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  • Writer's pictureNigel

All roads すべての道はローマに通ず

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

2023 年 10 月 31 日

Langen: We are now at the end of October and the winter wheat has already been planted.....



A curious violin arrived in my workshop last week. It was my job to resurrect this family heirloom so that the young daughter could play on it. On examining the interior, I was astonished to see that three struts had been added......for what reason? no doubt I will find out when the instrument is ready....


Herr Johann Bührs obviously had his own ideas about violinmaking. It was 1926. A year in the life of Germany's first democracy - the Weimar Republic. The year physicist Augustus Karolus had success with a transatlantic radio telephone call, and the year Lufthansa and Daimler Benz were founded.

ドイツ 1926

A lot was happening - including a call to strip the aristocracy of its priviledges......a backlash from WWI no doubt....."...not a penny for the Dukes and Princes...they have enough!...."


and the formation of the architectural collective under Walter Gropius. Also a NSDAP conference in Weimar.........Hmmmm.



All roads lead to Rome. すべての道はローマに通ず

Well so goes the saying anyway. On Thursday I made my way slowly down my high street, lugging two suitcases behind me. My destination was not Rome, however. I hate the way the wheels bump on the pavement, making a sort of clackety-clack noise. Anyone would think I am a tourist...haha! 😂

私は長い旅を始めます。 ローマへ? いいえ

Soon I was on the SBahn to Frankfurt airport...


Where I boarded this monster plane....(looks a bit like a wall decoration doesn't it? No, it's real.)

私のモンスター飛行機 !

12 and a half hours later I was in Tokyo, filling out ridiculous immigration forms in Haneda airport (do I have a criminal record? do I have weapons with me? drugs? etc. etc..).

But eventually I was on my way to the north, where a friend had offered to show me Iwate....

12時間半後には東京に着きました。 友人が岩手を案内してくれるそうです。

Method of travel was a quiet and spacious shinkansen (bullet train)....


...courtesy of a Japan Rail Pass...(managed to buy one before the price rise deadline!)

A shot from the train window, somewhere near Sendai. A brooding sky......

後で。 仙台近郊のどこか

My plan was to visit the "Kyoto of the north" - Hiraizumi, and some nearby sights. One of which was the Geibikei Gorge.

We had heard that you had to hire a boat to see this, and that the boatman would sing. Now I was afraid that this might be a bit cheesy, but I was wrong. His voice resounded across the water, and everybody in the boat was silent and listened. Because it was genuine.

He really did have a good powerful voice, and sang some old tunes from Iwate. My recording does not do him justice, as some annoying iphone automatic sound level kicked inげいびけい猊鼻渓...

The boat was really a huge punt.....

...and the river was calm and clear,


with sheer rocky sides reaching 80 metres high....

breathtakingly beautiful......


Hello !

こんにちは 😉

After a while our boatman brought the punt to a halt at a gravely beach, ideal for a photo op of your author......

著者 ✍️ !

Testing the current......

...and saying hello to the carp......


.....crossing a delicate bridge.....


I've noticed that if you are in some beautiful spot in Japan it is common to see a shrine. A Shinto shrine. That pre-Buddhist veneration of all things in nature. And here we have one at the water's edge.....throw your coins and say a prayer.....


At the end of the trip we disembarked at steps which led of course to a shop. But the souvenirs where not at all tacky. Want some garlic? here you are....(they looked so big I thought they were chesnuts!)


Need some socks? here you are......


Want some poetry? Here you are...

Most Japanese have heard of the novelist Miyazawa Kenji (1896 - 1933). He came from Hanamaki, a town not very far from where I was staying. A town of fabulous onsens. Wiki describes him as a science teacher, a vegetarian, a 'cellist 🎵 a devout Buddhist and utopian social activist. Interesting man!


Back to basics. Manholes. Sometimes they are coloured - this one just has a fun picture. The theme is easy to recognize.....

楽しい 🌝 are never far from good food at reasonable prices here.....

ああ....日本食 😋

🛶 Thank you for reading "..All roads.."


🛶 Feel free to share the blog with friends.


🛶 And it would be nice to hear from you...!





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Nov 08, 2023

My wife and I just rode the Shinkansen through Morioka on the way from Hakodate in Hokkaido to Tokyo. I should have waved!

Nov 30, 2023
Replying to

well, Morioka is definitely worth a visit......although you have to do your home work first to find things. Everything is so spaced out......

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