Yesterday, I took John John’s bicycle for it’s first proper outing in many months. Ever since we moved in here I’ve been thinking of going to see the big snake of wetness that marks the border between northern Tokyo and Saitama prefecture, the River Awa. According to my map, it’s not that far away. Too far to walk, but not such a trek by bike.

Of course what I was forgetting is that maps do have a habit of shrinking reality, something to do with practicality apparently. Thus, after about 45 minutes on the road using the sun as my guide (someone must have moved it) I was still a long way from my final destination. Not that I was partciluarly concerned. As seen in my previous posts I did come across a few sights worth pausing for, and in any case, I do very much like exploring the backstreets of Japan. It may be Tokyo, but children do still play skipping games in the street, something I won’t forget in a hurry having failed to jump the bike over that long, rotating skipping rope that I was confronted with, having rounded the sharp bend.

It wasn’t that hard to know when I had finally reached the river. Its vast flood plains are encased on both sides with these huge great dyke-things, one of which was sporting a rather attractive handrail, which I post here for any others out there who are seduced by long shiney things that seem to go on forever.

Having climbed the pictured bank, I must admit I was stunned. Stunned by just how far I could see. Although I couldn’t have been much more than about 15 metres above street level, the complete lack of buildings near the river meant that the view extended for miles, right out to the mountains that form a ring around the Kanto plain. Descending to the flood plain on the southern bank, I was stopped in my tracks again, this time by the sound – of silence. Here I was in Tokyo, just a few miles from my home, outside, yet unable to hear the noise of traffic. It really made me smile, and I blessed John John for his gift.

In addition to stumbling across some real live nature shots (with naturally-occuring floaty-hearts), I also found myself transfixed by the contrast contained within this image, which I managed to capture on film just before the pylon walked out of the frame. It’s rare to find an uncluttered skyline in Tokyo. It’s so clean, and yet so ugly. So cold, and yet so alive.

one man and his pylon

As the evening closed in, so I slowly made my way back home, this time using the magnetic pull of the moon on my fillings for guidance. Only took me about thirty minutes. Incidentally, on the way I saw a machine that surely spells disastor for about 85% of the elderly male population of Japan, who, as we know are the backbone of pointless flag-waving at construction sites.

If I’d have been clever I would have shot a video of this terribly exciting machine that displays a waving man who is frighteningly lifelike. One half-expects him to sit down now and then for a cigarette and a cup of coffee.

I bet if they saw these pictures they’d wet their pants there and then, and curse the invention of the dynamic LED display machine, which when they were young was only capable of showing what number ticket holder should go to counter number three at the post office.
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One Response

  1. They can’t start using machines to do it! JAPAN WON’T BE THE SAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!