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  • Nigel W. Ruddock

The wild Pacific......

Thursday 木曜日 4th April


Time to leave the environs of Mount Fuji and head down south to the Izu Peninsular (IZU半島) . This is not actually very far as the crow flies (125 Km), but there is no direct public transport connection in this direction (North – South). I was heading for the less well-developed western coast of this peninsular and had worked out a challenging series of rail/bus connections to get me there. My goal, the little town of Nishiizu.

Being SO well prepared for this trip I waited patiently with my luggage at the prescribed bus stop outside Kawaguchiko station this fine morning. Now travelling by bus in any country can be a challenge, and there was a lot of confusion amongst the potential passengers waiting with me, none of whom seem to understand the slightest bit of Japanese. A bus would roll up, a Chinese family would start loading their luggage, only to unload it a few minutes latter when the driver returned. At last the right bus arrived, and I rather smugly presented my (online) ticket. Consternation. Silence. I was not on the seating list. Silence. Then – with a triumphant finger the driver pointed to the date on my ticket – yesterday's date. OMG. I unloaded MY luggage and crept to a corner of the car park to review the situation, gloomily thinking of all the missed connections ahead, and that awful queue for the bus tickets…..

But every cloud has a silver lining. I found a ticket machine which everybody seemed to have overlooked, and bought a new ticket to Mishima. Spirits rise. I spot a bank. It is open. On entering I am greeted as if I was one the royal family and led to a machine which automatically changed my Euros to Yen. The cashier stayed with me the whole time to make sure I was OK. Then said goodbye to me. Wow. Now I am in a good mood. I then walk down the street and find a Lawson store (an ubiquitous chain of 24 hour convenience shops) and try out an ATM. Would my cash card work? It did! Alleluia! I extracted far too much money I was so elated. Now THIS made me smile: At the checkout I paid for my purchases, which included a tin of cat food for my old feline friend Maggie. The assistant nonchalantly popped in a (complimentary) set of chopsticks into my bag……….


Never seen a cat use chopsticks but......

Later that morning, seated in my so-called Express bus, I notice that the further south we drive the more Sakura (cherry blossom) is evident. By the time I am on the local bus groaning its way down the coast It seemed to be everywhere……


I alight (降りる a good verb that) a few hours later, only to all but blown off my feet by a wind coming straight off the Pacific Ocean. I struggle to the sanctuary of the aptly named "Surf Rider Pension", and , after checking in, immediately set off on foot to explore the locality....


There is very little between my bed and the ocean (!)

Driftwood in abundance....


My accommodation felt rather vulnerable.........

This picture shows the river Niishina river just as it meets the sea...

The Tsunami wall here is relatively low...

Tidal scene...


A vast bamboo stem which I wanted to take home with me...

As dusk was approaching, I decided to against eating out in this rather forlorn locality, and opted for a beer and noodles from a local supermarket. A supermarket, yes. Bizarre.....As I walk in I can hardly believe my ears.....piano music....what the....There at the end of the line of trolleys, was a piano, playing by itself....


...and what's more, as I moved between the vegetable and meat stalls I realised that this piano music was being piped all around the supermarket...how Japanese!

That evening, As I settle down for my first night on the coast of the Izu peninsular, the wind screams and howls outside.................



















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