+japan++shikoku++winter pad++dec 30 2005++mail rob sullivan coderot@gmail.com+
Home away from home in Shikoku
Beautiful hamlet just out of Aratano in Tokushima Prefecture, Shikoku, Japan
A family graveyard and me (represented by my shadow) near Aratana town, Shikoku
Forests of Shikoku
More forests of Shikoku
Home away from home in Shikoku
Home away from home in Shikoku
Home away from home in Shikoku

s h i k o k u ... h o m e - 12//30//2005

Home in Shikoku ---- SOMETHING mysterious has happened in my life since the start of the Great Scorpio Downwave in late 2003, starting around the time I broke up with A., and that something is this: for some reason, and quite out of the blue, I seem to constantly get offered free holidays. The invitations come from anybody -- friends, family, friends of family, families of friends, sometimes even from strangers. Perhaps this is one quality of the Scorpio Age (2003-2008), free holidays and trips is one of the characteristics of the Age. In the Year 2005 I enjoyed three significant trips to three interesting parts of the world, and I largely didn't have to pay a thing. I also got offered a trip to NSW'S North Coast in Australia, but I had to turn it down because I didn't have the time. As the year ends I suddenly find myself with a string of "friendly houses" or "safe houses" around the world, all of which I am free to visit at any time, and I can stay there for free. All expenses paid, and plenty of mirth and love and alcohol guaranteed! This is the life of the International Vagabond (IV), manifested now in my life! This is what I always wanted!

So I have a little summer pad in the Nagano Prefecture of Japan, and on this day (December 30 2005) I added a winter home-away-from-home to my assets, down on the island of Shikoku. It's actually the home of my friend C., and we had gone there together to spend Japanese New Year with her family. The previous day (December 29 2005) we had spent 16 hours crossing Japan by train, about 11 or 12 local trains in fact, passing through snow and golden sunshine. Upon my arrival at C.'s house, in Tokushima Prefecture near Aratano, I was amazed by how rural and undeveloped it was. The first thing that greeted me when I got out of the train, was the smell of genuine fresh air. That is something you don't often experience in Japan, especially in the big cities where I usually hang out. The second thing that struck me, when I got into the car driven by C.'s father, and listened to him speaking to C., was the strange and curiously accented version of Japanese they used down there. I also noticed the endless expanse of black darkness outside -- very rural and unJapanese, according to my experience. When I got to C.'s house at Katayama, Aratano, I was comforted and impressed. It was a typical Japanese country house, with plenty of tatami mats, sliding doors, a snuggly kotatsu (table covered by a quilt with a heat source underneath), a spotless bathroom promising warm inviting pleasures. There seemed to be plenty of sake bottles lying around, and beer in the refrigerator. I knew I was in heaven!

[katayama -- winter home]
shikoku japan 2005

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