24 February 2011

The sea route

I left Matsuyama fairly early on Sunday morning. So early in fact that I cycled by two male hosts going home after their night's work.

The rest of the journey is filled with other similar bullet pointy observations.

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  • Obviously there has to be a restaurant named after the janken game
  • Kanji painted on the road can make nice geometric patterns
  • I love many things about the Japanese countryside, but I still really hate agricultural burning—I mean if you can't think of a good reason to ban it, how about visibility on the expressway?
  • Grey weather makes for grey photographs
  • The sea route includes cute pictures of sea creatures along the way
  • Embankments of blooming nanohana are exciting
  • Nagahama really loves its bridge

And then I'll have to break from this boring format to tell you about the weird stuff people were hanging on lines. I was cycling on the opposite side of the river than I had before, just for some variation. First, I passed by a lady and I thought, "my word, why is she hanging up drain dregs?" I mean... "does she use it for gardening... or something!?"

After seeing a truck loaded with more "dregs" and an old lady pushing a wheelbarrow full of it I had to stop when I saw another "washing line" scene. I asked one of the men what the stuff is used for. He explained that it's used as a flavourant in traditional sweets or other food like okonomiyaki and that it is in fact harvested from the river. I think he said you can call it aosaosa, or something else which I didn't catch. I found aosanori online. The English wiki refers to sea lettuce, but I had specifically asked if the stuff came from the sea and the man had said, no, from the river. Anyway, green laundry, there you have it.

Further I was happy to notice that spring is coming, as you can see from the smattering of plum blossoms. There was also a fancy hinamatsuri display at the market back in town.

Oh, and my aloe is blooming!

And hey, how about that weird rickety house? You can't make that stuff up! I have to add that loud enka music was coming from it. It completes the picture.

Total distance: 65km
Highest and lowest points: nothing exciting
Time: about 5 hours

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