15 December 2010

Lorraine se oondfrikkadelle

I came home thinking that I really need to research some of my favourite foods—specifically the ones that are recipeless and simply reside in the minds of great cooks.

Turns out this involves following them around the kitchen and taking notes. But here is the result! My mother mixed up the sauce and our domestic worker, Lorraine, made her fantastic oondfrikkadelle (oven-baked meat balls).


Sauce
250 ml hot water
1 cube beef stock (about 15 ml)
2 tbsp honey
125 ml red wine
3 tsp Bisto (a kind of gravy powder)
1 tsp mezzina (corn flour)

Dissolve the beef stock and the honey in the water. Mix the wine, Bisto and mezzina together. Add the mixtures together.

Frikkadelle
butter for frying
1 tsp crushed garlic (one or two cloves of fresh garlic, chopped)
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
some sugar
1 medium-sized carrot, grated
1 slice of bread
some milk
500 g beef mince
80 ml instant oats
nutmeg, coriander, cloves (all in powder form)
1/2 tsp salt, pepper to taste
bunch of parsley, stems discarded, chopped
1 big tbsp Mrs Ball’s chutney
braai sauce
BBQ sauce
tomato sauce (ketchup) or a small sachet of purée
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 180°C. (That’s 350°F.)

Melt the butter in a pan. Get the garlic and the onion frying. After a while add the carrots, then later the tomato and a sprinkle of sugar. Once it’s all softened up a bit you can turn off the heat. Fill the time in between with the steps below.

Pour some milk over the slice of bread—just enough to soak it.

Put the meat in a bowl and add the spices to taste, basically a good shake or two of each. Add the salt and pepper, then the parsley. Add the chutney and a dash of each of the sauces. (Braai sauce is used to season meat for barbequing. You can probably substitute and meat-related sauces. These aren’t essential ingredients, they just add some flavour.) Add the egg and mix everything well.

Add the soaked slice of bread to the meat mixture and mix well, then add the vegetables from the frying pan and mix again.

Shape the meat balls and pack them in an oven dish. Pour the sauce over. Bake them for about 30 minutes. Enjoy with mashed potato and greens!

Magazines!

My latest layout joy from the person we’re housesitting for’s things-on-war collection, pictured here with dodgy bedspread photography and early morning window light.

14 December 2010

Books!

I dropped by my doctor’s office yesterday for his favourite thing—a mole removal. He just really likes cutting people or something.

Anyway, gory details aside, I couldn’t help but drop in on Verbatim books at 158 Dorp street across the road.

More about the books I actually bought later, but here are some pictures of the gorgeous ones I was happy just to photograph.

Music, movement and the young child by Heather Gell, Australasian Publishing
Sea magic by Cyril W. Beaumont and illustrated by Wyndham Payne
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Four quartets by T.S. Eliot (great typography—and of course it’s nonchalantly propped up by an old typewriter!)


P.S. The illustrations of Sea magic remind me of a copy of Oscar Wilde’s short stories for children that I own… and I’m having a really hard time finding the specific editions of any of these books online so more about that some other time, too.

13 December 2010

McGregor morning

Today (also my birthday!) we head out to the sleepy, dusty, charming McGregor. The drive was beautiful and we stopped to appreciate the windy view from the Franschoek pass.

Once in McGregor I of course couldn’t get enough of the countryside buildings. It’s also a true testament to the popular local architect Bruno de Robillard’s work that his restorations and designs fit into the town so seamlessly.

We stopped at some cellars on the way back so my dad could stock up on some delicious, affordable wine and lunch in Robertson included a fruit shake adorned with a bougainvillea blossom. Adorable!

12 December 2010

New eyes on Stellenbosch

I’ve been strolling around town, meeting friends for coffee and such, but more importantly, I’ve rediscovered the beauty of this place. I suppose I look at it now thinking “what can I introduce to my friends, students, and teachers back in Japan” and I notice many things—some that even seem completely new to me.

So here are a few random shots. There are some from around home and dropping in on the Gradex exhibition at the department I studied at. We also saw the damage caused by a fire that took the roof and gutted the top floor of the Willcocks building. And I just found a video where my husband's friend Grant talks about helping a woman from the burning building. Nice work!

Then you’ll see some buildings from around Van Rheede street, Church street, Plein street and on campus. More surely to come!


