journal · travel

Osaka

Alone in a big city is a shock to the system after a week in the countryside. People everywhere. Escape to small neighbourhoods, a cat cafe, a takoyaki cafe, a Showa-era pancake diner where cigarette smoke lingers in the air. The sales assistant at Truck exclaims ‘sugoi!” when I tell him I’m travelling alone for six weeks around the country. Starting to get the hang of Japanese and understanding how interactions work. Staying far away from other tourists.

journal · travel

Naoshima

Splurging on the island hotel meant late night walks around the museum and the island. A rare sighting of a tanuki that at first I thought was a strange-looking large cat (two Japanese girls confirmed it was a tanuki). Art in quiet places, slow revelations of light by James Turrell.

journal · travel

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.