Monday, June 16, 2008

tiny tiny island

I spent last weekend on the tiny tiny island of Tobishima. Amelie, Edel and I got to the ferry docks in Sakata at the very last possible minute on Saturday morning - to catch our 8:45am ferry. Little did we notice in our flurry of boarding the boat filled with already drunk fishermen and their gear a 7.0 earthquake that hit the area at that exact time. The engine started and we were off, and it became clear that the sea was very, very angry. We forewent playing cards and eventually, even talking, to pass the time, in favor of concentrating wholly on the horizon line while our stomachs lurched with the waves. I've never experienced sea sickness before, but never had I been on a boat for so long (1.5 hours) in such rough water. There was a TV on the boat, and some kind of report with a map came on about 10 minutes into the trip, which the fishermen were so interested in, I assumed it had to do with fish. It was only when we reached the island and received calls and messages that we found out about the earthquake. Anyway, everyone in Akita seems to be all right and no major damage. However, Ichinoseki in Iwate where my parents and I went to that beautiful gorge and stayed at the ryokan, seemed to be hit pretty badly, in addition to the terrible damage to Kurihara in Miyagi-ken.

Back to the island, this was the perfect girls' weekend, especially perfect for me since I've been cathing up on my Lost and reading Into the Wild. I do believe this is one of the very few places in Japan with NO conbini (convenience stores), rice fields, or pachinko parlors. The island was so small, you could easily bike around it's circular main road in less than an hour. We found a perfect campsite in a protected little area of a shrine near a beach. Actually, we found out later that camping was forbidden on the entire island, but it seems like residents didn't care too much/weren't interested in confronting the gaijins. The popularity of the island was for fishermen, who seemed to come just for the day/weekend hosted by local outfitters. There were also quite a few middle-aged and older couples there for a day hike to see the island's beautiful wildflowers. Bikes were available to "borrow" for free near the dock to explore the island. And so we did.

camp jinja!

our front yard, the beach!

the entrance to our humble abode

our front yard beach

tobishima's main road

tiny tiny island map

amelie and edel

some hardcore fishermen, there were a lot of these

wild echinacea, I think

the famous yamagata cherries! not so sweet yet.

tiny tiny torii

the wild yellow lilies!

"chinese" garbage. the dvd was intact!

random cave entrance, enter at your own risk!

lights on the fishing boats

island ramen - the orange bit is a lily!

downtown tobishima

tobishima from the mainland

some buddhas carved into the coastal rock near Sakata

1 comment:

Mary Ellen said...

Hey Sophie! Great blog! Those lights on the fishing boats are used to attract squid at night-we found out all about them when we were in Hokkaido. Looks like it was a great trip!