Most of the train trip runs along the coastline. Gorgeous inlets and bays of water carving pronounced and dangerous fjords from the mountains that cling to the perimeter of the coast (Japan is almost ALL mountains). Large islands cut away from the mountains stand along, strong and defiant and green, fighting the carnivorous tide that once before had separated it from the mainland.
Clusters of ash cemeteries, tall markers filled with the remains of the cremated, sit close to the homes of their progeny, built into the daily lives of the living, keeping a toehold of influence on the world. Perhaps the multiple small cemetaries are of the families whose descendants still live in the small homes next door.
Many shrines built high on the mountain challenging the faith of their worshipers with a strenuous and dangerous climb and separating the disciplined monks from the rest of the world. Drawing a line between the sacredness of the mountain and the profane reality of below. The mountains that compose the majority of the terrain of Japan seem strong and godlike. The spirits, the kami, the ethereal yet still worldly, earthly gods must certainly reside in the cloud-shrouded and mysterious mountains. This place is certainly minted from myth.
Met several nice high school girls on the way home after losing a volleyball game. Took the express train for the last leg of the journey even though we weren't supposed to with our cheap tickets. Arumi managed to to get the ticket guy/conductor to let us stay for free since we were dumb gaijin. Had a long talk with John when we arrived about fears and frustration of being apart from Laura for so long. I am glad that we've managed to become good friends and am flattered and heartened that he trust me and counts me wise enough to understand what he's going through. He even told me himself how glad he was that we've gotten to know each other and become close friends and develop a good friendship. Shared a room with Chris tonight. He crashed early and I am now in Camino's room late writing the rest of this entry. Unfortunately revealed how easily scared and paranoid I am to Chris and John. This might prove bothersome later if they decide to play the role of pranksters.