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Aizu Wakamatsu

The forested road leading out of Nikko


sumazu nari keri
ame no tsuki

The man in the moon
Has become homeless;
Rain clouded night

Matsuo Bashô (松尾芭蕉) ripped the first two lines from the Tale of Ise.
Sumazu is a kakekotoba meaning either homeless or unclear.

After a cooked lunch in our camper - a Mitsubishi "Town Box" kei van spacious for two with only 4400 kms on the clock, we took off north again for Aizu Wakamatsu. This took a lot of navigating twisting in and out of side roads to avoid the very pricey toll road that led to a local spa. The road wound up a precipitous valley with small towns perched on the cliffs falling into the ravine on either side, punctuated by strings of hydro dams which left the green wilderness somewhat devastated in places.

Finally, as we neared Aizu Wakamatsu there were richer valleys with rice fields and stylish traditional farm houses. In the evening we drove up to another lake and stayed the night in a side entrance to avoid the $50 NZ (Y4500) fees for a simple no frills camp site.

Today we went to the reconstructed castle and 17th century tea house and walked up the mountain where 20 young white tiger samurai bar one disemboweled themselves when they saw the rice fields burning below when the town backed the Tokugawas in the face of the successful Meiji restoration.

We're now off further north in the spirit of Bashō, who is famous for making the Haiku into a Satori, although rumours are rife that he was actually a Ninja agent of the government, reporting on any disaffection in the provinces. Anyway, his most famous work was "The Narrow Road to the Far North" an account of his travels through Tohoku in 1689.

It's very hard to understand the free wireless internet with unlimited bandwidth as a cell phone costs the earth even for a local call. Japanese cell phone coverage is incompatibile with all gsm frequencies, and our loaned Japanese prepay costs Y1000 for about 10 minutes with a 20 day time limit.

A couple leaving a road-side love hotel

Tit face and Tengu penis nose.

Panoramas of Lake Inawashiro

Aizu-wakamatsu Castle

Traditional tea house in the castle garden

The samurai who committed harakiri and the one who survived.

View from the mountain top

A pillar dedicated to Mussolini

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