This blog should have been written last year, Thanksgiving week as a matter of fact. I went over to Okayama, Nagasaki, through Saga Prefecture, back to Okayama and flying home to Okinawa.
I have been to Nara and Osaka the previous week, spent time with friends who feted me like visiting royalty and then hopped on the Shinkansen over to Okayama. It was a long way down to Nagasaki, and I realized just how big Japan is. It was a treat to drive through the mountains and get a sense of Japan outside of Tokyo and Osaka.
I had been to Hiroshima almost four years ago and gained a perspective and understand from another perspective of what had happened there. I have studied quite a bit about World War II over the years. My best friend’s Dad Harold, had served in England and I got to learn about the European theatre from his experience, but I never knew much about the Pacific front until I came here. We all know the history of the atom bombs and regardless of how you feel about it, the human destruction cannot be understated.
There is a gravity also to this city, but a different feel and experience than what it felt like to be in Hiroshima. I don’t know if it was because I had already been to Hiroshima, but I felt like I knew what to expect. Also, there were other associations for me here than in Hiroshima. Firstly, the famous night view of the city, the port with the cruise ship in the bay, the famous Fukusaya Castella Cake and the pork that was richly flavored and reminiscent of Okinawan san-mai niku.
Next on the itinerary was Mifuneyama Rakuen (check out the website: https://www.mifuneyamarakuen.jp/en/). “A creation by the reigning lord Nabeshima Shigeyoshi on a canvas of over 500,000 square meters.” It has been providing rest and relaxation at least since the early 1800s. I had recently returned from the USA, begun a new position and was looking forward to a little rest, relaxation and pampering. This place was better than any Beverly Hills spa.
I sadly said goodbye to the ryokan and headed to another one of my passions: ceramics. Imari City, Ookawachiyama was pottery center for hundreds of years. Korean potters were brought to this area in the Saga Prefecture more than four hundred years ago.