Izu as a whole has a off the beaten path feel to it, so as I present to you this page, this is soooo far off that path that I can't even tell you how to get here. I'm not being selfish, I have a pebble for a brain, and well...I completely have forgotten. This beach, name also lost to memory disfunction, was definately south of Shirahama almost to Shimoda, but not quite. There was no formal entrance, no signs just a left hand turn into a driveway that quickly descended to a cove. The cove only allowed for minimal parking, so early was the agenda. Minimal spaces for cars equals crowds to match it, literally the numbers can fit on 7 peoples fingers. This is local lands.....
Since parking was a potential problem we sent off early from Mishima to get to this beach. 6 am Hirokazu's engine buzzed as he sat stagnant waitng for Yukijohn to jump in. Yuki needed a minute more, as to entertain I stepped out first to speak with Hiro so boredom and anxiety would be held at bay.
"John, rook" Hiro points, "Rook at that rady"
My head turns quickly hoping to catch a glimpse of a bikini clad beauty. Instead I find an ninety something year old Japanese woman laying in the shrubbery, hands bound with duct tape, clothed in a schmata, wounds to the face still releasing plasmas and blood.
"You OK?" I dart over to her, grasping any limb to help her frail frame out of the bushes.
"Daijobu?" my limited Japanese kicks in.
She mumbles that her father did this to her, which would set her father as not only a criminal with a assault charge but also a man older than anyone to have ever lived, a Guiness Book World record holder.
Yuki and Hiro finally run over to this grim discovery. Hiro, hand shaking full of adrenaline dials up the emegency services and directs them to the scene. The police arrive questioning all witnesses in Japanese, my turn comes. I tell my version of the story in English, no comprende. I ask for a pencil and jot down a quick sketch of the scene and how it was presented to me. I hope this will suffice as fear overrides my emotions thinking they may see me as a suspect.
Once evreything came to a close, the woman was taken with the police personnel.
"She might be from the Geriatrics ward......up on the hill."
"I'm still confused on the fact that the hands were bound with duct, and the wound, where'd that one arise from?"
The discussion dosen't let up all the way to the beach and continues as we position ourselves parrallel with the beach sands. My mind was elsewhere, with no attention paid to directions so here today it will remain a destination somewhere along the Izu Hanto's west coast.
This region is full in forest and lakes, fantastic for hiking. Beside the obvious trails on the Fuji mountains there are also plenty of trails and tracks around. One of this is this nice road up the hill by the Kawaguchiko village which in the top you can have a nice view of the mountain.
In the summer, taking a good mosquito repellent with you will be a wise thing.
If you have some spare time, by leaving early, then take walks from the beginning- or endstation into the village that surrounds it. The further you walk, the more truely Japanese countryside it becomes. People working in their gardens with great accuracy cutting trees or 'petting' the plants and flowers.
This tip falls into the category of: those Japanese think of everything! In this case, it's the Fuji Subaru Line Toll Road, which actually plays music when you drive over it! Astoundingly, the builders of the road grooved the pavement in both the upgoing and descending directions so that the vibrating tires hit musical notes as they drive over it, and the notes are chained together to play a song. Sadly, we didn't recognize the tune.
....Actually, we almost didn't realize that a tune was being played. We were blissfully unaware even of the possibilities that musical roads existed as we started our drive up to the fifth stage of Fuji. We had the radio on and we were chatting when it gradually dawned on us that our tires were humming a tune. "Did you hear that?!" we turned to each other simultaneously,"It's music!). We spent much of the next portion of the drive speculating on whether or not it was intentional. Then, on the way down, our questions were answered: Tall brown signs in Hiragana announced that something was up, each of which was completed with a sketch of Mt. Fuji and musical notes. Finally, the pavement went from gray to deep black and I saw a G-Clef painted big and white on the tar. "Get ready for a song" I announced to Janet. We turned off the radio and were treated to a tunesimilar to the first one that lasted for about a minute. How clever!
.... the Fuji Subaru Line collected a Y2000 toll from us. Now we knew what they did with the money
If you can fit the dates you visit this place, there's a traditional "fire festival" at the end of August (maybe 26th and 27th). Very nice way to understand a little more about this ancient culture. The road that drives to the Fujiyama is completely taken by hundreds of pires that burn all night long, while people walks by, having some sake (and, nowadays, also bier), street japanese food, and enjoying of several performances (dance and music, also Kabuki - street japanese theater). Look at this traveloge for some pictures...