So what about Iwate...? A place I've been through a few times already. This time around I spent a week up there taking in the surrounding areas, and seeing the prefecture from a slower pace. Here's a brief write up on a previous trip through here via the Akita Komachi express bound for Iwate.
Morioka, the capital city of Iwate, is very conservative, unlike its rural towns where people are a bit warmer. You can sense the conviviality in the air more in the rural areas than in Morioka city. It's not a bad thing though. Just takes a little getting used to. The capital itself is rudimentary with no unique skyline other than when you're standing on the 14th floor of the Route Inn Hotel where you command the best view of Mount Iwaki and the JR Morioka Station. It's quite gorgeous at dusk actually. In comparison, North American cities, especially capitals, are livelier and people tend to be more open and less conservative whereas in the country people are less open to outsiders, yet are warm on the outside and suspicious of people they don't know which cannot be concealed with the least bit of feigness. In other words, they are hospitable in a suspicious way and you can sense it. The exact opposite in Iwate where the country folk are very warm and inviting and the city folk are strange and indifferent.
As I was sitting in a Starbucks in the heart of Morioka at around noon I quickly noticed that Moriokans are definitely more conservative and plain looking, like a dry glass of water without the ice. In Japanese the expression that would best describe Moriokan women in particular would be seisokirei, a term loosely used in Japanese to imply a woman that's plain, clean and simply beautiful. Faces are all lightly made up. Modest wear. Overall pleasant. I never notice the men. At least the people here greet unlike in Tokyo, especially the milque-toast young types.
In my next post I will leave Morioka to re-explore the countryside.