Day 9, Mar 8, Matsushima-Ishinomaki 松島-石卷

Heading out to Matsushima bay, I walked into a swarm of tourists. It was Saturday, the weather was fair, the view was spectacular, but I was not in the mood to stay. I did not ask any visitor to film in the scenic location, either. I felt that  was out of the scope of my project.



The two most important oyster farming areas in Japan is Miyagi and Fukushima. I am fortunate to have visited both places. Grilled oyster in a shell is a featured dish in restaurants and on the streets. I found a vendor on my way out of town. Thought I should at least try one. I ordered a big one for 200 yen. The man threw in a small one for good measure. They were very fresh, no condiment necessary. I asked him to film and he kindly agreed. 平野男兒 works at an oyster farm that operates the shop. He is a big guy and it was interesting to see him tending to a small grill. Meanwhile it felt authentic. You don’t get to eat grilled oysters by an oyster farmer very often.



There were stretches of long open fields on the road today. I found a truck selling apples in the middle of nowhere. I always wonder how many people would actually stop in places like this. I tried to eat fruits and vegetables whenever I can to fortify my immune system. I bought 3, and they were big and juicy. It turned out to be a good decision. I did not see another food joint until 4pm.

今日歩いた道は、道沿いにかなり長い間広野が広がっていた。途中、まったく何もない辺鄙な場所で、りんご売りのトラックを見かけた。こういうのを見かけると、実際のところこういうところでものを買う人がどのくらいいるのだろうかといつも思ってしまう。今の私は体の免疫機能を少しでも高めるために、できるかぎり野菜と果物を摂るように心がけているので、そのトラックから大きくてジューシーなりんごを3つ買った。そうしてよかったと後で思った 。その後4時まで食べ物を売る店をどこにも見かけなかったからだ。


I saw a group of kids playing in a graveyard in the afternoon. It was a striking image. They were dressed in bright colors, pink and red. An uncanny contrast against the black and grey headstones, or between life and death. They giggled when I told them I was from the U.S. I asked them to film like it was a game. They were excited. We walked about with the camera, and they took turns. A grandpa came out with a stern face. I talked to him about my work. He didn’t know what to make of it, but eventually softened up after reading my project information. This graveyard was operated by a Buddhist temple, a common practice in Japan. It is probably their family business. At least 2 of the kids are the grandchildren of the man. The graveyard is their playground.



I walked over 25 kilometers today, spending 7 hours in freezing temperature. The right forefoot has been bothering me for a few days, and the pelvis muscles were tightening up toward the end of the walk. This may be my limit for one day. I arrived at the hotel in darkness. The whole building smelled like a kitchen. I was greeted by the owner’s German Shepherd. The dog threw a bouncy ball toward me from the mouth. I threw it back and dog caught it. Maybe that’s his routine. The hotel hosts mostly blue-collar workers around here. The facility is very basic, like a dormitory.

今日歩いた距離は25km。凍えるような寒さのなかを7時間も歩いた。右足のつま先の痛みはここ数日間ずっととれず、今日の道のりの後半 では骨盤のあたりの筋肉も痛くなってきた。このあたりが私が一日に歩ける距離の限界かもしれない。宿に着いた頃には真っ暗だった。宿中全体が食べ物の匂いに満ちていた。私を真っ先に迎えに出たのは、宿のオーナーの飼い犬のジャーマン・シェパードだった。シェパード犬は私に向かって口にくわえていたボールを投げ、私がそれを投げ返すと口でキャッチした。おそらくいつもここの泊まり客とそうしているのだろう。この宿の客のほとんどは、このあたりで仕事する労働者たちだ。設備もとても簡素で、寮のような感じだ。


I was impressed by the dinner, nonetheless. It was hot pot. Just when I thought it was plenty, they brought fried chicken, and then stir fry pork. The chef/owner 三浦啟 came up and asked me if I needed more. “Anything on the menu”, he said. I was stuffed already. Everything including lodging and meals is just 5000 yen. Beer and sake were on the house. The food is not buffet because they take orders. It felt like an old style tavern.



三浦 and I chatted between orders. Once he heard I was originally from Taiwan, he took off his headband and made a deep bow. He said Taiwanese were generous with their donation toward the earthquake relief. Previously I learned from the Taiwanese consular in Tokyo that the amount of civilian donation was 20 billion yen. I felt humbled, though, and thanked him for his gesture. “Tomodachi (friends)”, I said. I thought that was the best word I could offer.


I am not sure if I will have data coverage tomorrow. Don’t be alarmed if I miss a post or two. Happy Woman’s Day, by the way. I’d like to thank my wife for her boundless support for me and for this project.

明日はデータを集められるかどうかわからない。1、2日更新がなくてもどうか心配しないでほしい。そういえば今日は女性の日(Woman’s Day)だった。私と、私のこのプロジェクトに限りないサポートを寄せてくれている妻に感謝を送りたい。

Japanese translation by Michiko Owaki    日本語訳:大脇美智子

Day 9, March 8th, GPS Track on Google Map, 25 kilometers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *