Saturday, March 29, 2014

The weather strikes back

I walk through the small roads and trails towards the main road. On my way, I pass lanes of cherry trees blossoming into white and pink wonders. There are also bamboo forests and mandarines and oranges from time to time. I pass small villages built in the difficult mountain terrain. Yet the roads leading to them are as comfortable as a highway except they are about ten times smaller.
If it were in Kyrgyzstan, these houses would be lucky to have electricity, forget about running water but here they probably have internet.
The narrow road goes between villages



Cherry blossom again

On the road I cross the path of many pilgrims. They are dressed in light white fabric with a pointy hat, like the rice workers in Vien-Nam. On the main road I get a ride to the intersection just before Kamiyama. It's a university professor and his family who speak english. It's a joyful ride with their children in the back. At the intersection they give me some shrimp chips, some rice food, then I meet the grandmother who gives me a can of juice, presents just pour from everywhere, I think I won't be hungry for a while.
Classic hitchhiking photo in Japan

Behind the shop where they leave me is a trash bag full of electronics. I really have to check it out and surprise surprise, I find a perfectly functioning PSP game console. It's an obsolete item alright but it has a 16 gigabytes memory card in it, a wifi antenna and it can at least serve as a portable mp3 and video player. And since I am travelling alone, I do need an mp3 player.
You find all kinds of things in the trash in Japan

At this intersection, an old farmer gets out of his way to bring me in the direction of Naka. I get coffee. Looks like nobody is going my direction and I can't blame them since the road gets more perilous by the meter.
A jeep stops, inside two young guys and two girls. Everyone is really shy but willing to communicate, and one of them, Yuna is really sweet. We talk for a while and I forget to watch the direction and soon I end up in the middle of small mountain roads. We stop to meet some of their friends who are all shy but really cool. Except Yuna (another one) who looks like a stunningly beautiful princess-class bitch which would scare me to death if I were in high school but now she was really fun to talk to and a really nice person. I could tell that japanese boys were quite impressed by her, they much preferred the type that you can step on easily.

We stop in the middle of cherry blossom trees

In japan it is so fast to make friends


We get back into the car and talk more and I forget to watch the direction again. After a while I notice that we are passing Kamiyama and we are now heading back to Tokushima! Oh no! I get out at a parking lot and Yuna buys me a bottle of tea; I really get something from every ride.

Getting back to the intersection is not a problem and someone even finds me a truck to drive me 2 kilometers in the right direction. Afterwards however, really nobody goes there. Civilisation is getting sparse, the road is still good but very steep. I get a few rides but they definitly stop after I reach the top of the mountain.
Night starts to fall, rain too and the wind is getting stronger. It's so strong that it breaks my wonderful umbrella. I just can't seem to reach any civilisation and the few cars going through that road all head the opposite direction. I don't want to camp outside in this wind, it wouldn't be comfortable even with a tent so I must reach some civilisation and sleep under some roof. Unfortunately, there is nothing, who would have thought that you can be in Japan and still feel in the middle of nowhere.
Fallen rocks on the road prove that the warning sign is not just paranoia as I always tend to assume (especially in east asia).

The night is pretty thick when I stumble upon a wooden cabin. It was left here by some construction workers, it's built on a small cliff just over the river. It stands on sticks but it seems to hold on against the wind quite well altough I just can't shake the thought of the cabin falling down the cliff during the night. I don't sleep that well as a result but this of course was sheer paranoia; the cabin has been there for weeks, why would it fall apart now?

I loosely repair my umbrella with pieces of bamboo and I continue downwards, to the south of the island. I get a few rides and I also walk a lot. My key ride is Shoko, a woman in her fourties who looks really hot, you can easily cut off ten to fifteen years from every japanese woman. She is a massage therapist who also makes some kind of traditional jam. She has a friend who owns a hostel and tries to get me stay there for free but it's fully booked beause of a festival.
She is going to Kobe which is only a little while in the same direction as me. But she deviates towards Mugi and I have the bad feeling that she is going out of her way out of politeness.
We stop in front of a phone shop she introduces me to a friend who speaks decent english. We talk to a while and then her friend says that Shoko has to go, I should wait a few moments and then get into her car. I don't really know why she wants me in her car and what she intends to do but I have nothing better to do and I am open to all opportunities. So I get in.