Category Archives: Tohoku travels

43 Shimokita: Big beasts in the Big Gap

The torpedo-like tuna fish are the star attraction in the sprawling port of Oma (Big Gap), at the northern tip of the axe-shaped Shimokita peninsula.  Oma and tuna go together like Devon and cream teas; visitors insist on having some.  A University student in the next tent to … Continue reading

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16 Lake Tazawa: Forcing out local flavour

Morning:  Left Yamagata prefecture today, the first of the 6 Tohoku prefectures I plan to visit.  Stopped for lunch at Shinjo, another old castle town.  Wanted local food.  A rare request:  the Tourist Information at the station could not cope.  

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10 Kaminoyama: An outing

Farmer`s wife has kindly arranged a date for me in the next village up. The date is with Dan, a fellow Englishman who runs an English school in Yamagata city.  As matchmaker, the wife accompanied me.  The daughter drove. 

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13 Tsuruoka: Rust along the river

Left Yamagata city. Took 2 hour bus ride through mountains to get to old castle town of Tsuruoka. Adjusting to traveling alone. Out of the habit of talking to people.  Starting to talk to myself.

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12 Yamagata City: Hiding in history

The train station at Yamagata city felt like a little Tokyo, stiff, square and crowded by concrete.  It was a shock.  After 5 days on the farm, I felt part of the family.  Lunatic cousin perhaps, but kin all the same.  Now I was a nobody again.  

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11 Kaminoyama: Joy in Work

Last morning at the farm:  No sunrise showdown in the stalls, the nugget-hunt was delayed until after breakfast. Instead, I accompanied the Green Knight to 6am meeting of local branch of Ronrihojinkai, The institute of ethics (J).  60,000 branches in Japan.  Held in … Continue reading

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9 Kaminoyama: Learning to walk

Finished tying paper bags around grape bunches. A simple job which I overcomplicate by fussing over technical matters.  “Tom, your tying is sloppy!”.  “You`re putting the bag on wrong!”. “Those are not even grapes!”. The enormous size of the grapes still … Continue reading

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