E-mail of Wednesday, May 8th 2013, 23.12 hrs.
The day before yesterday, at the end of the afternoon, we arrived at the house of Chiaki and her family. I was their guest for a few days in 2008 and once again, it was a warm reunion! We were welcomed with a barbecue and have enjoyed the rest of the time. Today we cycled to Nara and back and tomorrow we’ll say goodbye.
I’m rather tired, so this is all you’re going to get ;-). We had such a nice time that it got very late every evening.
Tomorrow we’re heading for Kyoto and then to Eriko.Till next time!
Remy & Gea
E-mail of Saterday, May 11th 2013, 11.13 hrs.
Ohayo gozai masu! (Good morning!)
I know it’s still night in Holland, but here the 11th May is already far advanced, which explains the greeting. We are usually on our bikes before 6.30 and the above is often called out to us.
But now we’re not on our bikes but at Eriko’s. Yesterday, we spent the day in Kyoto and cycled the 30 kilometres to Eriko at the end of the afternoon. It was wonderful to see Eriko again after nearly five years.
It’s very good to see Eriko again and to be with her. She has moved to a larger apartment and we’re now sitting at the laptop in the ‘tatami room’. I’ll tell you more about Japanese houses later (see Japanicities, no. 8).
View from Eriko’s appartment in Ritto
By now, we’re in the second half of our holiday and feel quite at home here in Japan. We’re no longer surprised by anything (having decided not to be) and look forward every morning to what the day will bring. Up till now, we’ve had lovely weather, the day before, it was even 30 degrees, but since yesterday it’s been raining prunes – the Japanese equivalent of cats and dogs.
Eriko has gone to work and we want to make the most of this rainy morning by sending you some photos. The difficulty will be to make a choice. This afternoon, we want to take a hilly walk behind Eriko’s apartment and tomorrow and the day after, we’ll go out with Eriko.
Remy en Gea
Kyoto and more
E-mail of Tuesday, May 14th 2013, 10.53 hrs.
Have you ever sat on the driver’s left in a car? Scary! Especially if you are driving on narrow streets and winding mountain roads. Luckily, Eriko is a very good driver. On Sunday, we went with her to Misono, where the temple and the carillon of the Shinji Shumeikai are (see: www.shumei.org) and also to its Miho Museum (see: www.miho.jp). We spent the day together with two old acquaintances: Hisako and Megumi.
Shinji Shumeika (Shumei) is a spiritual organization comitted to furthering an ideal state of health, happiness and harmony for all mankind by applying the insights of the founder, Mokichi Okada (Meishu sama). Click on the photo's to enlarge:
The Miho Museum
The Miho Museum is unforgettable for its I.M. Pei design, rare, ancient pieces, and natural surroundings. It is one of the architectural highlights of the Kansai region. Click on the photo's to enlarge:
And now for the enclosed photo. Well, the ladies of the carillon class were very surprised, to say the least, to hear of our secret marriage, but Gea in a wedding dress was beyond their imagination. However, according to them, there was a very good alternative which resulted in a visit to a shop in Kyoto where you could hire kimonos. Yesterday was Eriko’s free day and we went there with her to show you the result.
We had a wonderful day. After the dressing-up, we took the ‘Romantic Train’, which took us through the mountains, along the Hozu River, and to the Arashiyama Mountain. From there, we took the boat back. The boat was steered by three men, one with an oar, one at the tiller and one with a pole to fend off from the rocks.
Last night, we went out for dinner with Tarumi, the man who had organised a bike for me in 2008, and his family. Sako, whom I met last time in Japan, was also one of the party. In the evening, at Turami’s house, his wife made a beautiful calligraphy of our names for us.
In the Romantic Train along the Hozu River and back by boat
This morning, with pain in our hearts, we said goodbye to Eriko and soon we’ll be cycling again, on the last stage of our journey to Tokyo. The last three days, we have used all sorts of conveyances (car, train, bus, boat, taxi ...) but haven’t touched our bikes, so that will take a bit of getting used to. Especially as we have a tough trip awaiting us today. However, we are very much looking forward to cycling again, as the route is not only tough but very beautiful. We are going to follow a route that runs from Tokyo to Kyoto, the Tokaido-route, an ancient trade route (see here). We’ll be doing it the other way round, from Ritto, where Eriko lives, via Misono to the south, where, after Misono, we return to the route.
Till next time!
Remy & Gea
Tokaido-route with a real cycle path
It looks as if we were cycling near home, except that there are no palm trees there and no mountains behind the greenhouses. They wouldn’t look bad there, actually.
Click here for more photos of Honshu