Sunday, June 03, 2012

Day trip to Fukushima, part one

More local traveling...

Tetsu and I headed NORTH this weekend. To Fukushima which you probably remember as where the tsunami destroyed most of the coast and the nuclear plant. Fukushima's tourist industry is struggling to make a comeback so we decided to head up that way. As usual, no concrete plans.

Throughout most of Japan, the traditional houses and villages used to be made of wood and thatched roofs but most of the buildings have fallen down or been replaced by modern arciteture. However there are places in Fukushima that are trying to preserve the historical buildings. This small park was not yet really open for tourists this morning (still 8:00) but we wandered around anyway.

Another old house with a traditional public mailbox out in front.

Driving a little further we came to a whole traditional village that has been opened to tourists. Years ago our family visited here and the streets were SWARMING with tourists! So much that it was hard to walk! It sort of lost its charm then but yesterday, though people were THERE, it wasn't nearly so crowded. Whether that is good or bad for the village I don't know, but it was nice for the tourists.

The houses are still lived in but the front rooms facing the street have all been turned into little shops. Here is an obaachan watching her wares of woven baskets while people stroll by.

One shop was selling hand made pillows stuffed with buckwheat hulls.

A truly colorful shop selling little fabric stuffed goods depicting vegetables and fruits. Persimmons in the foreground, red peppers and gourds etc. in the background. Japanese will often dry their fruits or vegetables out on tiers for later use in the winter so this is fairly realistic. The price was pretty high too... and I couldn't see what I'd do with a rack of "dried" peppers. If I was industrious I might want to try to make some myself.... I don't think I'm that industrious. But these were lovely to look at.

Noodle shops...

Well, some tourists.

A shop owner in a traditional happi coat. Tetsu pointed out to me that under the table was the ojiichan's Crocs.

We climbed up a ways on the hill to get an overall view of the village.

And someone offered to take our picture so we posed.

After that mini hike we refreshed ourselves with shaved ice with sweet beans, omochi and maccha syrup.

Tetsu bought me a hand made cat mug! A good excuse to help the Fukushima economy and I always need mugs to serve coffee to friends.

More tomorrow...

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