But I’m going to have to go on and on about a little fishing town (or weird rural outpost of Numazu city) called Heda.
When we first got there, we went up to a lookout and watched the local fishing ships having a ceremony, before setting off on month-long (or longer) fishing trips. They circled the harbour, with music on top volume, and the main ship stopped in front of the local shrine to offer salt and sake-salt for purification, and sake for health and success. And all this time, beautiful brown and grey and white sea hawks swooped over the head, and Mt Fuji stood majestically in the distance, completely obscured by clouds. (Go figure).
That night, we stayed at the local minshuku. Set with tatami mats, futon beds, and slippers for every different kind of area, minshuku are little ryokan, run by a single family, where guests get to help with chores a little too. But really, between changing into toilet-room slippers, laundry slippers, kitchen slippers, general slippers, and then having bare feet on the tatami,…running through a minshuku is like some weird relay.
Seeing as Heda is a fishing town, it should have been no surprise to see the dinner table covered in fish. But it was! Sea snails, shrimps, miso soup, sashimi, fish cakes, tuna steaks…apart from the beautiful, sticky Japanese rice, it was all from the sea! Even the lemony jelly stuff we found out was somehow made from something harvested from the sea by the main minshuku lady. Wow, just
Next morning, bright and early, we walked along a tiny black sand beach that’s somehow populated by 100,000 people later in summer, and marvelled at the pink swirly stuff in the water (dead plankton, if you wanted to know). …Presumably that’s gone by the time people start using it to swim! We also got invited onto the fishing boat of a local night fisher, who’d just brought in a catch of squid. I got to hold one 😀 I had to be careful not to pick up a bunch of its friends too -_-. And down at the little museum that’s on shrine land, we saw a massive anchor from a Russian ship Diana that was sunk locally back in the day. Continuing on, we walked along a big dike, and contemplated the little light house, and the sea walls made of concrete blocks to protect the local shrine from waves that had pushed huge boulders right up against the dike in other areas… All before breakfast 😀
http://www.ocada.jp/izu/heda.php Has more details about the history of Heda :).
I suppose there should be a part two to this post 😛