Ishinomaki- Week 3 (Zak)

Happy New Year! Hope everyone has enjoyed New Years wherever you happen to live. As for me, enjoyed a low-profile celebration with a can of Mountain Dew. Luckily some of the people at my share-house stayed in so I wasn’t alone. We just watched some live TV and waited for 2018 to come. Since the first 3 days of the year are general holidays in Japan nothing out of the ordinary happened this week. Enjoyed some quite time.

January 1 : First sunrise of the year

We decided to go see the first sunrise of 2018. Randomly chose a spot where we could hopefully get a glimpse of the sun rise from the horizon. This coast by the way is apparently one of the few coats that has a sandy beach, so in the summer you can come here and enjoy an ocean beach experience. Earlier we had seen the forecast for today to be cloudy. When we got there we noticed that the direction of the sunrise just happen to be where Dejima Island was (island on the far-side with the orange tint). 

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So we moved a little further to avoid Dejima Island. We got to a new fishing area coast this time. Still we where unsure if we found the right spot, but the horizon was filled with clouds plus we had little time left until the sunrise. Thus we set base here and waited. Got a bit cold waiting out on a pier. I suggest to bring some hot cocoa in a thermal bottle, maybe add some foldable chairs and sunglasses too.

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And lo the sun hath risen from the horizon bringing light and warmth to all. Urra.

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Later that day I visited the nearest Aeon mall to check out the atmosphere of the 1st-day-of-the-year sale. The Aeon mall is near Hebita station which is 2 stations from Ishinomaki station, by car its about a 20 minute drive to the mall. As expected there were quite a lot of people and a lot of sales happening here and there, some as big as 70% off. After coming to Ishinomaki City I had only seen Sukiya out of all the big fast food chains. Finally got a glimpse of McDonalds, Starbucks, KFC…etc here. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

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January 4 :  Short bicycle trip.

Took some time this day to organize all the pamphlets and free papers I collected over the days. Created a general idea of where to visit and check out next. Some of the places are out of my bicycle’s reach, so I have to find someone who can take me there by car. We’ll see how it goes. In the afternoon decided to take a little bicycle trip somewhere. Didn’t have a specific destination so I just decided on a direction and let the road take me where ever. Along the road I saw hundreds of crows flying and sitting on pole lines. Was the first time in my life that I saw so many crows in one place, I believe they are from Hiyoriyama which is a mountain nearby.

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Gradually the road took me nearer to the ocean, and eventually I reached the area that was heavily affected by the tsunami 7 years ago. The surface of the road became more rough and in some areas the pavements faded into dirt roads. Passed by a single tree standing there alone beside the road, it must have been through a lot. Though the tree may be withered hope it doesn’t get cut down.

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I was told that this area was a whole town filled with houses and small neighborhood shops. Just like any other local neighborhood in Japan. Now as I ride along the road across a huge open field with construction sites everywhere, I could only imagine how the people who lived here felt when everything was swept away by the tsunami. I truly respect the people who strongly live on despite what happened and how much they have lost. Soon I arrived at a place called East Japan Memorial Tsunagukan, which is a temporary establishment by Ishinomaki Future Support Association. I was planning to visit Tsunagukan later, but didn’t think I would stumble upon it like this. The establishment was created to convey information about the disaster to visitors and future young generations. I will come here again soon and write about it more.

January 6 :  Local New Year Concert

Went to a local New Year Concert held at a local event space inland. Took about 20 minutes by bicycle. Enjoyed the orchestra, it reminded me that I should try going to some live concerts and feel live music. 

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On a side note honestly nobody here travels by bicycle it was lonely on the road. I was also surprised by the number of pachinko parlors I passed by. I suppose they are one of the main sources of entertainment here. Entertainment is one often stated problem of regional areas where population is declining. Younger people say that there’s not much to do around- no entertainment. But this doesn’t mean that creating more Karaoke’s, bowling alleys, restaurants and shops…etc would solve the problem. Increasing the variety of what you can do definitely helps, but people and the environment or atmosphere might play a bigger role for entertainment. And the attraction of people.

Ok hope to see you in the next post!