Morioka

7/11/07 09:01
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184 miles, and still a ways to go before downtown Morioka, but I'll begin with posting a few interesting things I found in Morioka:

A four-hundred-year-old cherry tree growing out of a granite boulder may be one of the only individual trees with its own Wikipedia entry.

Houonji houses statues of the 500 disciples of Buddha. It's also where renowned author Miyazawa Kenji used to meditate--he lived in Morioka during his adolescence. And I learned a new thing about him: he was an advocate of vegetarianism. Which isn't surprising considering he was a pretty strict Buddhist, and also, he wrote "The Restaurant of Many Orders."

Ame Ni Mo Makezu, Miyazawa's most famous poem.
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179 miles.
In Tamayama-mura, just barely inside Morioka city limits--but I will post about Morioka a little later. Tamayama-mura is the birthplace of poet Ishikawa Takuboku.

Here are some scraps of attempted translations. Everything I've heard about the grammar of classical Japanese has gone in one ear and out the other, so they're wrong.

On the white beach of an isle in the eastern sea,
Soaked with tears,
I gambol with a crab.

Aiming for the wide ocean,
I left my house to weep
For seven days, or eight.

I left with a rusted pistol
To dig up sand in the dunes.

This dune of sand,
Built up in a night by a storm--
Whose grave is it?

Crawling on the sand of the dunes,
Suddenly I remember
The pain of first love.
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
Total miles: 174

In Iwate-machi. One of their specialties is blueberries; their home page sells blueberry wine, among other products. The art museum also has some interesting sights. The scenery is also nice.

--

Somebody blared their horn at me today; I was going along the right side of a road that didn't happen to have a bike lane, unless you count a stripe of white along the crumbling edge of the pavement. And it got me thinking about Dorothea Salo's recent post about names. She was annoyed at the "last name, first initial" convention in a lot of academic papers; and she was reminded that women may use that convention in order not to be penalized for being women (Much as several science fiction writers have done.)

It’s a “go along to get along” strategy, though, and any such strategy has an unfortunate externality: it divides and defeats the universe of female scientists, because it lets the men go blithely on ignoring and undervaluing those they can quickly identify as female by their names.

When I replied to my colleague that using full names may destabilize the implicit sexism of the current system, she answered, in toto, “Some women just want to do science, not be martyrs.”


And that's not dissimilar to cycling along Tryon road. I feel like, should I use another route? (Not that there's another route I can use; Raleigh's urban design is a bit unfortunate in that most of the smaller roads are in subdivisions and don't go anywhere.) Should I stick to the greenway in the park? It's not as if I like annoying people. And I value staying alive more than cycling advocacy. But... the more people think like that, the fewer cyclists there'll be out on the roads, and the more cycling will be stigmatized.

I guess that's why Critical Mass is called Critical Mass. But I feel like sometimes they're annoying just for the sake of being annoying, which doesn't exactly help their cause (I think).
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Total miles: 166.5

In the Okunakayama plateau, which has some ski courses and a dairy company.
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
Total mileage is 160. Have passed through Kotsunagi, site of the Kotsunagi Incident, which is a dispute over land rights that had its roots in the Meiji era.
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
Total miles: 150 (yay!)

You can expect my mileage to go way, way down as I get used to the fact that Raleigh has hills in it. (And a handful of new-bike and riding-in-traffic issues: omg left turn! omg toe clips!)

Even the very hard settings on the fitness center's stationary bike don't really replicate the "pant, pant, out of breath, heart gonna explode" of the hills around here.

In Ichinohe now. Birthplace of Nonaka Minoru, who drew the manga for "Farewell Battleship Yamato" and "Kamen Rider SD," among others.

Incidentally, the particular Aomori-Iwate route I've been following runs roughly through a number of towns and cities called schichinohe, rokunohe, gonohe, sannnohe, ninohe, ichinohe. Literally translated this is 'seventh door, sixth door, fifth door, third door (there might be a #4 I didn't see), second door, first door." And it's been kind of cool to count down the numbers.
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139.5 miles.

I passed by an onsen and thought little of it, because there are lots and lots of onsen, but then I noticed that the onsen - Kindaichi Onsen - had its own wikipedia entry. Why is this? Because its zashiki-warashi is famous. What is a zashiki-warashi? According to Wikipedia:
The appearance of this spirit is that of a 5 or 6 year child with bobbed hair and a red face. The child could be either male or female, though recently the zashiki-warashi are often depicted as girls. Zashiki-warashi can be found in well-maintained and preferably large old houses. It is said that once a zashiki-warashi inhabits a house, it brings the residence great fortune; on the other hand, should a zashiki-warashi depart, the domain soon falls into a steep decline.

To attract and maintain a zashiki-warashi in the home, it is said the spirit must be noticed, appreciated and cared for properly, much in the manner one would raise a child, though too much attention may drive it off. As the zashiki-warashi is child-like in nature, it is prone to playing harmless pranks and occasionally causing mischief. They might for instance sit on a guest's futon, turn people's pillows over or cause sounds similar to kagura music to be heard from rooms no one uses. Sometimes they leave little footsteps in ashes. There are different variations as to who can see the zashiki-warashi; usually this is limited to inhabitants of the house, sometimes to children.

Author Kenji Miyazawa wrote two stories about zashiki-warashi: "Matasaburo of the Wind" and "The Story of the Zashiki-Bokko".
In Clamp's manga title xxxHolic, a female Zashiki-Warashi developes a crush on the main character Watanuki.


Those who read Japanese can find out more over here, though I have to say that there's very little that's spooky about the photographs. I am, regardless, suitably impressed. And the Ryokufuso page is great - you can see the zashiki-warashi's huge toy collection.
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Total miles: 129.5
Current location: Nanbuchou. Main agricultural products are apples, grapes, and pears, so it should be a nice time to visit. There is a peony garden.
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115.5 miles. We pass through the city of Towada, birthplace of (most of the members of) J-rock group Supercar, home of many hot springs and Pony Land. They have a museum and you can ride ponies.
Continuing on highway 4 over the Oirase river...
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(Recap: imaginary biking is where you do real biking, but you pretend you're actually getting somewhere.)

Picking up from where we last left off in Arihata, 107 total miles, and the town of Shichinohe in Aomori. Its main industries are yams, garlic, dairy products, and racehorses. There used to be a castle, but it looks like not much remains. They have azaleas that look really impressive in May. The local specialty is called 'pony' steamed buns, but they do not have real ponies in them. As far as I can tell.
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Total miles: 96
I'm still passing through the southern end of the town of Yokohama--a different Yokohama than the one in Tokyo. Not much to see here besides farmland.

A Japanese travel magazine article with some nice pictures from the Ominato railway line.
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Total miles: 82
In the small town of Arihata. There is an itty-bitty train station. In that area, in May, they have a festival with tons of yellow flowers.
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Total miles: 69
I am near the downtown of the city of Mutsu. There is skiing and hot springs and festivals around here.
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Total miles: 51
I am technically within the Mutsu-shi city limits, but the city itself is still rather far away.
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
33 miles
I arrive in Wakinosawa, which is best known for its monkeys.
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Total miles: 37
Interesting scenery: Nuidouishi.
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
Total miles: 27
Interesting scenery: Hotoke-ga-ura ("Buddha Bay").
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
15.5 miles
Still in Saimura, no pics today. (For personal reference: just south of Chougo post office.

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