Thursday, August 08, 2013

RTW2013 Leg 9: Hiroshima to Hikari to Miyajima and back

7/13 - Hiroshima

I'm aiming for an earlier start than the 0800 planned in last night, to get to Miyajima before noon, but I still have a couple things to check/set first.  Maa ii; the house isn't going anywhere it hasn't already gone in the last 24 years, and everything else on the schedule has been in place an order of magnitude longer.

Crap, the Carp are on the road.  Will Sanfrecce make it 3 for 3, after Luch's season-opening road trip?  And no... if I can get back to Big Arch by 1900, I should be able to catch the game.  Only problem is that it's kind of way the hell out in the suburbs, and I'm not 100% sure where the tram line to it starts.

I got the 0641 instead of the 0820, which will help with the hike, but it's already steaming out.  Worse, the views of the sea and foliage around here are significantly more nostalgic than anticipated; there is a very real chance that I may go into a full-on Proust fugue if I find some of what I'm looking for.  I'll try to pull through.

- Minami-Iwakuni -

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0920. Fields of lotus, Minami-Iwakuni.

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0921. The Being Wicked Mature About Engrish Tour 2013 continues.

Normally you change at Iwakuni between Hiroshima and Hikari, but chance put me on a train that went one stop further -- and conveniently eliminated the possibility of getting on the wrong line at Iwakuni.  So I pushed on, and get 15 minutes to acclimate to the sauna-like air before spending another hour in the cooler.  I bought extra supplies for the hike with breakfast, but as ever, the main source of hydration will be vending machines on the line of march.

The first thing you learn in Japan is that the roads are backwards, and inattention will kill you.  The second thing that you learn in Japan is that if you have a hat, you wear it, even if it's not helping the heat; if you have an umbrella, you use it, even if it's not raining.  The third thing you learn in Japan is that if you pass a vending machine and don't already have a cold drink, you get one, because you will need it sooner or later.

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0922. Rainclouds getting stuck on the mountains to the north.

I didn't miss the train, but I did end up derping myself off the correct platform initially.  Overthinking again.  Maa ii; no chance for mistakes now, and I'll be boots down in my old hometown shortly after 9 AM.

- Hikari -

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0923. Ekimae.  We had already been gone five years when this was installed.  A lot can change in a quarter century.

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0924. Down Route 188 to the east.  The hike wasn't so bad.

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0925. View up a little brook.

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0926. Donk donk donk.

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0927. Route marker; this is a national highway, much like Route 1 at home.

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0928. Countdown light.  This counts both stop and go, and is wicked useful.

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0929. Palm trees; we're at the latitude of the Carolinas, and on the coast of the Inland Sea, which tends to do what the Mediterranean does for Europe.

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0930. River panorama.

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0931. Up from the bridge; halfway there.

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0932. Lone fish in the stream.

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0933. Heron and fallen water.

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0934. South from the east bank.

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0935. East Hikari comes into view.

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0936. Roadside jizo.

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0937. Bamboo forest opposite.

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0938. The rooftop of the Hikari Oriental Hotel, site of one of my brother's first famous exploits, the same as it ever was.

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0939. Natsukashii suupaa -- again, the same as of old, even to the layout.

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0940. Only the park is different, in that grass has finally grown through the sand.

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0941. Gate to the shrine on the hill above.

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0942. Water fountain, and a tree that may be less than 25 years old.

video23: Still works.  I almost was afraid to try, in case it didn't, but it did.  Sugei nakisou na kibun -- natsukashiisugi.  ;_;

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0943. Up the road to the hills.

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0944. Lawson Station; probably new (ok, "like 20 years old"), as I'd've remembered it otherwise.

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0945. Bunka center.  Easily recognized from the air, this was the piece I needed for confirmation of my map route.

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0946. The well-remembered far slope.

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0947. The thatched house that used to be in front of the bunka center has been moved or destroyed to make room for more parking.  : |.  Japan, folks.

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0948. Recollections past; I didn't spot this until I went further up the hill and came down.

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0949. The house, the steps, the garage -- no mistake.

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0950. Nameplate confirms it.

The reason I missed the house on the first pass is that the course of the road has changed.  There's now kind of a drive, instead of the garage dumping straight into the middle of a blind corner, which made car trips a lot more interesting than really necessary when we were here.  Again, a lot can change in a quarter century.

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0951. Across the road.  The farm is gone, replaced by an impressive official-looking installation.

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0952. New neighborhood map.  Most of this development would have been in the '90s land rush.

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0953. Official sign across the road.  It was only in processing the pictures that I bothered to piece out e-ho-ba from the katakana on the sign, indicating that this may be the San'yo Kingdom Hall.

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0954. Omoidesokkuri no ringo.  They're in the same place in the super, with a margin of error of like 1 foot, and as big as ever -- it's just my hands that have gotten supersized in the last 25 years.

I wrote these up on the bench outside the supermarket, then ate my apple, drank a bit of tea, chucked out the second exhausted pen, and set off back for the station.  Miyajima e!

Or maybe not: I'm low on cash -- as a result, predictably, of stopping in to a bookstore for souvenirs and dropping too much money on weird manga, weirder anime, and rare out-of-print records, which happens at literally every opportunity I'm given -- and need to get that sorted out, but getting a foreign ATM card to work at places other than the post office is a fool's errand.  I need to go back to Hiroshima, drop my crap, probably change my shirt, but first and foremost hit the post office, while I know where it is even.

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0955. Clouds over the hotel.

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0956. Ants swarm an unfortunate beetle.

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0957. Fire department access with mascot.

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0958. In this part of Japan, "expressway" and "one-lane-per-direction divided highway" are not mutually exclusive.

