26 February 2011

Oh Honai, oh spring, oh beautiful blue ocean

Getting to Honai 保内 was somewhat dreary—as is evidenced by the lack of pictures—, but at least it was warm! It seemed absurd to go out without any warm gear on in February. But clearly spring plans to be on time this year, and I for one am all for it!

So when I started out this morning I was in my shorts again, but I ended up going for my jacket pretty soon on account of the cold wind. But the sky was blue and the sun was warming the hills of Honai and their terraced fruit orchards. On top of that the plum blossoms were out strutting their stuff against a backdrop of beautiful blue ocean, and there was still nanohana blooming aplenty.

I was also very excited, even before the journey had properly started, to find a trash pile my friend had just been telling me about over breakfast! You know me—I couldn't possibly resist some discarded fridges! They looked like some sort of strange miniature skyline, just as she had said.

When I finally got over taking pictures of obsolete technology and beautiful hills I came to a point where I was nervous for about ten seconds: a pedestrian sign before a tunnel that simply says ここまで. "Up to here." Okay? Fortunately I found the "old road"—the one that was there before the tunnel existed. It was only somewhat hilly and obviously much more picturesque. I also had the road completely to myself, so thoughts of dying were not necessary!

I passed some other cyclists on the ocean route. I love it when we have a head nod between us, cycling making us instantly worthy of each other's acquaintance, like owning a dog or having small children.

The wind was quite strong in some places, as it had been the day before, but it wasn't all that troublesome. Before I knew it I was in Nagahama 長浜. Apparently a colleague of my friend in Honai likes to joke that he lives in Long Beach (Naga長 Hama浜). Get it?

Anyway, I was ready for some lunch, a hot shower and the afternoon's flower arranging! But first I specially recorded a shaky video clip of crossing the Nagahama bridge, just for you!

Total distance: 22km
Time: about 1 hour 30 minutes
Highest point: 400m
Lowest point: NONE! It's spring afterall.

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