Skip to main content

Great Tohoku: The Journey Part 1

And so on this day, May 4, 2011, I embark on my second journey via JR Shinkansen to the Tohoku region. My journey will take me around the "great loop". Tokyo to Shin-Aomori via the Hayabusa, Shin-Aomori down to Akita via the Shirakami Resort Line then finally to Iwate. I will stay overnight in Aktia. The next day I will be visiting Kakunodate, the Kyoto of the East famed for its beautiful cherry blossoms and old samurai houses. It will be my second visit there. The total journey from Tokyo to Akita will cover roughly 1000 km, or about 9 hours! The views from my starboard window will be breathtaking and will cover gorgeous terrain through winding rail lines through long stretches of pristine green valleys and magnificent ocean views of the Sea of Japan.

I was wondering on the way up to Tokyo Station who my neighbor might be on the long train ride up to Shin-Aomori after changing over to the shinkansen. Would it be some talkative old Japanese guy wanting to practice his English? Or nobody at all. The Hayabusa was full on May 4th, so I was bound to sit next to someone. To my surprise it was a very beautiful Japanese lady in her thirties with a good job. She was really pretty, too. Lanky, nice lower jaw bone, great facial structure and white skin. I was impressed. She was taller than average. I think she was around 5'7". She's from Sendai and was returning to visit her family. She smelled so good during the train ride up from Tokyo. She uses Biore bodywash. I could easily pick up that scent from a mile away, which by the way mixed so very well with the the aroma of the nihonshu I was drinking. I love the natural aroma of Japanese women! I really do. Meeting her really made my morning, and it really enhanced my experience for this trip..

Gazing through my large private window at the large expanse of farm land and rolling hills, I could see farmers tilling soil in order to prepare their fields to grow crops. People have simply just moved on from what i can see and are determined to start over again. The JR Hayabusa Shinkansen is operating at optimal speed, it seems. People are eating and drinking sake. I'm in Gran Class. Things are looking fine.

There's no Chernobyl out here, sorry but I must digress here a bit, as mentioned in previous posts, in regards to Ms. ヤコプチュク、スベトラな exhibit your art elsewhere, not in Japan. There is no legacy creating going on here in this country over what happened in another country. Why don't you go to the Russian Embassy and paste those pictures on their walls and not infect Japan with them at the worst possible time. And, while you are at it ask the Russian government to return the Northern Territories so that the Japanese can reclaim their own property. Tohoku is no Chernobyl. I saw your art work on exhibit at the Hibya Art Center in Tokyo, and I wasn't impressed. Japan in no way shape or form is Chernobyl. Sorry to repeat this. My condolences to the victims, but please do not use Japan as an opportunity to garner pity. Your people built Chernobyl. Should I speculate as to why? Japan is rebuilding and moving on and pulling together. To my readership, forgive me if I am sounding like a raving looney, but I need to drive home the separation between the events that transpired twenty years ago in Russia, and now, a former enemy of the United States and Japan. There is no Chenobyl/Japan correlation. End of story!

So sit back and enjoy my usual apotheosis on Japan and the things I love and do best: Eat, drink sake, and dip in gorgeous onsen


  1. During my second, short trip to Japan, which was so nicely paid for completely by my hosts who invited me to lecture on the forensic interviewing of children, I was in Akita for three days. My lovely nurse colleagues took me to Lake Tawaza and to Kakunodate. Sadly, the cherry blossoms were not in bloom but it was a glorious stay, anyway. My two companions and I were treated like royalty, both at the university and with our Japanese friends and, of course, the sakes we drank were superb!

  2. RNSANE, Long time no see. That's awesome. Great hosts! I'm sure you'll never forget that trip. Thx for stopping by.

  3. I miss japan soooooo MUCH! I will be back soon. The trains were amazing!

  4. I love traveling by train it is the best way to get around!!

    Japan Australia

  5. Hi Raven, Thanks for stopping by. Yes. Wait til I make this next entry. I have some great photos.

  6. Japan Australia<<Thanks for commenting. Yes. It is the best way to travel!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Shin-Okubo: Little Korea

So I finally got around to going up there to Shin-Okubo,  the land of Seoul via the Yamanote Line.  Been putting this trip off for years for personal reasons;  I am not a fan of Hanlleyu.      I knew why I came up this way, and for none other reason than the food, and maybe to bask in the nausea of Korean romanticist who steal Japanese Jukujo's souls.    But honestly, I like spicy food and stews and pickled vegetables that challenge my taste buds.    I also love the little funky cafes that line the main thoroughfares and alley ways, each with their own little eclectic menus and interior decor.     This place is Korea.  

Shin-Okuba represents more than just a place to relish in Korean culinary delights and K-pop culture, but a place where Koreans can express themselves through their culture.    You can feel the local vibe in the air as you're walking down narrow walkways and footpaths.    I have personally been to mainland Korea six times, so a lot of the nostalgia was there …

August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, especially  in places like Tohoku and Kanto regions.  August is also  the most contentious month of the year in Japan; with the end of the war and war-related guilt.    Then there's the great exodus back home for millions of Japanese.   Obon season is what it's called in Japan, and it's  where families return to their hometowns to remember their ancestors and to spend time with loved ones.  Gravestones are visited, cleaned, and washed; rice or alcohol is often placed on  miniature altars next to a  headstone.  This is a way for Japanese to reconnect with their roots; a way for them to stay grounded and founded in the ways of tradition and cultural protocol.   

For the foreign tourist, some places will be overcrowded and expensive to reach; for Japanese, this is normal and can't be helped.   Wherever you go there will be lines and h…

Japan Board of Education: Amazing Grace...?

Japan Board of Education Textbook.
Amazing Grace
Shuken Shuppan  Polestar textbook English Communication

Preface:  Japanese / Japan is  one of the leading donors in humanitarian aid around the world.   They have donated billions of yen to charities, developing countries, and startup business to just about every country on the globe.  Some Japanese have even taken matters to the extreme  to the point of poking their noses into hotspot areas like Palestine and Isreal, things the Japanese may want to avoid.  Had Japan shared its borders with an ethnic minority with its own government, the relative peace and calm of this country would be questionable.   No other country can be like nor emulate Japan.   So, where does this spirit of charity and altruism come from exactly?   Why do the Japanese feel they need to save the whole world, while caring very little for its own people?   It's the Board of Education...?  The essay below is one such example of what Japanese kids learn in school,…