One benefit of travel is the opportunity to see amazing things – some of which don’t always fit neatly into an article or blog post.
A good example is this rice field in Magome, Japan – a town in the Japan Alps on the old Kisoji and Nakasendo routes.
I walked upon this scene accidentally while waiting for the bus the morning I left Magome after a three-day research stay. The air was crisp with autumn, sharp with wood smoke, and carried the musky scent of drying leaves and ripened rice stalks. My jacket was warm enough, but just barely–another week, and the area would get its first snow of the season. Crows shouted good morning to one another across the valley, and smaller birds were just beginning to sing their early songs.
People who haven’t visited often think of Japan as “Tokyo and temples” – a land of skyscrapers, crowds, and bullet trains, with Buddhist statues and temples thrown in for good measure.
But Japan is so much more. It’s mountains and mist, lakes and forests, crops and harvests and unexpected beauty. Scenes like this one always make me fall in love with the country all over again, and long to return as soon as I possibly can.