Back in the USA

Well, our good intentions for the blog got swamped in the chaos of moving from one country to another. We’re currently in a hotel in DC, and will soon be moving into our new apartment. Settling back into the US is its own adventure, and we’ll write more about that later, but we still have a couple updates to make, in which we can look back fondly on our time in Japan.

In July we rented a car and drove through Tohoku for a few days. The first day we went to Matsushima, which is supposed to be one of the 3 most beautiful views in Japan — there are hundreds of little islands off the coast with picturesque little pines on them. We took a little ferry tour around the islands, but were largely distracted by the gulls, who swooped in to the back of the ferry to grab chips from tourists’ fingers. The islands were pretty badly damaged in the tsunami, and some were reinforced with concrete, but they were still lovely in the light rain.

There is also a beautiful temple just across the street, where the cliffside was full of statues of Kanon, the goddess of mercy. We meandered through the touristy shops also, full of pickles and grilled oysters and icecream, and then took off to go find our hotel. Given the disaster there aren’t a ton of options up in that part of Japan, so we had a little ways to go to find it, and when we did, finally, it was one of our stranger domiciles. The rooms were tiny (even by japanese hotel room standards — Jen made sure the fan was on to ensure we didn’t run out of oxygen in the night) appeared to be built in shipping crates, and featured bunk beds. Dinner was cafeteria style, and we were so completely out of our demographic (a mix of families, blue-collar workers, and motorcycle gangs), that everyone in the room stared at us for most of the meal. For all that, it was clean and comfortable, and had a neighborhood mock-up of a concrete pirate-ship. Up next: a drive up the coast.

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