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0959. Somebody's corgi.

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0960. Sandbars in the river.

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0961. Heron plate on the bridge, and some derp's boot.

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0962. Hikari station front.

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0963. Ekiben to ka.  Pocari Sweat, beer, and jaegerwurst.

video24: Inland Sea, from the train back to Iwakuni.

- Hiroshima again -

Well, the postbank worked, which means I don't have to hang around pachinko parlors oyaji-hunter-hunting, so I'm headed out to Miyajima tonight/asap.  I'll probably need another pull tomorrow to get me to Osaka (including the ticket), but not before 5 AM, when the bank part opens.  Things work out.

The sky looks like it's going to detonate any second.  Good thing I'm inside till Miyajima-guchi.

- Miyajima -

On Miyajima I saw a lot of stuff I didn't really appreciate when I was smaller, plus the recurrence of one that I did, and finished off my souveniring in style.

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0964. Turbulent skies over Miyajima-guchi.

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0965. Statue in the traffic circle between the station and the dock.

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0966. More boiling heavens.

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0967. Out into the strait.

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0968. A look over at the island.

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0969. Scourings and beach closer in.

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0970. Torii from the sea.

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0971. Shrine from the sea.  This is more impressive at high tide.

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0972. Shrine hall, still coming in.

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0973. Dropping sun over the mainland.

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0974. Clouds piled high.

video25: The deers.  Don't feed them.

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0975. Or this happens.  They get all up in your shit.

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0976. Deer and rickshaw.

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0977. Along the curve of the beach.

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0978. Up to the pagoda.

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0979. Stone torii, pine, and guardian lion.

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0980. Full face on the other one.

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0981. Another lion and pine in the sand.

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0982. Shrine gate, and out to sea.

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0983. Torii to sora.

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0984. Inside the shrine.

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0985. Pagoda from the shrine grounds.

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0986. Corner of the shrine.

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0987. Long view out to the gate.

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0988. Heron in the mud of the shrine.

video26: A crab waves at the camera. (DNCU)

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0989. A K--'s eye view of the shrine.  Sight lines here were not designed for light receptors placed six feet off the floor.

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0990. A long look out from the center of the shrine.

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0991. Ritual stage in the center.

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0992. Bridge and brook, Miyajima.

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0993. Shrine passage.

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0994. Kanon and pines.

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0995. Culvert stream and twisted pines.

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0996. Classic-style house, Miyajima.

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0997. Gate at the back of the shrine.

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0998. Even here there are voters; even here, it's election season.

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0999. Torii over the back of the shrine.

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1000. Tree and gathering skies.

This inauspicious shot pushed this record into four figures, which is almost too much to organize -- the equivalent, by proverb at least, of a million words.

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1001. Pine and sacred rope.

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1002. Storm about to detonate.

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1003. Another shrine in the village.

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1004. More buildings as the clouds draw in.

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1005. High hall and clouds.

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1006. Shrine and mist collecting on the mountains.

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1007. Pagoda and the first drops.

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1008. Leaning pines, and clouds swollen to bursting.

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1009. Back of the shrine.

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1010. Across to the beach and into the storm.

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1011. The clouds catch on the peaks.

video27: The sudden, explosive violence of a Japanese five-minute downpour.

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1012. Out to sea through the rain.

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1013. Deer taking shelter at the clinic.

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1015. Hat sludge.  The water forces out a disgusting slurry of salts, dirt, cigarette ashes, skin cells, and beer residue that normally clogs the mesh of the fabric.  After ten years, I'm not sure this hat isn't more crud than cloth.  I still need it, so I wiped the gunk off and moved on.

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1016. The sun sinks below the storm.  This one, true to form, blew itself out in five minutes, but the rain continued for another 15 or so at medium intensity.

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1017. The rain band hangs over Miyajima-guchi.

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1018. Traditional fishing platforms in the strait.

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1019. Rain-band and a competing ferry.

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1020. Shrine-form dock of the ferry.

This trip (and, yeah, the end of it in Hiroshima in the basement of the JR station) also got me another two rare caps from Miyajima Beer; at least in the west, bottled beer appears to be itself a rarity.  Probably to cut down on beach injuries; in Hikari, it's not rare to see people going from the station to the beach in bare feet, just going along the city streets.  We'll see if Osaka's any different.

- Hiroshima again -

The plan the rest of the night is to finish the bottled beer, then drink a mug or two on the roof, then go to sleep.  Tomorrow I need to repack everything, then beat feet for Osaka, but I'm right over the station, and by Shinkansen it's pretty quick -- and the hotel is right there by Shin-Osaka station too.  Almost done, but I want to reserve some time to tour Osaka tomorrow, and then the flight back gets me my sixth touch for that point.  It's all coming to an end, and I'll soon be home, moving, and back at work -- if I can figure out how to do that again.

All right!  Great win for Osaka Victory, and Sanfrecce win too to go second!  A Hiroshima team in the top half of the league?  THAT'S UNPOSSIBLE!

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1021. Beer on the roof -- a great end to, all in, an excellent summer day in San'yo.  I visited old haunts, smelled the greenery, blasted the fountain, and sat with an apple and a juice, then saw Miyajima under a downpour, wasted too much money on comics and anime, then finished it off with an unagidon at the train station.  Medetashi medetashi.

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1022. The lights of Hiroshima sparkle through the rained-on glass.  Tomorrow, this may be Osaka.

video28: The start of the summer season.  No idea what this even was, but it is apparently Neptunian or something, zero desire -- in contrast to, say, Short Peace, the new Hakkenden, or what appears to be new Toaru Kagaku no Railgun -- to investigate further.

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