Search
  • Nigel W. Ruddock

Notes from the Archipelago - a Japanese Autumn 秋 2019

A wind band, a glut of French Impressionism and a Pacific view......


Saturday 9th November 11月9日 (土曜日)


Do you know those novels where the writer starts playing around with the chronology, and you are hijacked away from the comfortably enfolding plot line? I'm going to do just that :

So you are now on the 6.19 suburban train (SBahn) from Langen to Frankfurt. You are on the 19 Bus from Islington town hall to Finsbury Park. You are on the 15.18 RER B from Gare de la Défence to Gard du Nord. It doesn`t really matter. But the smell of your neighbour's hamburger is similar, the chomping mouth of the another passenger, hidden by an atrociously crinkly paper bag is devouring a Brezel, and you have no option but to listen to the exciting details of who is attending the next office meeting....

Put 25 people in a confined space (with wheels so they have to wait for the next station to alight) with not enough seats to go around and observe. It could say a lot about the national character. In yesterday's blog I mentioned the impressively clean train with its respectful passengers. Yes, there you have it. Respect for others. It is the life blood of the Japanese.

But, gentle reader, I now guide you back to the sunny streets of Yokohama on a November morning.

There is no need to rush around when you are on holiday is there? The family house where I stay is on a steep hill above Yokohama, so you sort of roll downhill all the way to the harbour, with or without the local train. The local building site was busy shoring up the hill opposite. I noticed that they were quite fast, and always clocked off at 4pm. Interesting. Mind you, the light goes quite early at this time of year.


The November weather was unbelievable for a poor European like me: Clear blue skies, balmy temperatures. Indeed, I had got the surprise of my life when throwing back the curtains this morning. On the horizon, etched clear as a print, was Fuji-san (Mount Fuji), albeit partially obscured by an apartment block (!). What a start to the day!

Yokohama was full of life - but in no way hectic. People were enjoying a day off and not rushing to the office. Wandering towards the harbour the strains of wind and brass music wafted through the trees. I just sat down and lapped it all in.

Apparently there was a music festival on, and this High School band was just one of many performers. I thought they were pretty damn good. As if this wasn't enough, the Yokohama Art Gallery nearby beckoned with an exhibition with the banner " ルノワール " , which, in a manner of saying is, well, RENOIR. In I go, and quickly realise that this is a cherry-pick of bonbons from the Musée D'Orsay in Paris: Here we go - Sisley, Dégas, Picasso,......and of course Renoir. Like eating a dessert without the main course. Great stuff.......

...and terribly crowded, as you can see from the next photo (Time to kill a stereotype: "Japan is so crowded and busy...")

with little models of the artists`studios -nice touch I thought.

Yokohama seems to be rather a smart place. Wide, leafy boulevards...........


.......old ships preserved for posterity...here the Nippon Maru, built in the 1930´s.....and which regularly sailed the Pacific.....



exclusive hotels......

impressive suspension bridges...............


....and real - life cruise liners docked at the International Passenger Terminal....

As dusk gathers, the lights of Chinatown beckon......(yes, Chinatown in Japan....)....

....plenty to eat here.......

Yokohama has some pretty odd museums as well....I have noted the Cup Noodle Museum for a rainy day.....(!)...I mean, come on, what is a museum about instant noodles all about?...another case of "expect the unexpected in Japan".

A view from a boat out in the harbour - The Minato Mirai (New Harbour)

The sun sets, yes, in the west.....


End of Episode 2 - to receive new episodes, sign up 😉



19 views