Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Weekend Away: Oze

It is very rare that experiences in life live up to the expectations we create in our heads... however, every once in a while the stars align and perfection does actually occur. For me, this was Oze.

Last year I came across a single picture of a wooden walkway amonst a field of gold, and spent two days figuring out where it was. Sadly that was in mid-October, when the brief two weeks when the marsh grass changes color was already over. However, I immediately got in touch with my friends, saying that the next fall, we were going.
And we did! It is a hard place to get to, especially if you don't have a car (thank the kami for Hippy-chan). Strong kanji reading abilities (as all signs are exclusively in Japanese), strong legs and a taste for winding roads are also very helpful when trying to reach the lake. Since it is so remote, there is no cellphone reception or internet. It was like stepping back in time, when you made plans and then hoped everyone turned up at the right time, in the right place.
We stayed overnight, talking for hours and listening to the sounds of the forest. In the morning we saw a large doe chomp away happily at the small lawn in front of the mountain hut. We circled the lake, clambering over roots and gasping every time a sea of golden grass stretched out in front of us. Complete bliss.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

After the Storm

Typhoons rush through the streets, bending signs and scattering potted plants, like rainy vandals.

However, the skies they leave behind, once the winds die down and the clouds clear, make for the most glorious sunsets.

My usual haunt for long runs, the Tsurumigawa, was unusually cluttered with photographers, intent on capturing a gold-backed Fujisan.

Sadly, as I do not run with proper photographic equipment, I had to make due with my phone... which fails to truly capture the incredible fiery rainbow that was the sun's last hurrah before sinking below the horizon.

Monday, September 9, 2013


My good friend from grad school, Dutchy, came and visited me over the summer, after her internship in Korea ended. While work was quite busy, I managed to take a bit of time off to go exploring with her, and introduce her to some of my fave places in Tokyo and Yokohama.

Naturally YaNeSen was a must see, so we wandered about taking pictures of temples and munching tofu tsukune (le yum). Here and there we encountered some of the ginormous cats that populate the graveyard, including one with a taste for sacred water.
Kakigori is the best thing to revive yourself after a long walk in the summer heat. Even the kitsune from the shrine seemed to be asking for a cool wind.