11 December 2010

Paarl wedding

Soon after arriving back home we attended a wedding of some friends in Paarl. The ceremony was held at the Strooidak church and the reception was at Val de Vie. I already started looking at our region with new eyes. Included below are some shots of the church’s gable, a feature of Cape Dutch architecture.

08 December 2010

Longing

Another one of those things that'll make you long for a cycle. Especially when you're sitting, waiting, for your late night international departure from Kansai airport. The Sakura lounge's cheesy Christmas music is also not helping, by the way.

03 December 2010

Cycling in Tokyo

CNNGo.com has a hard time actually producing good content, but here's one of those times it actually worked out. Great article!

Two wheels better than four in Tokyo

Why the Japanese capital is the world's best city for cycling

30 November 2010

Newsletter GO TIME

I've never felt like a very accomplished designer. I blame my four year degree. But really that's a pretty silly attitude. Mostly I thank my four year degree, but sometimes I like to be bitchy about it and tell it that all my shortcomings are its fault. Not true! (But a little? No? I dunno.)

Anyway, I'm working on getting our local newsletter out before I go on holiday. Another one of those things where I suppose I just needed a deadline. Although, students writing tests does help a lot, because I actually have uninterrupted free time. A foreign concept most days.

Here's a sneak preview of completely non-award-winning material, but at least this spread came together very quickly—after I spent what felt like all day yesterday on a single page.


27 November 2010

From Nagahama

I followed the easy return route I had planned, even though some of it had turned out to be the going there route too (doh, again). But hey, I enjoyed using the little roads that run through the rice fields, parallel to the main route, and I got a chance to photograph the things I had seen the previous day but didn’t have the mental capacity to care about just then.

The weather was also amazing. Clear blue skies all the way. Autumn tapestries on the hillsides. Sunshine on my face. And trash by the road. Like it’s some sort of dumping ground that just came about by collective telepathy. Not the first one of its kind I’ve seen, but quite out there in the open. I also liked the pile of bicycles just further up the road.

After that it was a short hill up until I saw the vineyards of Uchiko, then the sports ground, then the gorgeous red leaves by the big pond on the way down, and home (gymnastic V-shape arms).




View Larger Map

Total distance: 23km

P.S. Sleeping late and fantastic breakfast made by fantastic friend, A+.

To Nagahama

So the Friday I took off started out well with the fire & rescue adventure I could witness, as noted in the previous post.

After that I managed very well on route 54 and transferred to the 330 to get to Nagahama via the mountains. Around there I got some shots of keitō flowers 鶏頭 ケイトウ, that my friend and I dubbed “brain flowers” after using them in ikebana (actually just a regular arrangement on left—it had been my first time). There might be a lot of piled rubbish to photograph, but there are also some great gardens!

The roads were very quiet, being the back of beyond, especially once I got on the 330. Just beware of the old man in his Kei truck who seems to be aiming for you, or the Kuroneko driver who is so used to owning the narrow country road that he only notices the cyclist when she is already right next to him about five centimetres from his truck. I’m beginning to think that the single track width of the roads gets the countryside drivers used to driving in the middle of it, even if they can keep a bit to the left. Unless there’s a white line, they drive in the middle, even when it’s wider.

The countryside does however more than make up for it with adorable people. In some part of the vast Yanagisawa 柳沢 I was taking pictures as the postman was making his rounds on his scooter. He stopped to talk, asking either where I was coming from or where I was going—the polite Japanese still comes at me a bit fast sometimes. I told him I was traveling from Uchiko to Nagahama via the mountains. He said oh and take care because it’s steep. He went on his merry way again, only to pop back two minutes later with a chocolate bar for me, for “when I get tired”. That’s the kind of thing I’d like to remember forever.

I was very much enjoying my photographic journey and I was also delighted to find a large area of terraced fields. I’ll definitely go out there in the summer again. It was however in this area where things started to go wrong. As you can see in the pictures, the red arrow route markers are perhaps somewhat aged and not so useful anymore. I did figure out I was way off after a while, and came back down from the mess I was in. Then I was back on the 330, but so desperate to continue that I kept going down when I should’ve taken a right to stay on the route—I figured all this out after the fact with Google maps. So after I had gone very far down I realised I was still in the mountains (not over them at all) and after much head scratching I went a little up the road only to come to a place I had been before. Hours ago. Very bad. By this time I didn’t think that I could regain the lost altitude in time and travel along before it gets dark, as it does, promptly around 5 p.m. so I took an escape route.

