On Friday I felt like I was in the arena, and this time the arena was a small island. I crept around quietly like Katniss, taking care not to step on the many tiny pine cones that dotted the ground. I spotted a secluded part of beach that was roped off, and wished that Tim was my tribute partner from the SoCal District so we could hop over the rope and explore anyway. I frowned at the overcast sky and wished if only a Gamemaker could take pity on me and give me some sunshine for an hour…
Clearly I’ve been reading way too much Hunger Games on this trip. ::shakes head::
The island I was on is Fukuurajima, which is off the coast of Matsushima. Matsushima is about a half hour outside of Sendai, and boasts to have one of the top three scenic views in all of Japan – the other two being Miyajima and Amanohashidate. As someone who loves taking the scenic route, it was only natural that I felt compelled to go. The other main reason being that I was very curious to see what shape Sendai and other areas that were devastated by the tsuami were in. As Friday was my only real chance to go north of Tokyo, I decided to check it out regardless and am happy to say even with the overcast skies I wasn’t disappointed with the beauty of Matsushima. Cute, tiny islands (or large rocks, take your pick) line the coast and would be downright gorgeous on a clear day. The Japanese seem to be pretty fascinated by large rocks, which is lucky for me seeing as I share that same interest. And, as I realized on my previous trip, I really love visiting the quiet parts of Japan over the loud, large cities. I spent the afternoon exploring all the dirt paths and corners of the island. One of the pros of the bad weather was that I had the place mostly to myself, Fukuurajima is only accessible by it’s infamous 252 meter long red bridge and there is an entrance fee of 200yen to go over. I was surprised to find that the island itself seemed to be in good shape after being hit by the tsunami – some other sights in Matsushima got wiped out and even the bridge needed to be repaired.
Aside from the occasional eerie tsunami warning signs, during my brief time in Matsushima I didn’t see notice a lot of damage that was done last year (this is most likely because its a very popular tourist spot.) On the other hand, from my train ride up I did notice that Sendai still has a long road ahead with a lot of debris and dried up landscapes. If you’re interested in volunteering in the Miyagi prefecture, check out The Association for the Revitalization of Ishinomaki. Neetha put me in touch with this group, and I know that they are always looking for helping hands.