Japan has an interesting connection with nature. There’s a respect that people have here, that I feel isn’t as prevalent elsewhere. I’ve read some believe this has to do with the earthquakes Japan gets. Constant reminders that we are simply allowed to be here. Back home you get at least some warning with the storm based natural disasters, but that’s not a privilege that you get on an island with multiple fault lines. Without much warning you could be simply swallowed by the earth or sea. I’ve been granted another day (at least made it to the afternoon, we’ll see how this evening goes). There is a trade off for this risk though. The country is stupidly beautiful.
Earlier this year, I did a long weekend trip to Fujiyoshida with some friends. The area –as you may guess from the name– is pretty close to Mt. Fuji. I am curious on how “out of season” we were when we arrived. It was fairly quiet where we were. There’s a mixture of run down shops that look like they’ve been there for 20+ years with a few fancy cafes and shops mixed in. Unfortunately, the town felt like another place that just hasn’t had money since Japan’s boom in the 80’s. A reoccurring feeling. But at the same time, it was a lovely trip outside of the apartment. Surrounding ourselves with mountains that brought a literal breath of fresh air.
There’s a string of holidays that happen at the end of April through the first week of May. Japan calls it Golden Week. There was one year semi-recently where the holidays landed in a way that it was around 10 days of holiday1. This year wasn’t as lucky, but I took off Monday and Friday to get 6 days off work for “price of 2”. More countries should adopt a golden week. I was intending on buying tickets to visit home during this time, but it was still ambiguous for how the government was dealing with travel restrictions. Though it is looking much nicer now, it wasn’t when it would’ve been convenient to buy a ticket2.
We were itching to get back outside and walk about. We visited a place called Okutama. It’s technically part of Tokyo, but it doesn’t feel like it is. The nature and birds you can hear while out here is incredibly refreshing.
We were going for a short hiking route since we haven’t been outside since the Fujiyoshida trip. Not even 30 minutes in, we had to turn back because our path was closed off due to risk of land slides3. We ended up hopping onto the train going the next station over and then continuing our hike from there.
A month or two ago I started eyeing getting a bike. I haven’t rode a bike in over 10 years I think. We both bought bikes this week and rode around the neighborhood. I did a trip by myself today to an area that’s a few stations away. Beyond riding a bike I am not used to riding a bike in a city like Tokyo yet. I definitely need practice riding a bike again. As I tried to get onto the sidewalk I fell over on my bike and have since run out of bandaids. Sore and scraped up, but ultimately okay.
The rest of the week is will likely be me moving much slower to relax, paint, and enjoy the last bit of shine of my golden week.
Part of this was due to the Japanese emperor changed, so not likely going to happen like that again unfortunately. ↩︎
I haven’t checked prices in a bit, but I’m terrified with how the inflation has been going. Converting money to USD at the moment is a huge drop in value at the moment. ↩︎
We should’ve read a sign pointed the closure out earlier, but we skipped right by it. ↩︎