Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Nakatsu Part 2

(Better Know a City)

[Editor's note: as with the post on Mie, this is me working through some of my old pictures and notes. Time permitting, I should still have two more of these to post: additions to Yufuin, and Nakatsue-Mura.]

Since I started doing this "Better Know a City" series three years ago, I've gradually gotten more and more sophisticated. The first - few - ones I did were just dry boring texts. Then, once I got a digital camera sorted, I started adding pictures. And then soon after that, video.

After a while, I decided I might want to go back and redo some of these cities. At the very least, I figured I should redo Nakatsu. When all was said and done, Nakatsu had ended up being my home for 3 years. Which means (although it's scary to think how fast time goes by) I was in Nakatsu for just as long as I lived in Ajimu during my JET days.
It seems silly not to give it the same multi-media treatment as I would to a city out in the middle of nowhere which means nothing to me.
--Nakatsu, as I've noted before in this blog, isn't the most scenic city in the world. Especially when you compare it to all the drop dead beauty of all the cities surrounding it. But I thought I should still show a little bit of it on the blog.

Rather than devote a whole day to a city I had already written up, my original plan was to do Nakatsu as a series of half days, whenever I had a free Sunday afternoon, or something.

....At least that was the plan. In the end, I only did one half day.

A year ago, when I had a free afternoon, I did a walking tour of everything that was in walking distance from my apartment at the time. At that time, my apartment wasn't even in the center of Nakatsu city, but rather out in Eastern Nakatsu. So all the sights and places I photographed aren't even in the main part of Nakatsu.

At the time, I had every intention of spending an additional afternoon in central Nakatsu, but in the end I never did get around to it.

Therefore all the major sites of Nakatsu (the Nakatsu castle, the historical district, the house of Fukuzawa Yuikichi (W), the central station and downtown area, et cetera) are sadly missing from this blog.

But for what it's worth, here is a tour of everything in walking distance from my old apartment in the Eastern district of Nakatsu.

One more note before I get started. Unfortunately I chose the worst time of the year to do this: the dead of winter. Spring, Summer, or Fall would have been produced much more scenic photographs. Why I chose to do this in December I'm not quite sure.

For the original post on Nakatsu, see here.

December 28, 2008
Everything Within in Walking Distance of my Apartment

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

The theme of this day was everything I considered walking distance from my apartment. So, I started right from the door of my apartment, and worked my way out. (As for the inside of my apartment, don't forget this video here).

From my apartment, I walked across over to the public gym, and walked across the parking lot. There was a pedestrian footbridge that allowed me to cross the train tracks.
The footbridge overlooks Higashi Nakatsu station, one of the many local or minor stations in Nakatsu. The train only stops there once an hour, and there's nothing around these smaller stations, but still it is convenient to live close to even a local train station.

I turned right and headed down the road. I passed a junior high school, and came to a path along the river.
Across from the river was the Buddhist temple where we used to teach English lessons when we were all temporarily unemployed after the collapse of Nova in the fall of 2007. At the time, in the kind of golden twilight of the autumn, I used to love the walk over the river and up the small hill to get there. In the winter, it's not quiet so scenic.

There is a nice path along the river which I was able to follow for a while.

Then, the path ends, and I walk along the road for a short time until I get to a small pond.
This as well is more scenic in the summer and fall. In fact in the fall, it is completely covered with lillypads, which then die away and someone clears out in the winter (I guess to prevent them creating a big stink by rotting).
There is a waterwheel as well, which doesn't seem to serve any function other than just to look nice. (There seem to be a lot of these scenic waterwheels in Japan. The Japanese must have a weakness for a waterwheels).

After the pond, I backtrack a bit to get onto the main road. I walk on the sidewalk all the way down to Komojin Shrine.
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, so I ran into a few other people on the walk. I passed an old man who was walking along and keeping up a steady stream of conversation with himself (I'm not quite sure what he was saying).
At another point I met a group of junior high school girls coming the other way. They briefly panicked when they saw me, but then one of them decided to demonstrate her courage by yelling out "Hello. How are you?"
"Good thanks,"I answered.

Komojin Shrine is a small shrine with a large pond behind it, which makes for a scenic area. I stopped and took a couple pictures here.

Then, I started walking back towards my apartment. And once I got to my apartment, I headed out in the opposite direction, towards the ocean this time.

I walked past my apartment again, walked along route 23 for a while, and then crossed the street, and walked along the rice fields towards the ocean.

Along the way, I made a brief detour to take a picture of a shrine along the road.
In the summer or the spring, when the rice patties are flooded with water and filled with green plants, this shrine really looks a lot more beautiful. Unfortunately, since I chose to do this little tour in the winter, you'll just have to take my word for the fact that it looks pretty scenic during the right time of year.

I then made my way to the ocean.
The Nakatsu coast is far from scenic. It's mostly concrete going up to mud. (However I'm told that Nakatsu has some of the largest mud flaps in Japan, and that there is an campaign going on to try and preserve them from further construction).
Nevertheless, scenic or not, as a mid-westerner (someone who was 19 before I saw the ocean with my own eyes) I still think it's cool to have the ocean within walking distance from my apartment.

Finally I made my way back towards my apartment, and took a picture of the rice fields near it.

Other Nakatsu Videos:

Gion Festival
Gion Festival 2009


View of Downtown

Link of the Day
Chomsky explains anarchism

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