I went back to where the 54 and the 330 met up and took the 230 out to Kitayama 喜多山, then continued on to Niiya 新谷 and Ōzu 大洲 and took the 24 out to Nagahama 長浜. The traffic was heavy and the wind from the sea was from the front but I was just happy to make it to my friend’s house before nightfall.

I wasn’t brave enough to spend another whole day in the saddle attempting the route from the Nagahama side, so I’ll have to try it again next year. We’re leaving for our South African home time holiday soon, and when I get back it’ll be too cold and snowy in the mountains for this kind of trip. So maybe come March, I’ll be up there again.


Total distance: Maybe like... more than 45km. Not counting the most lost times.
Lowest point: When I had gone in a circle.
Highest point: When I arrived in Nagahama safe and sound.

P.S. If you want to compare the planned route with the actual one.

Fire & rescue

On Friday morning I head out on my journey to Nagahama via the mountains. More on that later.

But before I even really got out of town, I happened upon this exercise by the fire department. The young men were just lining up as I cycled by and one belted out a loud “GOOD MORNING!”

When I got to the scene, the kind Mr Yamada of the department explained what would happen in the exercise. I was welcome to watch, and he pointed out where I could stand without getting in the way. Someone (a dummy) was trapped in the car, and had to be rescued. They had to use a lot of ropes and climbing equipment. I also saw how they used something (maybe an ultrasonic sound device?) to shatter the window so that the glass could easily be pushed out. They also had to use ropes and pulleys to get the dummy out. They even practiced reassuring “the patient” by asking whether he was okay or telling him to just hold on a bit more.

They had another scenario coming up, but I decided to keep on. Turns out Mr Yamada is from Nagahama. He told me to watch out for the inoshishi on the mountain road.

25 November 2010

Playdate

Tomorrow I'll take the long way round to my friend's house for a sleepover!

I think this'll be the longest distance I've done so far—not very far at all at just under 40km, but at least there's some decent climbing in there too, similar altitudes to the recent mountain mission. I found at least one spot on the terrain map that looks like about 300m going up over two or three kilometres, so... wish me luck?

Weather is looking good—definitely no rain. But some bum-freezing is definitely guaranteed!


View Larger Map

21 November 2010

I mountain

Weather conditions yesterday couldn’t have been better if I had had them made to order and delivered to my front door. It was in fact just as I opened the curtains on the front door side of the apartment that I saw mist being burnt away in a grey puff by the morning sun.

I was nearing the end of the book Invictus (previously Playing the Enemy) and with Shosholoza in my mind I head out toward Mount Kannan 神南山.

In the beginning it was pretty easy going. I was thinking “wow, either this is easy or I’m getting better at this”. I enjoyed the morning sun breaking through the trees, found a little settlement of houses, and took pictures of the ever-improving view.

Then of course the tarred road promptly ended and it was hiking time again. I fought off my pessimism by enjoying things like the experience of being inside a golden light chamber under a ginkgo tree. The always-present snack pack of dried cranberries, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seed also didn't hurt.

I finally reached the top along with some paragliders. They were discussing the wind and the area they would fly in. I was wondering about the wind as well, but more along the lines of “is anyone downwind from me right now, appreciating how much I smell like a dead animal?”

The view was great; the lighting, not so great. I looked at the assortment of towers and passed the paragliders again just as one person took off.

I made my way back to the sign that showed what was happening on the peak and took the other road from there and then there it was! A well-lit view of the whole town! Uchiko 内子, Ikazaki 五十崎, and even a bit in the direction of Ōzu 大洲.

After that, instead of heading down an unfamiliar track (I had initially thought to find a different way down), I found my way back to the route I had come on. Seeking familiarity was probably motivated by my dislike for walking and my bicycle’s non-off-roadiness. As in: has no shocks, is equipped with thin smooth road tyres. The road down can best be described by Japanese onomatopoeia: ボコボコ bokoboko.

I do however understand the appeal of extreme sports now, especially for people who find it difficult to focus under normal circumstances. If you don’t focus, you fall down pretty hard. Or if you fall down in an unfortunate enough way, you die.

So very exciting, but not quite as exciting as making it back to the tarred road without dying. And then it was more wind in my face and afternoon sunshine all the way home!



Total distance: Not really calculatable—Google maps limitations
Lowest point: 60m
Highest point: 700m


View Uchiko, Ehime, Japan in a larger map

Hazy landscapes

As I'm preparing the pictures for the next post, let me share some Photoshop knowledge with you.

