Monday, August 4, 2008

Return to the Mountains

I got back to Otaki yesterday evening after about 10 days in Kyoto. It feels great to be back in the mountains where the heat and humidity of the cities are things only talked about in expressions of pity for those sweating it out below.

Otaki has transformed itself once again. The brilliant greens of early summer have settled into deeper, richer shades anticipating (despite the heat) the coming fall. I've heard from villagers that from the end of August the temperatures in Otaki begin to tumble and don't stop until spring comes again.
My time in Kyoto was wonderful. A trip to the ocean with the in-laws. We drove to the Japan Sea, fighting a horrendous downpour that killed 4 in Kobe--the road was a muddy river in parts.
The sea was muddy with runoff, but we ventured in anyway. The final two days brought sunshine and clearer waters. I was impressed by the beauty of the ocean. Most of Japan's coastal waters are shady as far as swimming goes, but the coast in Tango (the town's name) was wonderful.

The best part of Kyoto was seeing my four nieces and nephews, two of whom I hadn't seen for about a year as they have been living in China. A minor highlight was a festival at the Mitsubushi plant in Nagaokakyo where the comedy duo angaaruzu アンガールズ performed.

I feel like a bit of stranger being back here in Otaki--it seems like I've been gone for a long while. However, a walk around the village today helped me get back into the rhythm of life here. I went to S-san's house, whom we asked to watch after our plants while we were away, and found that she had properly tresled our tomato plant. It was looking better than it ever had under Chizuko and I's care. Something to be said about a life farming.

During my walk I also spotted a honey hive sitting on the eave of a wood shed--plenty of bees.
Also received a bag of veggies--green peppers, potatoes, and carrots--from two woman who were preparing for dinner. We talked of the heat of the cities and the blessing of living in the mountains.

I was surprised to see the amount of water that has been released from Makio Dam while I've been away. The agricultural and domestic needs of the Nobi Plain (where Nagoya sits) are met in part by the waters held safe in Otaki. Villagers here have no control over the dam, the level of the water. . .no access to the reservoir. I'm thinking we need to start a campaign, for said amount of donated funds, we'll not piss in the damn lake.

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