Thursday, 21 May 2015

A Change in Scenery - 17th May 2015

I woke up, ate the bread I had bought the day before, drank two coffees, and packed up my stuff. The first mountain of the day was Mt Dodogamine. The weather was perfect and there was a nice new road that took me most of the way up. I was having a break at a rest stop along the way, when this guy got out of his car and came running up to me:

"Please, please, can you check this for me" he said to me as he thrust me his phone that had a message in english displayed on it. He wanted me to check it's grammar. Once he found out I could speak a bit of Japanese he told me he had been driving up the mountain to wash his car at one of the springs (?) and when he saw me he remembered he had the message waiting to be sent to his Filipino friend but wanted to make sure it was correct before he sent it. It turned out the message was fine, and then I ended up speaking with him for half an hour about my trip. He wished me luck and I bid him farewell. Another forty five minutes of walking and I arrived at the top and was greeted by this view:

View from the top of Mt Dodogamine

The weather was just perfect, and down the other side I saw some more fantastic sights:

The trail spat me out at the town of Awano, where I got the shock of my life when the convenience store I was meant to resupply at turned out to be shut! 

Oh god no!

The prospect of going on without food made did not sit well with me, so I ventured into the main part of town and chanced upon a large supermarket where I was able to get even better food, including fruit, which my body very much appreciated. 

At some point yesterday I had passed into Gifu prefecture without me even noticing until today when the landscape changed to mostly cultivated plains with the occasional mountains instead of the other way around. Here is some of what I saw:

Somewhere around the village of Murayam, Gifu

The weather and scenery was just perfect for walking

Lots of large open expanses

I really welcomed the change from mountains and forests
Anyone know this character?

I thought this convenience store in the middle of a rice field was interestingly placed
Lots of perfectly straight and flat roads for walking, The only problem was that the lack of natural protection meant I got sunburnt without noticing it
This old lady stopped and had a chat with me, and although I could only understand every second word she spoke due to her dialect, I managed to gather that she came to the spot I was resting at every day to pray to a mountain spirit
Around 4:30 I came into this farming valley
 The sun was just in the right spot to get a great reflection off the water in the rice fields

Just after I snapped this shot, I heard a man's voice shouting in english "excuse me, excuse me."

I turned around and saw a middle aged Japanese man who looked like he had been working in his garden running towards me. 
"What are you doing here?" he asked slightly out of breath.
I told him about my trip making him a bit shocked I walked all the way from Tokyo. He then asked me to come with him, led me to the front of his house and asked me to wait while he went inside. He came out a minute later with two yakults each, and we sat on his drive way and drank them both down. 
"Where are you staying tonight?" he asked me when he had finished his.
"I planned somewhere down the road, maybe a park, but I'm not sure yet" I replied.
"Let me run it past my wife, but you can stay at out place tonight" he offered. So he called his wife and next thing you know I had a warm bed in my near future, something much more exciting to look forward to than sleeping out.

I wasn't getting it completely for free though, after I put my bag inside he asked me to come outside and got me stripping bamboo shoots and depeaing (I don't know what else to say) green peas that were going to be our dinner while he worked about the garden and cleaned his car. It was a surreal experience, one minute to be walking and the next doing light farm work in one of the most picturesque valleys I had been in so far.

I was too slow so Mr Furato came and helped me finish the job off

His wife soon came home from her volunteer job, and they invited me into their house and asked me to make myself at home. I was a bit conscious about how I must have smelt to them after three days of walking without a wash, so as soon as I could I had a shower and a bath, an absolute godsend, and by the time I got out good smells were emanating from the kitchen where Ms Furato was cooking using the ingredients that had come from their own field. It was a feast when she brought it out; river fish Mr Furato had caught the day before, tempura battered vegetables, marinated bamboo shoots, rice balls, fried chicken and strawberries. I just felt so lucky to be having such nice food and be in the company of such nice people.

Thank you for the fantastic meal!

After dinner Mr Furato asked me what I usually do for food and I told him that I had a stove to heat water up with, so usually instant noodles. Next thing I know he had gone to his own cupboard and had brought me out various instant meals that I could prepare with hot water and put them in a bag for me to take. He was also worried about my vitamin intake, and gave me a bag of Japanese dried plums that would not go bad, and told me to have one or two a day to stay healthy. They also gave me something I think will come in very handy over the next few weeks as it heats up:

I can't believe I hadn't thought of getting one of these earlier
Stunned by their great kindness and with a full stomach, I retired to my futon early and slept better than I had in weeks:

So much better than sleeping out

Distance: 27.2km


  1. Wow, you've had such great luck with all the incredibly kind and generous people you've met. You're very lucky :-) Some of the scenery is spectacular too. Oh BTW I think the word you were looking for is probably shucking for the peas hehe

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