I am on the Shinkansen now heading towards Osaka where I will be transfering to a non-JR line for the 81 minute trip to Koyasan. Yesterday was spent picking delicious purple grapes and relaxing with my host family. It was a wonderful time and we had long conversations about what being “Japanese” is compared to being an “American”, and how the world has changed in the 20 years since I first came to stay with them.
One thing I absolutely love, is that they seem take every chance they can to find a reason to go into the outdoors to sit eat and drink with friends and family. Apple picking, orange picking, Sakura (cherry blossom) viewing, it’s a long list. They work hard but also know the value in relaxing and putting the same effort into non-work pursuits as working itself.
Ok, had to pause to change trains. From Shin-Osaka station to Namba station to the Namba Nankai line to Koyasan, well to Gokurakubashi really, then I’ll catch the cable car up to the top of the mountain. My host father told me that Koyasan is really very remote and that its a place where people get sent when they want them to sort of “disappear” for a while. And as the train winds closer to it’s destination, I can see why. It is getting much more remote as we climb higher into the mountains. I am, by the way, the only person on the train now it seems. We’ll see when I get off I guess. The train is moving slowly which is helping to build up the anticipation of what I will find at the top.
Really, I’d like to write more, but I think for now, I should look out the window and report more later. Thanks!