Stuck Between Stations

13 03 2009

Tracks, Iwakuni(?), 3/5/2009

And thus we reach the last part of my travel post trilogy, which much like most trilogies had little indication of the fact in its genesis and will also likely be a disappointment. For my final major stop, I went to Tsuwano, a relatively isolated hamlet in the mountains at one of the further ends of the Western Honshu archipelago. Tsuwano touts itself as a sort of ‘Lil Kyoto, a even more traditional and rustic alternative to the culturally rich vein the larger Kyoto possesses. To which I say, eh, kind of.

Tsuwano view 1, Tsuwano, 3/5/2009

Perhaps it was the weather (distinctly overcast) or the hype (my guidebook made Tsuwano seem like the second coming of Christ), but I have to admit I found Tsuwano slightly disappointing. It had some nice areas, which I tried to photograph as much as possible with my rapidly dying camera, but overall if felt distinctly average and more than a little boring- a bit of a come down after Miyajima. Still way better than Albuquerque, though.

Gate, Tsuwano, 3/5/2009

Miyajima featured one prominent shrine that I saw situated on towards the top of a large mountain. The many torii leading from the back portion of the temple was a definite highlight.

Shrine 1, Tsuwano, 3/5/2009Shrine 2, Tsuwano, 3/5/2009Shrine 3, Tsuwano, 3/5/2009

There's hundreds of these small gates lining the path all the way down the mountain.

There's hundreds of these small gates lining the path all the way down the mountain.

Huh. Doesn't look particularly overcast here.

Huh. Doesn't look particularly overcast here.

Sadly, my vacation¬† ended on a bit of a down note. I had planned to get back to Kyoto late Thursday night, but as I mentioned in a previous I was informed when I reached Tottori that I had missed the last train. The only reason it wasn’t completely miserable was that the air temperature was relatively warm, but the incredibly strong winds (I heard some rather large things being blown over) took care of the rest. Crouching in a underground walkway, desperately huddling against my laptop for warmth was admittedly not the funnest experience in my life, but I did meet a really nice guy when I took shelter at the post office. I had a pretty long conversation with him, and he actually stopped by later and bought me a drink. The human brain is a wonderful and terrible thing in that my vacation, warts and all, is quickly being reduced to similar highlights. Freezing a little bit is a fair trade-off between gorgeous scenery and friendly conversation, right? Right?

Music I’m Listening to Now: The Hold Steady (obviously), “Ask Her For Adderall”.