Japan · Uncategorized

Futami: My Place in the World

Originally published on 20 June 2006. This post os part of a series of “e-mails to home” from my first ever solo trip abroad–to Japan!

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Hello all! If you were hoping it would rain yesterday so I’d stay inside and not have interesting experiences with which to fill your inbox… you’ll be sorely disappointed! Yesterday was positively a day at the beach!

I left my apartment for Futami about 8:15 or so. It’s about 7 kilometers (4.3 miles), and the ride is really great. No big hills, a cloudless sky, an ocean breeze, morning sun shining down on me… I was so thankful. I’d heard it was supposed to be cloudy and rain part of the day, but it didn’t, just like I asked. I love it when God answers prayer with a resounding “YES!”

Even though I stopped to take a couple of pictures along the way, I made it to the ocean in just 35-40 minutes. I looked around at the shops there and noticed a lot of frogs. I didn’t remember frogs from the last time I went to the Wedded Rocks my second week here, but I must’ve just forgotten. I walked along the bridges on the shoreline and looked at several shrines along the way.

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Frog holding pearl
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Frog eating pearl

I walked around the back side of the aquarium by the water and just looked at the ocean. Everything was blue: blue sky, blue water. It was kind of hard to tell where one ended and the other began! But really, the bigness and seemingly endlessness of it is amazing. There were hardly any waves, even on the shore, because it’s so calm out there.

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I walked out on a concrete pier where a man was fishing. He didn’t notice me at first, and I was enjoying just being there at the ocean, taking pictures and being in awe of the wonder of it all. The man saw me when his friend came by to say hello. He offered me an iced coffee in a can, and I took it for fear of being rude. He went back to fishing and I went back to looking around for a few minutes, then I decided to walk on the beach and said goodbye. The Japanese people I’ve met, whether on the train, in the park, or on the pier, have been incredibly friendly to this little white girl just roaming around.

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My fishing friend. 

I walked on the beach and picked up shells for an hour or so. I was the only one out there. The whole beach was there just for me to walk on! Goofy as this sounds, I sang church songs out there as loud as I dared. (I miss singing at church so bad.) It’s so pretty out there. In America, we usually have to pick between mountains or the ocean, but here, they’re right together. Sky meets mountain meets ocean meets sky. The sand is dark and there are quite a few rocks. The rocks are neat-looking. They look marbelized or something. The water was cold and felt so good on my feet. I also saw lots of seaweed and thought to myself, “Do I really eat that stuff and enjoy it?” The answer is “Yes.”

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Time for lunch! While there were plenty of places to eat at the aquarium and the Wedded Rocks, I decided it would be cheaper and probably better if I went to one of the grocery stores. I really REALLY wanted some sushi. I was disappointed at the limited selection at the store, but I’d noticed some sashimi in the fish case at the back, so I got that, an apple, and a rice ball! Rice balls are fun. They are usually triangular and stuffed with something, but since I can’t read the label, I never know until I bite in!

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Sashimi!

I wanted a shady place to eat, and noticed a rest area at the foot of a mountain across from the Circle K, so I ate there. The sashimi was delicious, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover shrimp stuff in the rice ball! (I’ll be sure to get that kind again.) I saved the apple to eat as a snack later, and thought, since I was right there, that I’d make use of the mountain behind me and climb it.

There were 2 paths. One which was overgrown with greenery, and one that looked a little more promising. So I took the path most traveled by. The steps weren’t hard to go up, but there were SO MANY. I’m glad I didn’t know how many there were starting out, though. I might have missed out on something completely breath-taking. It took about 35 minutes or so to get up, but the walk down was only 15. I’m glad I went. I feel like a conquered something big, and I have pictures to prove it! I climbed a mountain!

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The view from the top!

So I made it back to my bike and pedalled back to the Wedded Rocks before stopping in at the aquarium to look for a stuffed something or other. When it rains and the wind blows here, I wish I’d brought a teddy bear or something from home, so I’ve been wanting to find something here. I got a pearl, and It’s so cute! And where is a better place to get stuffed pearls than in Mie, where they have so many?

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Isn’t she cute? 

Around 2:30 I decided it was time to head back home to Ise. I was a little sunburned, but I was so glad it was Sunny and beautiful–this is the best sunburn I’ve ever had! So I pointed the bike toward Ise and set out again. I saw a sign for a shrine and decided to check it out. Why not, right? No one else was there, but it’s a nice place right next to the beach. I don’t really know anything about Shintoism, but I do like the peacefulness of their shrines. Even the most popular shrines have designated areas where you can’t take pictures or disturb anything.

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I got back to the main road and went to the Kodas’ car place (called Sankyo), but I’d forgotten they said it would be closed today! I didn’t feel like going back to the apartment yet, so I turned down the road to go to Route 23. What did I choose for supper? Sushi Lo, of course! I’ll miss all this sushi when I get home. It’s less than a dollar for any 2 of my choice!

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A little piece of sushi heaven!

I got back to the apartment about 6:00 and tidied up until mom woke up in Tennessee and got online so we could talk. Then it was off to bed for me! More adventures await every day!

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