Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Shikoku

Seto Inland Sea

I just got home to Tokyo, back from a wonderful holiday in Shikoku, my old stomping grounds. Going back to the very place where I started my Japan adventure was quite amazing: meeting up with friends, revisiting my favourite haunts, riding the slow train around Kagawa, and being surrounded with exquisite natural beauty.

Shikoku is perhaps to most underrated place in Japan. It's one of the four main islands of Japan, but as it's quite detached from the rest of the country, it's often dubbed the most remote place in Japan. Most of the island is occupied by high mountains, and only the coast is inhabited. The middle of Shikoku is nearly impossible to access, due to the dense mountains and lack of trains. The nature is in pristine condition, and somehow Shikoku kept its traditional allure. After all, it was only connected to the mainland with a bridge a little over twenty years ago.

It made me feel very nostalgic to be in a place filled with so many memories. Nothing had changed, but everything had. I remember how trapped and isolated I felt when I lived there, but deep down I know I loved it so much, and my most cherished memories of Japan will always be tied to Shikoku.

Being there was like going home, and in some ways it will always be my first home in Japan. I had missed the dark Inland Sea, the mountains, and the endless rice fields- seeing all those sights made my heart ache.

It was one of the most fun holidays I've ever had, and I'm thankful for such generous and welcoming friends. I came back rested, refreshed, and quite tanned from all the sun and beaches. From ferry rides to train rides to island hopping and drives along the Shikoku coast, it was an epic journey and I'll tackle each part in the next few upcoming posts.

For now, I'll unpack my bags, and daydream about the sea and Kafka on the Shore.

Bags are packed, waiting for the train.

My first home.
I got misty-eyed when I arrived.

The JR Shikoku line.
The jingle is still the same, so reassuring.


Rice fields, Marugame

View from Takamatsu

5 comments:

Komainulock said...

Hi Vivian!
Thanks for posting these pictures. These pictures made me feel very nostalgic as well. Becase these days I have been reading your past blog post.
So I can imagine how much you are happy to be there again. (It's weird?)
Did you see "Percy" this time?:)

Vivian said...

Hi Komainulock! That is a very touching comment, I'm surprised and honoured you have been reading my past posts. I think it's nice I can make readers feel happy.

Shikoku was a very important part of my experience in Japan, and it's so meaningful to me.

Sadly, I did not see Percy!!! Maybe he was not working the days I visited the station, but he was the kindest ticket officer. Luckily, I saw my favourite cashier at the supermarket so that made me happy, because she recognized me :)

Yuri said...

It looks beautiful.
The rice fields are what appeal to me the most.
I'm glad you were able to visit this place again.

Komainulock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Komainulock said...

비비안 안녕하세요!

> I did not see Percy!!!
Oh that's too bad. I bet he well remember you with smile.
He never know he was knick-named Percy. It's fun^^
I know how you feel when you back to Shikoku.
I know how important place is to you.

Have a Suntry time♪