Continuing on the Shimanami Kaido

I made good time to Kosangi temple and strolled around the grounds, a monument to the creator’s mother. There was a cold, dark cave of buddhas, which was intimidating and frightening, but you exit to the feet of a huge goddess of mercy and feel like you’ve been saved. I bought an island orange and the kind shop owner gave me one extra for free. An elderly, blind dog.

The obaasan and ojiisan who didn’t speak any English. Rain. Alone in the homemade onsen. Obaasan wiped my bike seat dry for me as goodbye. Fog, bike puncture, onwards-facing cyclists bowing hello. The sight of beaches and lush island greenery threw me so much that I missed my turning and ending up cycling all the way into town to return my bike.

Brooklyn

I find this film so comforting to watch, everything is framed just so. And then, there are Emory Cohen’s looks. Phew.

Setting off on the Shimanami Kaido

I set off early, scared that I wouldn’t make it to my accommodation before nightfall. But I needn’t have worried… even stopping constantly for photos I made good time. The roads were quiet, there were only farmers and once, a police car, where the inhabitants got out and said ‘ohayo’. Occasionally steep (for me) climbs punctuated by vending machine drinks and ice cream breaks. The smells were beautiful, almost tropical.

Onomichi

My first introduction to Japan. Tatami bedtimes, mornings secretly opening the shutters to watch the sunrise from bed, the seaside, friendly and relaxed cats, hundreds of steps, ohayo gozaimasu, Lu, ice cream and puddings, teenage lovers sitting on the sea wall under a full moon, kind people.

Drive

The Gosling lean never looked better than in this film.