For the first time in a while, I had Friday afternoon to myself. I wandered around my town to explore. I had nabeyaki udon at my favorite restaurant and was introduced to a former art teacher at my town’s junior high. For the first time since moving to my town, I was actually able to have a conversation about Japanese politics, TPP, and history. It was great to hear someone’s opinion on the subjects I studied in college and he promised to leave some books for me at the restaurant to pick up next time I stop by. A lot of my town is probably how it’s been for decades. A lot of small shops on tiny roads, karaoke parlors, family owned restaurants. The place I went to today has been around for 4 generations and it’s run entirely by the women in the family. 

I always pass this toy store on the way to the station. I like the large robot models and the godzilla statues. It’s 2013 but a lot of my town is still stuck in the Showa era and I kind of like that. My whole world has been my schools, volunteering in town, and shopping at the nearby supermarkets. It sometimes feels like I’ve been sucked into some sort of time trip whenever I walk around. It’s a little eerie when there’s no one around and it’s just me  but I kind of like it at the same time. 

I walked past shops, homes, and this 200 year old lantern to the outskirts of town. I parked my bike outside a temple and relaxed for a bit since running around at kindergarten usually wears me out. I watched the farmers harvest the rice while riding their white and red trucks. I’ve never seen bunches of rice tied up like this before. There’s a famous painting by Saito Kiyoshi called Minori no Aizu (稔りの会津) and every time I walk past the fields around my house, it looks just like the painting. It’s getting cold though. The rice fields will be empty soon and it’ll be winter soon enough. Fall in Fukushima only lasts a few weeks apparently before it gets ridiculously cold. I’m enjoying the fall weather while it lasts.