Friday, 7 May 2010

At last

After a long snowy winter and a stutteringly slow start to spring the wait for good weather was beginning to tell on the nerves. No vegetables could be planted, and everyone was tired of spending a lot of time indoors, when the outdoors is the natural environment of the people of the mountains. Like them snuffing the air and raring to go, I saw that this was the first day that a longer mountain run was feasible, and I leapt at it.

In the mountains forming the rim of Numazawako, the lake in what was a volcano, the saplings were lifting their heads and springing up from the snow in which they had been bound to the ground, suddenly snapping up and shaking their heads at their release. Even mature trees can be broken or keeled over by the snow, and the winter's casualties lay across the path at intervals. The grandees of the woods, big deciduous trees that have survived hundreds of such seasons, will not now be done in by this one.

The path was hard to find where the snow remained, but it was good to run, stride out and shake off the cobwebs, enjoying the views before the coming of the green canopy. A few insects and small lizards, those princes of the leaf litter,  were signs of the rising temperature and the woods awakening. I wondered where the snakes were sleeping.

The air was sweet and good. From the a rocky promontory the huge open light flowed across the lake and the mountains beyond, into the deep blue of the air.


  1. Hi Geoff, I found your blog purely by chance, while looking for information on Asakusa dake. I have been living in Tadami machi for almost two years now. I am a ALT on the Jet programme. Sadly though I only have two months left to live in this beautiful part of Japan. I am not, however, leaving Japan just yet. I intend to look for more work in or close to Fukushima ken.

    I'm now going to read the rest of your blog to find out your experiences of living in this very rural area. So far I have temporarily been distracted by your photos, most of which are very familiar sights to me, although I have read Tokyo homeless and Flexible thinking, which I found very interesting.


  2. Thanks for looking, Vicky, and sorry I didn't notice your comment until now. You aren't far away - I hope you have been enjoying the Tadami valley as much as we have - I guess so, if you are staying in Fukishima-ken a while longer. You get even more snow than us in Tadami! Have you managed to climb Asakusa Dake yet? It is a great mountain. You can print detailed maps from the link on the right if you need them. You are very welcome to come round for a cup of tea with us while you are still here - you can e-mail me through the contact link at if you would like to get in touch. Cheers, Geoff