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Even More Scootering

Sunday, November 13, 2005
This weekend has been a slow one, no ridiculous haircuts, no TV appearances, not even any gang inductions. I had to content myself with delicious dinners, nice weather, and the internet. I would really be fine with any of those three, but all together they have made for a very nice weekend. I also went out for a scooter ride on saturday, never mind that the "OIL" light is blinking madly, and explored a new part of the island. I need some sort of map of the island on this page so I can highlight where I'm talking about. Either way, I went to the little mountains behind Higashino.

A funny thing happens when I start riding around on the little twisty roads here. I see thing that I think would make a great picture, I slow down, sometimes I stop, but the I decide that I'll take the picture on my way back. The houses aren't going to move, the shadows will only get more dramatic as the day goes on, and so I zip off to the next thing. The problem is that I never end up going back the same way I came. I inevitably make a series of wrong turns that take me to some new beautiful place, then some more wrong turns that put me back on a road I recognize, and so I end up going home via a different road. Someday I'll learn my lesson and just take the picture.

These little roads are so much fun to ride the scooter on.

At the top of a hill, crates filled with Mikans, next to a grove.

It may not be so clear in this picture, but this road is angling down very steeply, and you really have to wonder why they didn't put the guardrail over the the right a few more feet. As it is right now, if your brakes go out, you're going to hit that little bump and then go flying off an enormous drop.

In other news: My cat is getting big!

Back on topic.

The best part about scootering (It's a new verb, pass it on) is when you catch something out of the corner of your eye as you pass, and then when you turn around and investigate, it's some magical place that embodies everything there is to like about living on an island in Japan.

In this case, I saw some mossy steps off the side of the road. When I turned off the scooter I heard the sound of a quiet little waterfall coming from under the steps. The ditch along the side of the road was running with about three or four inches of clear water, and as it went down the hill I had just come up, it was splashing over rocks and making little rapids. I went up.

As I walked up a windy mossy path, I saw a tiny cemetary in front of me. Though it was sunny on the road, the trees and bamboo made it dark and quiet, with a cold stillness in the air. I could hear the water running down by the road, and in the distance I could occaisonally hear someone talking, but around this cemetary, there was silence. Everything seemed to be in soft greens and blues, with pale old bamboo leaning over the space made by the cemetary's clearing. The light coming in through the leaves felt soft and gray.

With all that said, of course, the photos will never capture everything I saw and felt. The best I can hope for is that I get a part of it, a tiny fraction of what it was like.

The moss on the wall going around the plot was thicker than any moss I've ever seen before.

Behind the monuments was a single sculpture of a sleeping figure. I don't know how to describe it, the right words are always impossible to find. That sculpture, up on a dark little hill, covered in moss and worn by years of rain - it's evocative, it's peaceful, and it's beautiful. It's the best grave marker I've ever seen.

As I was turning to go, I saw this tool balanced on one of the walls. The handle was carved with nothing more than a knife and a stick, the wire that keeps the blade on is rusted and fused, and the blade is rough and pitted. There's faint calligraphy on the handle, and I have no idea what it's for. The whole half hour I spent in this cemetary felt surreal, like I was making it up from some fantasy of what Japan should be. I don't know how to get back, because I found it while I was lost, and that's probably for the best. It will stay, for now, as a perfect memory in my mind.