The best day of Photoshop class was when I learnt how to fix a blue colour cast in a picture. That's when the blue sky makes everything in your picture look a bit blue. The same goes for tungsten bulbs making things look yellow, fluorescent lights and sick green, and cloudy weather and washed out grey tones.

So all you have to do is fiddle around with levels. This is very much a trial and error process. Go to Image>Adjustments>Levels... or just hit Ctrl L. If you want to make the adjustment in a separate layer, go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels...

In the Levels Panel you will see a funky graph. The far right slider controls light tones, the middle one mid-tones and the far left one dark tones. If you have a flat area on the left or right of your graph, try moving the slider in towards where the graph starts. This is a great way to improve especially under-exposed pictures.

To remove a blue or other colour cast, look at the dropper buttons on the right side of the panel. Choose the middle one and then click around, aiming for the best neutral grey pixel in your picture. After each click just hit Ctrl Z if it doesn't look good. If you can find a good neutral grey thing, your colours should correct nicely. Shadows on white objects are often good.

My problem lately has been hazy landscapes. No matter how I expose them, they just come out pretty darn hazy. So in the picture below I used the black dropper and went hunting for something that should be black; as opposed to hazy grey. Again I found that neutral colours work best, e.g. the dark part of a building, not the dark part of the forest. In this particular example I had to adjust the far right slider as well, and well, here's the result!



You might notice that the trees in front look a bit upset by the process, seeing as how they were the only thing that looked good in the original. But all for the good of the landscape!

19 November 2010

Blue skies and fingers

Tunnel light.
I am dutifully wearing layers of warm clothes but I’m still freezing. And it’s that time of year where the date isn’t quite right or the temperature hasn’t dropped to the correct decimal point for any heating of the school to start happening just yet.*

But it’s also the driest time of year—driest, not actually full-on dry, because Japan in comparison to South Africa is infinitely wet—so there’s sunshine and blue skies. This morning on the bus ride over here the sun was shining straight into the tunnel and the entrance and the light made a sort of giant sleek bullet shape.

So I’m hoping this weather persists so that even though I will be freezing my over-sized behind off, I can conquer the mountain and get some great pictures tomorrow!

Oh and in other news, check out this talk about mountain biking with juvenile prisoners in Israel. I’ll explore mountain biking in the future, but probably not here. I’ve seen some dirt tracks, but Japan has this knack for having tarred roads that go to pretty remote places. Also, I’m just not that brave yet!

*Turns out the kerosene hadn't arrived or been prepared or something, after it was 4°C this morning. But the homeroom teacher of the class I had lunch with took pity on me and the room was heated!

17 November 2010

Other people unbox tech

I unbox my latest book.
So enjoy Atlas of Remote Islands by by Judith Schalansky (translated from the German by Christine Lo). I haven't read one word and I'm already in love with the cover typeface, the orange and blue—as in the logo on the cover and elsewhere, the way the blue ink has been absorbed by the paper, and the fine detail in the island illustrations. I think it'll even scuff in a charming way. Sublime.

14 November 2010

South African food culture

I’ll write some more about school culture festivals later, but for now let’s go with: my one school had a culture festival and my teacher asked me to make some sort of display about something about my country’s culture.

I decided to use food and work in whatever can be associated—an idea I’ve been playing with to use at an international festival next year in January.

I tried to photograph all the flips so in some future life I might produce an interactive digital version of the whole thing.

Oh so if I didn’t mention it, it was aimed at being an interactive display where people would flip over pictures to read some information about it. Thanks to our CIR Doreen Arndt for all her hard work translating my idea into Japanese!

13 November 2010

Year of the bunny

We made a quick stop with a friend of ours on our way to go shopping this afternoon to have a shoot for our nengajō 年賀状, AKA new year’s postcards. 2011 will be the year of the rabbit, so naturally my husband would refuse to do bunny teeth in any of the pictures. Which one should we use for our actual card?

Hike cycle

Today was another great day to forget the map book at home.

I initially thought to tackle Mount Kannan 神南山, one of the higher peaks in the immediate area at 700 metres. As it turns out I took the correct initial turn off, but then I ended up having a blast in one of the junk sheds, after which I explored a park on the lower slopes, the Kannanyama-furusato-no-mori-kōen.

