Marumori, Miyagi → Zaō, Miyagi

Map of Miyagi prefecture with author’s route from Marumori to Zaō highlighted. 🗺 Open map in GaiaGPS →

The early morning sun through a thick grove by the roof of a Japanese shrine.

A yellow dragonfly emerges from its nymph. 📍 Marumori, Miyagi

An attack helicopter at the last stage of assembly, the imago of a dragonfly dries its wings after emerging from its nymph to turn into a menace of the air from a menace of rice paddies. I suspect many a small insect would wish for miniature Stinger missiles.

On a warehouse door marked with the word 安心, Japanese for peace of mind, a ray of light combines with the painting of an owl to make it appear that the light is coming from the owl’s bulging right eye. 📍 Marumori, Miyagi

The Mayan architects of Chichen Itza on the Yucatán may be gone, but their skills remain with the warehouse builders of Miyagi. As the early morning July sun struck a corrugated metal door, a sleepy owl with a bulging right eye was turned into a laser-eye owl, not unlike the feathered serpent crawling down the stairs of the Temple of Kukulcán at the equinoxes.

The shopkeeper next door knew what I didn’t, and a few hours later, as I walked between the fields under an increasingly laser-like sun, I regretted turning down his offer of a straw hat.

The sun-damaged green paint on the hood of an old car.

Closeup of two Japanese wagyu cattle.

A Japanese woman, Horigome Kaoru, the owner of the cattle, smiles into the camera. 📍 Kakuda, Miyagi

We have lived here for 20 generations,” Horigome Moemi said. It’s a wonderful life.” On the rich, green plains of southern Miyagi, I sat with her and her mother, Kaoru, in their airy farmhouse, drinking tea, thumbing through a Ghanaian edition of one of Kaoru’s many books. Their wagyu cattle, black velvet in an old wooden barn, passed the afternoon heat in their postprandial bliss. You could live here forever, among the hydrangeas planted by Moemi’s grandfather. I walked towards white snows and green mountains, under Shinkansen floating across the heavy evening air, silent, ghostlike, dreaming of farmhouses in a primordial land. Later, a magnitude 4 earthquake hit the bathhouse like a passing army column.

Looking out against the late afternoon sun over a small town, with a large, broad mountain on the horizon.

An elevated Shinkansen railway track crosses bright green rice fields in the early evening light. 📍 Ōgawara, Miyagi

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.