Murakami travel

Spring Riding in a Carriage

Last Sunday, the 9th of March, I dusted and oiled (off and up, respectively) my Air Friday and set off toward the Asahi Super Line. This is a winding, scenic mountain road that is closed due to snow in the winter. One of my dreams here in Japan is to go on a spring ride on a closed-off mountain road once it is passable with a bike but before the road has officially been opened to traffic. I read a Hokkaido ALT’s blog about a similar experience up there, and it sounded awesome. Well, there was still a ton of snow, even a guy taking his snowmachine down the road. It was a wonderful ride nonetheless, maybe 30km roundtrip in about 3 hours, with lots of stops, including one at the Jomon no Sato (縄文の里)which is sort of a history museum from the Jomon period (14,000 BC to 300 BC).  I tried to buy a coffee from the vending machine but it was shut off for the winter.  The guy at the front desk was very nice and made me coffee, even though I had no intention of paying the 400 yen to go look at a bunch of thatched huts and broken pots by myself while daylight was slipping away.  Apparently I was the first person to show up all day.  It made for a nice chat, and I learned a few things, including how most of the artifacts in the place were unearthed during excavation for the two giant dams on the Miomote River a kilometer or two back in the mountains.  Here’s a nicely staged shot of my bike and the enticing view back into the Miomote River valley.

Biking in Asahi

Ok, there was no carriage, but there was riding and it feels like spring to me.  That and an eagerness to flaunt my knowledge of Japanese literature led me to title my post after Yokomitsu Riichi’s depressing short story.

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