From April 2010 until the terrible earthquake on March 11, 2011, I lived and worked in the Tohoku region of Japan, north of Tokyo. I view this time with a mix of gratitude and regret. I am grateful that I was able to enjoy this part of Japan before the accident at Fukushima, and subsequent concerns regarding the nuclear fallout kept me from ever seeing it. I regret… not saying goodbye, not appreciating the moment enough, the sense that I abandoned my friends and coworkers…
As one Tokyo blogger noted, it feels like all of those living in Japan on that day have suffered a measure of post-traumatic stress. It was perhaps the most terrifying moment in my life, and I worry that the earthquake, and the nuclear accident that followed are becoming too much a part of my identity. I think and refer to it too much. With less than a month until the second anniversary, I’ve decided to publish some photos and descriptions of my life in Tohoku, not only to show how beautiful this part of Japan is, but also, by putting it out there for everyone, begin to detach from it. I want to move on from this time and more actively engage in change in Japan, especially in regards to energy.
I want to show you: Fukuroda Falls
Fukuroda Falls are one of Japan’s three most famous falls. Years when the winter is particularly cold, the water will actually freeze! Unfortunately, 2010 wasn’t cold enough, but thawed or not, the falls are an impressive sight. Daigo, the town nearby, is famous for apples, to the extent that one Yamizo onsen has them floating in the bath with the bathers.
Fukuroda was one of the first places we visited after moving to Ibaraki, and visiting just after 5pm meant the car park was free-of-charge and the falls shared with only a handful of other onlookers. For those without cars, there is also a train station, the Fukuroda JR, a brisk 2 kilometers away.
I think the walk up to Fukuroda would be gorgeous in full bloom spring or with the colours of autumn. Even in early April, without really any foliage at all, the short walk up to the falls, following the twists of the Taki river, was picturesque and quiet.
Is there somewhere you’ve been to only once, and wish you could go back? Have you visited Ibaraki or Fukuroda Falls? Do you just want to say hi? Leave me a message in the comments! ^^