Kasagata, Ehime β†’ Tsuchigoya, Ehime

Map of Ehime Prefecture with author’s route between Kasegata and Tsuchigoya highlighted. πŸ—Ί Open map in GaiaGPS β†’

Two lizards have sex on the asphalt. πŸ“ Omogo Dam Park, Ehime

Now that I have seen lizard sex for the first time, I know that it’s contorted and violent enough to be mistaken for predation. Unless of course you’re a trained herpetologist, which I’m not.

A coiled-up blue hose and two old red televisions in a shed overgrowing with weeds.

A closeup of the head of a carved wooden owl. πŸ¦‰ Nakagumi, Ehime

In the medium distance, a man wearing a straw hat rides a mechanical planter in a flooded rice field in front of thickly forested hillsides.

An abandoned gas station whose walls are decorated with colorful, peeling silhouettes of construction workers. πŸ“ Wakayama, Ehime

A mountain cherry tree in bloom in the forest.

The silhouette of Mount Ishizuchi against a deep blue evening sky. πŸ“ Ishizuchi Skyline, Ehime

The highest mountain in Western Japan is not unlike the highest mountain of the Western Hemisphere: in Eastern Japan, where the high mountains are, it would be an unremarkable speck in a sea of snow peaks. But in its natural environment, Mount Ishizuchi is a singular pyramid capping a long ridgeline, a tiny Matterhorn or Minya Konka, obviously the highest point of the land. Dizzy with hunger, my fingers chilled to the bone, I walked up the long road leading to the pass below its summit, and slept under a cold, sparkling mountain sky, a mile above the Inland Sea.

These Walking Dreams is a visual field diary of a 4,300-kilometer walk from one end of Japan to the other, in the spring and summer of 2017.