Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The long drive home

Wednesday 8th August 2012

MP3 track of the day: A small measure of  peace – The last Samurai

Weather: Getting hotter the further south I went (though never too hot); the sun was out and the skies were blue.


The result of last nights 'early night', was finding myself wide awake at 6:15am. I got up, got ready and left the hostel at around 7am (saying goodbye to the happy hostel owner). As it turned out, leaving at 7am was a blessing because, as I approached the Oirase Valley, there were no tourist buses insight. In fact, as I parked up at the north-eastern end of the trail only two other cars were within the car park. I put on my walking boots and strolled along the path leaving my camera behind.

The terrain was just as spectacular as before; without the hordes of tourists the path was clear and the sound of running water was all I could hear. It only took me forty minutes to reach the point I'd got to yesterday; I therefore turned around and got back to where I'd started at 9am. The tour groups were just descending onto the footpath as I returned; I went into an already packed shop, to purchase a chocolate bar and a bottle of water, before returning to my car. I eat said chocolate and changed from my walking boots to my trainers. I pulled out of the car park just as two other coaches pulled in.

Apart from taking a wrong turn, the drive was uneventful. I passed the same scenery, which I've been surrounded by for the last five days (though it is never dull), and rather bizarrely a sign which read 'Christ's Grave'. According to local legend it was Christ's brother who was crucified, whereas he escaped to Shingo (where I was then) and lived until 106 (I didn't stop to take a look at the grave, but apparently there's a sculpture to back-up this claim). At 10:30am I found myself arriving in Hachinohe, a port on the eastern coast of Aomori.

As I drove back and forth, through the semi-deserted city streets, the city looked quite nice; unlike Aomori, Hachinohe did seem to have a little character; plus there was a big shopping center right in the middle of town. I stopped to purchase some new clothes (a few tops) and to have a look around the electrical stores. I left Hachinohe, at around 12:30pm, on 'route 45'; this road would take me straight to Miyako. As I got on the '45' a road sign above stated 'Miyako 142km'; the final part of my journey had begun.

'Route 45' follows the eastern coastline; the sun was shining, the skies were blue and the sea looked very pretty indeed. I only stopped once to get a few photos of the coastline, due to limited stopping places or trees blocking my view. As I went further south the temperature started to climb; Japanese roads have big electronic temperature signs and I could see them rise the further south I went. At around 2:30pm I went into a small village and passed two petrol stations, located on each side of a cross-road junction. This I knew was the furthest north I'd been before this trip. I slumped in my seat knowing that, from now on, no sight would be new to me. It's funny but, at times during my trip, I had wished I was home; now I wanted nothing more than to turn around and checkout another new place. As I past places I'd eaten at, photographed and looked at I knew my tour was at an end.

I hoped that the road would just go on forever however, at 3:30pm, I saw Miyako within the distance. I eventually parked up outside my house and went in. It was a little weird coming home; it's the longest I've been away from my apartment and everything felt different. I turned on the lights, emptied my 'clothes' bag straight into the washing machine and got down to unpacking. The only post I'd received was two bills (lovely) one leaflet and a note saying that someone had tried to deliver something four days ago.

I knew what the delivery was. My passport is due to expire soon and so, before leaving, I had the joyous task of filling out 'Her Majesty's' paperwork, timing it so my passport should have a arrived next week. I phoned the number provided on the delivery sheet, and spoke to a Japanese person who couldn't speak English. I then went round to my landlords where his wife called the guy back; she said to me “... it delivered tonight...”. I thanked her and went back to my apartment to wait.

It only took around an hour before the delivery guy knocked on my door (what service). I thanked him and checked the contents. With no food in the house I headed to my local supermarket where, first of all, I had tea at Moss Burger. It was then, waiting for my order, that I got really depressed; the same tune I'd heard many times before was being played over the speaker system and right then, I knew that my holiday was over. I tried to cheer myself up by saying that there are a few day trips I could do around here, but it didn't really work; my holiday was over for this year. I finished my meal, purchased a lot of food from the supermarket and went home. After unpacking and answering emails I decided to go to bed. The time; 10pm.

That's it from me for a while. Next week I many do a day trip to the Tono Valley and Kamaishi; it just depends on how I do with my other chores. After that it looks as though Christmas will be the next time I may venture out. Until then, and for the final time:

Toodle Pip!

P.S. 'Legend of my tour' award has to go to my car. Okay so the air-conditioning didn't work; however it never let me down, used about £65 worth of fuel (and managed to cover most of Northern Honshu) and climbed up and down the mountains at Towada-ko ten times! Sadly it's tax is up and so, on the 10th, I have to hand it back to the rental company. I get a new car and, even though the air-con will work, it just won't be the same.

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