May 07, 2006


Golden Week this year was particularly "golden," or at least it was sunny, warm, and full of memorable experiences. Well, now that it is over and the first humid, rainy day of May has hit Wakayama, I have time to reflect on the experiences of the past few days. On Wednesday, I rode a ferry across the ocean from Wakayama (Honshu) to Tokushima (Shikoku-smallest of the four main islands of Japan tucked in at the southwestern corner of Honshu). I spent three days at Chiiori, a restored thatched roof house dating back to the Edo period (roughly 300 or so years old). Alex Kerr, author of Lost Japan and Dogs and Demons, bought this house many years ago and furnished it with various anitques, wood, and cultural artifacts of a Japan that is slowly fading away. It sits atop a quiet hillside in Iya Valley, a rural farming area specializing in buckwheat soba noodles, a locally made tofu that is quite firm, and old vine bridges that also date back many hundreds of years. While the area of course bears the mark of urban development (the most stark of these being the enormous raised parking lot built at the bottom of the valley, which looks like it is made of Constructs {does anyone remember this toy?} that the government had spare money and time to assemble), it is still one of the most beautiful and natural places I have been to in my travels through Japan. I spent most of the week viewing the hills, reading Mishima's "Confessions of a Mask" and Joseph Cambell's "The Power of Myth," cooking with the folks who run Chiiori, playing with the dog, Jackie Chan, and hiking along the river there. Overall it was a salubrious sanctuary that brought me much needed peace of mind. Now I am back in Wakayama. Lots of classes tomorrow, so I have no more things to say. Here's a few photos of my trip...





Blogger Nikku said...

Jeff, Sounds like a great place and a great trip. It was a beautifully golden week wasn't it....Glad you like the photos. I know you didn't get to take any of your own so feel free to download those or I can send you more. My homie's name is Manabu. Have a great week.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous kris said...

sounds like it was well relaxing. glad it was such a haven for you. nice choice of pictures, calmed me down a little just looking at them. but don't worry, i'm back to being tense now. ;)

10:04 PM  

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