Monday, April 15, 2013
I don't know if you've noticed, but pretty much every single one of my weekend trips here in Japan has been done solo. There are things to be said for not having to worry about whether someone else is having a good time, or deciding on a restaurant that fits all parties' constraints, but there's also things to be said for having someone to talk to. Not speaking Japanese, I don't even get real conversation from waitresses or cashiers.
This day trip to the island of Miyajima (not far from Hiroshima) was another such occurrence where extrovert blasted through the protective shell of shy and just started talking to random strangers in the cablecar on the way up Mount Misen. There is an air of tourist camaraderie when on vacation that a single traveler can take advantage of. Even the most surly of American East Coasters (*ahem* like myself) can open up to strangers when in a strange land. I've tagged along with a young Canadian couple in Kyoto, talked to a Texan on the bus, a Frenchman on the train, backpackers in hostels, and here in Miyajima, hiked about with two Australian friends. There's something odd about these temporary friendships, where there's really no pressure to connect afterwards. Although, maybe that has more to do with the frequency with which I find myself in these situations. How many temporary friendships does a girl really need to maintain afterwards?
Anyways, Miyajima with Itsukushima Shrine was gorgeous. The giant torii gate is considered one of Japan's most beautiful views and with the addition of sakura season, it really does not disappoint, especially when being able to walk to the gate during low tide at sunset. Even after taking the cablecar up Mt Misen, the hike to the top observation point nearly killed me. I am seriously out of shape. At least once I got to the top there was a welcome wagon - a deer who could smell the hot dog croissant in my bag and bullied me about by poking me with his hoof. How rude!