The junk shed at first seemed another place of previous industry, but at the back I found a smoking drum (no pun intended), so presumably some farmers operate around there, and some selection of the machinery is in fact in operation—perhaps the model semi-protected by a laminated lace table cloth. Anyway, maybe somewhere beyond the junk-strewn pathway something is happening. One wants to ask why these things can't be disposed of, but hey, apparently all junk ends up in landfills in the Philippines or something… but still, really? Old toothbrushes? Discarded sparkplugs? I don’t know the answer. I just take pictures it seems. We'll call it exercises in lighting and composition and hope that purpose is meaningful.

The park provided a lot of hike-not-cycle time. In truth I could probably have stuck to the main pathways, but why go around when you can just go up? Albeit on a pretty overgrown pathway. I could enjoy autumn’s arrival, town views, and some fun discoveries. Like a strange open building with a solitary futon. And a man hanging around a car at another nearby building. I had the distinct feeling he lived there. In the car, I mean.

On the way down I found where I would continue on when approaching the actual mountain again. I’ll hope for an actual clear day, instead of the perpetual haze, but let’s not be unrealistic as winter approaches.

Speaking of winter, you can see some of my new Sugoi gear: leggings and arm warmers. I wanted to crack a grammatically incorrect joke at the shop about it being "sugoi takai", but I didn't. That, by the way, is like saying "real expensive" (if you're American and don't know what's wrong with that... that's okay). The kind of thing people say all the time, including during informal interviews for TV, but you might find that the subtitles read "sugoku takai" instead. Well done to those sticklers out there.


View Uchiko, Ehime, Japan in a larger map

06 November 2010

Nuclear Saturday

We visited the Ikata nuclear facility 伊方発電所 near Yawatahama. This amazing excursion was arranged by an ALT and her supervisor. More on this later.

03 November 2010

The watermill festival

This is easily my favourite festival in Japan, and let me tell you, I’ve been to a few. The greatest irony was that on my third visit I finally had a camera there! Year one I only had my phone, year two I had just bought my Nikon D40 off a friend, remembered to charge the battery, but upon arrival I discovered that I didn’t have a memory card. Genius.

The suisha matsuri 水車祭り is held at the restored watermills of Ishidatami. You might recall I cycled there before. This great setting in combination with the goods and activities offered there is the epitome of quaint. Shoot some targets with a slingshot, make crafts, catch and grill your own fish, buy local produce, and of course—EAT. Eat freshly made soba in bamboo bowls, or eat freshly pounded and filled mochi, or drink some hot sake, or… well, the delicious list goes on. And then if after the high school’s taiko performance and the customary mochi maki (mochi throwing and catching) you haven’t had enough excitement yet, go down the bamboo slide.

Held every year on Japan’s national holiday of Culture Day in November!



video

02 November 2010

Quick Misogi

I took a quick run at the village of Misogi after work. Failing light obviously limits picture taking, so excuse the low quality quick-snaps. I took the river route there, and the mountain route back. Since I now have a lamp that I believe my favourite cycle shop guy described as “meccha akarui” (seriously bright) returning in the dark was no biggie. I’ll return some time for a more specific investigation of the famous terraced rice fields—apparently only half important as far as satellite imaging is concerned.


View Uchiko, Ehime, Japan in a larger map


Total distance: 19km

23 October 2010

Hilled

I tackled the hill again this morning with much greater success. I’d mostly attribute it to checking maps more thoroughly and having sunlight.

I also finally did keel over on my bike. I don’t know why one might be inclined to lean towards the foot that is not clipped out of its pedal, but hey. Inevitability. The worst of it is a tiny scratch on my arm and a small patch on my leg that’s feeling bruised. A slow soft fall by any standards. To add insult to tiny injury, however, I noticed a map that would've solved my directional problems last time. Face palm.

Anyway. Once again making my way through Ikazaki I had to give in to my recent rice harvesting obsession. Today I saw how the farmers were taking the rice that had dried off the poles and putting it through machines. The machine seems to slice the head off, where the grain is, and then the dry stalk bunch is pushed aside and the machine jumbles the grains around inside a bit and spits out more chaff.

You’ll also notice that the plant sprouts again where it’s been cut off, but I haven’t seen that this grows up successfully. I think in more tropical parts this second sprouting grows up and can deliver again.

