-be hikers need a yamabushi (syncretic1 mountain priest) for protection. But maybe it would have been a good idea to check the weather forecast first. Continue reading “A Song of Wind and Drizzle”
I Guess the Time of Eternity
It was one of the old wild places. The Shibaki River hurtled down cliffs and over rocks unobserved, through the gorge it had created over millions of years. A few solitary travellers must have reached Sandandaki from time to time, and seen first-hand the white waters cascading over the ledge. Nonetheless, the gorge was remote enough that the Geihantsushi*, a pre-modern agricultural journal, recorded: ‘there is no access to the site to view the grandeur’.
In 1910, photographer Nanpo Kuma arrived in Sandankyo gorge, and fell in love. His efforts and photographs convinced adventurous tourists to visit, and in 1925 the gorge was designated a national scenic spot. I tried to find out more about Nanpo Kuma, but all I discovered online was the same brief summary, and a suggestion to visit the library at Sandankyo Hotel. Anyway, Nanpo, whoever you are, thank you.
I Can’t Believe You Chose The Mountains
So here I am, three weeks into my adventure. I’ll probably write about an aspect of teaching sometime soon, as I’ve been in the job for long enough to share a few thoughts. But this week, I’m just going to talk about exploring the local area.