Rebecca Saunders had unforgettable days in a Japanese fishing village – the place few folks cared. She describes the village life-style as “a rhythm of life that is slowly disappearing”.
It was September 2018 once I moved to Japan and made my own residence there. My home is situated deep within the countryside on the Kii peninsula. I by no means thought it might be lonely to reside someplace so lovely, however that’s life within the fishing village of Ena.
Ena is surrounded by mountains on all sides. Except for the ocean, this tiny fishing village overlooks a single island. This Japanese fishing village has just one store promoting fishing gear, snacks, and sake. Ena’s solely cafe is open solely on sunny days and closes at sundown. Farmers in Ena would plant oranges on hills or terraces.
As a foreigner, I turned outstanding within the small village. Cars would decelerate, as a result of the occupants needed to see me higher, and the locals puzzled what the hell I used to be doing of their little village.
I flew from London to Tokyo and spent two weeks having fun with the vitality of the Japanese capital earlier than I discovered Manami, who I had met whereas touring in Japan just a few years earlier, telling her I used to be wanting a spot to reside.
“You can stay at my house this!” she replied. It appeared like a aid, as I used to be burning by my funds on inns within the metropolis and wanted a spot to calm down to start out dwelling in Japan.
Three days later, I used to be on the bullet prepare to Osaka in a mixture of concern and pleasure. If Tokyo feels a bit alien to residence within the UK, a small fishing village makes me really feel like I’m misplaced in one other dimension. From Osaka, I took perhaps greater than 3 trains to get there. Carrying suitcases, luggage of meals… I felt so separate from the group of youngsters in neat uniforms who have been taking the prepare residence from college. When the prepare was about to cease at a abandoned rural station, I secretly thought, “What am I doing?”
Sea and island
It was a aid to see a well-recognized face of Minami. The Japanese fishing village she lives in shouldn’t be a spot frequented by each home and international vacationers. These fishing villages are steadily changing into a factor of the previous.
Manami purchased a standard Japanese home in Ena village, then constructed a contemporary home subsequent door. Located on the mountainside, this place has a wide ranging view of the ocean. I imagined how I might immerse myself within the tranquil surroundings of the peninsula, what life can be like within the days to come back… and in some way, I discovered myself increasingly more remoted from the world.
The subsequent day, Manami took me to the village publish workplace to arrange a checking account and register a brand new deal with. Then I used to be alone. That afternoon, I walked down the hill and it took me about 10 minutes to get to a small retailer the place cabinets have been sparsely stocked. The proprietor confirmed up, very stunned to see me.
“Hello,” she mentioned in Japanese. She chatted with me as I attempted to pay for my drinks, confused with my restricted Japanese. I smiled and apologized and left. Thankfully, expertise has reached this Japanese fishing village and I can order residence supply.
That Friday was the large day: my meals was coming. I used to be on the terrace and will see the supply truck parked under. The driver appeared confused by the highway indicators. “That’s from that foreigner girl, drive up the hill!” an aged neighbor shouted to the driving force, whereas pointing at me.
People and rhythm of life
Life went on in Ena steadily, as if it had been for many years, perhaps centuries. For me, the morning begins on the mattress (no mattress), I’ll look out the overhead window to see the island because it at all times is: The fishing boats are busy, the orange farmers are busy. working exhausting on mini vans “kei”.
Sometimes, if I used to be doing the laundry or strolling residence, the ladies choosing oranges would cease their truck and beg me to take some extra oranges from them.
Giant spiders, toxic centipedes and wild boar
Ena is residence to wildlife, lots! It’s the tip of summer time however the temperatures are nonetheless heat and the bugs are nonetheless raging. Giant hunter spiders, praying mantis… At first, the spiders frightened me, however I shortly bought used to my “housemate”. A mantis even perched on my shoulder whereas I used to be cooking.
The little inexperienced frogs that reside within the rice fields cry out to the sky, and it is best to not disturb the mukade (massive, toxic centipedes). On the mountainside, the wild boars bought so near the residential space that I may hear them working round. I do know there are even bears on this space!
Translation: “I moved to a tiny Japanese fishing village to experience a disappearing way of life” (Rebecca Saunders, CNN)