Sawauchi, Iwate β†’ Shizukuishi, Iwate

Map of Iwate prefecture with author’s route from Sawauchi to Shizukuishi highlighted. πŸ—Ί Open map in GaiaGPS β†’

A bus schedule by a rice field shows a total of two buses a day.

An excavator parked on only one of its tracks.

A freshly planted rice field with a large volcano, Mount Iwate, on the horizon. πŸ“ Shizukuishi, Iwate

πŸ“ Shizukuishi, Iwate

Whale sharks in coastal waters, the bullet trains leave the remote fastness of their elevated tracks at Morioka, and turn west on an old line to begin their rural run towards Akita City. They slow down, too, as they tiptoe between villages and across level crossings, from a quarter of the speed of sound to a dreamy 130 km/h. And then they’re not distant ghosts anymore, which appear and disappear in the blink of an eye, not the white wraiths that built up then emptied out Japan, but large, tender, beautiful creatures, comically out of place, and you want to touch their red and silver metallic skin to soothe them, but they’re still too fast, still hard to follow. Beyond the tracks, Mount Iwate rose from the plains, and I drank my sake, and watched.

Closeup of a bowl of rice, mushrooms, and vegetables.

A dilapidated rowhouse in the evening light.

Modern villages houses at the edge of a green rice field. πŸ“ Shizukuishi, Iwate

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.