On the hill I passed by the farm that I had reached the last time and noticed that the prevailing manure smell was in fact generated by cows. I also made it to the top where I could see the farmland that I’d noticed on Google maps. There were some persimmon orchards and vegetable patches. You’ll notice the very low electrified fence which is to keep the inoshishi out. 

I was somewhat alarmed to find myself in what sounded like the vicinity of loud shots. I’ve heard these in town before, but obviously they were a long way off. I whistled as I cycled, this time not to ward off the wild boars in the dark, but the people who, I imagined, were shooting at them in the light.

The trip down was of course very speedy. I worked in some more rice shots and a car and a workshop that seem to be used equally often. 


Total distance: 14.5km
Lowest point: 60m
Highest point: 320m

17 October 2010

Pink river

On Friday night my husband and I did what the world should do when they want hamburgers: we cycled the 8km to our neighbouring city’s Moss Burger to collect some dinner.

On Saturday I thought about tackling the hill again, but made my way out in the direction of Hijikawa instead. Not owning a car here means that there are just so many places I haven’t seen. But nevermind the places, I haven’t seen the way there either.

While still in Ikazaki I ran into a fellow photographer acquaintance who pointed out where some cosmos flower viewing was happening. The old ladies there freaked out about the supposedly beautiful being (美人)that had arrived in their midst. Seriously? In my cycle gear? Anyway, I also ran into some kids I’d recently taught. I could remember which school* they were from even if they weren’t sure who I was because the one has the most adorable freckles (obviously not very common in Japan). I’d noticed her at school thinking “you’re freckly like me!”

I stayed off the main route on the opposite side of the river and at one point I went off track up a hill for a bit. I passed some more elementary schoolers and their father walking their dog and I heard the sisters debating whether or not I was “Amy sensei”. After I trundled past I turned and pointed out that I was, in fact, her friend. I’m waiting to hear about when they report this encounter to her.

I made my way back down to the main route, dropped into the first part of Hijikawa, and took the main route back. I passed some wood I had to photograph. I just love me some modular things. I noticed that I’d seen the logging part of the yard from the other road.

Back in Ikazaki the sun was setting and the river was pink.


*Between me and our other ALT we cover ten elementary schools. Also we spend most of our time at junior high. Remembering details about elementary schoolers is hard!

07 October 2010

A rice obsession

My work-at-home-on-a-PhD husband had his daily need for some fresh air, so I took the opportunity to get some close-up shots of the to-be and the already harvested rice. Methods seem to vary, but usually the rice is cut down, hung up to dry, and then processed further later on.


06 October 2010

The hill kills me

On my second trip I decided to rush what I thought to be a doable hill in the neighbouring village of Ikazaki, also part of the greater Uchiko town. After some late afternoon sights—I was attempting this after work—I started to head up. Let’s just say I had some great clipping in and out of my pedals practice and that one must remember that walking is exercise too.

Once the sunshine had left me and even the town announcements seemed a million miles away I discovered more roads towards the top of the hill than I was quite prepared for. After some up and down struggles and indecision I decided to head down the way I had come—and not the other side of the hill as I had planned—because I wasn’t convinced that I wanted to meet an inoshishi in the dark. Can you clip out of your pedals in time to avoid an unfortunate collision with a wild boar? There’s a bad question to be asking yourself as you’re listening to the rustling in the undergrowth.

I’d like to go back up and check out the farmland there—during daylight hours. I managed to make it to the white roofs one can see on the map before turning back.


View Uchiko, Ehime, Japan in a larger map

27 September 2010

Maiden voyage

Having spent a fair bit on finally committing to what is to be my new hobby, I had to jump in and do it.

I cycled to one of my favourite villages in the greater town area and on the way I enjoyed the reigning rice harvesting season. Photography is also a great reason to stop and take a break so that you can ignore how vastly unfit you have become since the onset of adulthood.

I made it to the watermills without falling victim to my clip-in shoes, probably because Ryō at the bike shop in Matsuyama was so patient with teaching me.

Highlights included the wooden Marunouchi covered bridge for which my colleague and I did a translation (her) and English check (me). Then, as mentioned, a lot of harvested rice stalks were hung up to dry. And there was a token pile-of-countryside-garbage location that I’d always wanted to photograph. I didn’t snap the first snake I ever saw in Japan because the long black guy fortunately headed away from the side of the road and into the bushes as I passed.


View Uchiko, Ehime, Japan in a larger map


Total distance: 27km
Lowest point: 70m
Highest point: 340m