Essay - Travels
2003 Summer - Shinshu No.3 "To the starry Highland"
From Mochizuki-cho we went to Ishinoyu, Shiga highland by way of Manza Onsen where was filled with sulfurous gas. We crossed the Shibu Pass which was familiar in the ski season, and passed by Mt. Yokote. "When Chie went skiing at first, you were fallen for sweet talk that you could have nice bread hot from the oven and taken to here without preparation. You slided (sliped down?) with crying." "(I've forgot such as bad memory) It's really good bread!!" It was just time in the twilight, but the sky was cloudy and the sun was covered completely with clouds. It might be impossible to see the evening sun. When we came to the halfway down a mountain, the clouds cleared just in a moment. Wow! We hurriedly turned back the way one had came.
We stopped our car at the spot where several photographers had already waited for a chance. Just in time. A bright red sun was going down silently on Mt. Kasadake. As one photographers said that the drama would start from now on, after a while the sky had been transformed into wonderful red. As the shape of clouds was changing every moment, the sky showed us unexpected tint. Was this end? I thought. But the another color appeared. The sky entertained us with the such as magic and it was getting dark gradually. The pale purple surface of a mountain in particular was beautiful.
When we arrived at tonight inn "Ishinoyu lodge", night had fallen completely (a matter of course?). Here is also inn where Tomi & Yasu usually stay in winter (spring) ski season. After we took a bath in the plain hot spring, Chie and Deco who came to Ishinoyu for the first time went watching a firefly. Though it's the end of August, a lot of fireflies were still flying this year. By the way, when we come this inn, one of pleasure is draft beer which is carefully poured into not a beer mug, but a glass, and its fine creamy froth on beer is almost a work of art. Ah! Good! They served boiled sweet corn which we gived as a gift. How nice its hot corn! We made a clean sweep of good dishes and dessert with drinking wine...
We holded my-baby-may-be-due-pretty-soon stomach in our arms and went watching star. In the star-filled night sky there was the Milky Way from which water of star seemed to fall. Sometimes a shooting star streaked across the sky. Mr. S who was staff of the lodge and look like Miyazawa Kenji taught us the name of the star and constellation one after another. We could find the Andromeda Galaxy near Cassiopeia with the naked eye. Mars is approaching Earth, especially this year. We could see misty South Pole of Mars through an astronomical telescope. It was cold, even we put on long sleeve. We took a bath again to warm our body and Good-night...
take a nap
The third day was also fine weather. In the morning we went hiking in Oobokko trail which we could see from our lodge. We passed through a grove of white birch in front of lodge and went up for a while with enjoying the beauty of dew grass, parnassus, then we reached the Rindou Plain. There was a carpet of cedar moss and it was blooming with gentian, goilden rod and wild thistle. Dragonfly and betterfly were flitting about, the photo group was full of beans. We went up a steep slope which was overgrown with a low, striped bamboo bush and then we reached well ventilated ridge. It commanded a bird's-eye view of our lodge. When we made contact with the lodge by a cellular phone, staffs of lodge called us "yoo-hoo!" with waving a white umbrella. We could go forward Mt. Boudera, but we chose to turn back the way we had come. Because BBQ would wait for us in the lodge. Slaver.
After we washed sweat away in the hot spring, we grilled prepared ingredients like a meat and vegetable, and we all bit into them. The cook was Tomi and Deco. It breezed through trees. We became tipsy by beer and wine. Nobody may have a poor appetite in such a circumstance. All ingredient which was prepared on the full table had been eaten up completely. A pine sherbet was also good. After meal, it went without saying that we all slept soundly untill evening. zzz...
In the evening, at the time sightseer would be getting fewer, we went out for climbing in Mt. Kusatsu Shirane which we passed its side yesterday. Though I said "climbing", as a matter of fact, it was only two hundred meter from a car park to the top, besides a well-paved road with concrete. Even young lady who was wearing high heels, a baby who was getting into carriage and a dog were going up and down the road. It may be one of the easiest mountain to climb in Japanese Hundred Well-known Mountains "Hyakumeizan". Thare was a couple who arrived at the almost same time as us. As man was always smiling as if he might dislocat his jaw, I couldn't take my eyes off heartwarmingly them. Oh yes, on top of the Mt. Kusatsu Shirane there was a milky-white emerald crater lake.