Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Morioka to Akita

I stopped in Morioka for a bowl of noodles.  The city is apparently known for all sorts of noodles: soba, reimen (a sort of cold ramen noodle dish), and ja-ja-men (a take on a Manchurian noodle dish).  My lunch was a bowl of "onion soba" -- a heap of bonito flakes and thinly sliced onion with a light dressing and a little dashi broth on top of cold soba noddles.  Surprising and delicious (surprisingly delicious?).

Morioka was otherwise an unremarkable place, with the small-city requisite shopping arcade, park, and shrine in the center of town.  I call it a city arbitrarily (e.g. as opposed to a town) because the trappings of Japanese city nightlife are found quite easily.  Parallel to the shopping arcade on a side street are the hostess bars (kyabakura) and some establishments that look shadier too.  

Akita welcomes me with wide cultivated fields and paths leading into sylvan hills all around.  Mountains frame the horizon.  Speaking of innate desires and pleasures, I recall an episode from Krista Tippett's On Being that addresses the physiological benefits of expansive views.  I feel calm and well; as far as I can tell, the claim is true..!

Snapshot from the bullet train:

Sitting here, listening to Ludovico Einaudi's In a Time Lapse on Spotify, it's like traveling to a world apart.  It's easy to get lost in revery here. I think about my childhood in Japan, wandering the streets of Kyoto.  Strange, how every step led to where I am now.

Oh, but here comes a load of reality, the snack cart on the train:

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