Sunday, March 13, 2005


Columbus was sure the world was round. And I was sure there was a pond. Those who were so kind as to visit these humble precincts a couple of weeks ago might have seen the post "The Curious Incident of the Pond in the Daytime," in which Echo and I set out to find the famous unfindable pond in the falling cornsnow and were accordingly unable to find it, which the maps indicated was like being unable to find the backs of our hands.

You can imagine how that strikes two intrepid travelers such as ourselves, and in our own backyard, so to speak - they don't have backyards as such in Japan, so the metaphor doesn't actually work here, but I like to use the old idioms whenever I can, which isn't often, sort of keep them in working order for when I go back to the States, where it wouldn't do at all to say things like “right in my own zen garden” or such like – where was I – oh yes:

So this afternoon we again set out in quest of the unfindable and when we got to where the pond was said to be, again the corn snow was blizzarding everything into invisibility. So it was no wonder we'd driven - and again drove - right past where it said “Otomegaike pond” on a roadside minisign, about the size of a beer can - apparently intended to ward off visitors - but Echo spotted it with her eagle eye and I turned around and we drove into the small parking place in front of an old shrine, whence we set off on foot into the howling whiteness.

The path was a narrow red road, apparently used for bicycling in earlier climes, that led past some houses and things (eyes fill quickly with corn snow) and maybe a shrine and then a detour across some paddy edges toward what looked like it might be a pond if you could look at it long enough without your eyes brimming with cold whiteness. By the time we arrived on the banks of the pond after a ten-minute walk into the teeth of the corn snow blizzard we were two snow people, but I could make out a distant bridge: it was THE pond. I took a quick photo before the lens filled with snow. Then we went home so as to survive.

In retrospect I realize that if you looked at the pond from a helicopter on a cornsnowless day (if there are any in those parts) you'd see that in fact the pond nearly borders the road we drove there on, but between the pond and the road are shoulder-to-shoulder houses in the Japanese village style, rendering the pond invisible, just as I'd thought.

Though that was our first (and last ) view of the bridge on this occasion. We'll be back, next time with our bikes, when the sun returns to cornsnow country. Looked like a great hike and bike path on a sunny day... of which it seems there are few around Otomegaike pond...

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