Natalie Goes to Japan

40 year old very married blonde woman having a midlife crisis who heads to Japan alone to follow her dreams. Be careful what you wish for ... you just may get it.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Metropolitan Hosoe

I took the self guided tour of the mega-complex that is Hosoe (pop. 21,000). I chose this town because my map (that I am hounding all my friends to help me translate) said that there was a bicycle road in Hosoe. I wanted to check this out. They also have a couple of temples and shrines and a Tokaido gate. The Tokaido is/was the main road that connected Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto for centuries. Turns out the gate is a reconstruction, like most every historical thing I've seen in Japan. But I quite enjoyed my visit there. They actually had an English brochure for me. And when I entered they turned on a recording in hilariously bad English. I thought it was terribly sweet, of course I was the only visitor. The gate has two buildings attached with several rooms: administrative, noble's lounge, jail and the penis verification room. Yep, you read that right. From what I understand, the Shogun made all his nobles live in his city. But they had to return to their own places frequently. The nobles' wives and children had to stay behind, as insurance. But some of the wives weren't thrilled with being a hostage and would try to sneak away by dressing like a man. So all the male travelers had to prove they were male. Hah! After the gate I toured a shrine and a temple and then found the park and ate my lunch. Then I hiked to the top of the hill and checked out the view. Finally I got on my bike and went in search of the Bicycle Road. I found it, and it's great. Apparently they are in the process of putting together a 48 kilometer bicycle road around Hamanako Lake. It has it's own highway number and everything. I only went a few kilometers, as it was late and hot. But this will be a great trek to do with Mark when he arrives in about a month. Yipee!


At 11:00 PM, Anonymous Claus said...

Thank you for sharing, Natalie!

The pictures were really fun. We really enjoy hearing and seeing your personal tours out and about the surrounding area. It's nice to get the view from the "woman on the street" perspective and not the glossy travel-package tour view.

Lavie and I love the stories of your experiences as a teacher (my mom is a retired public-school teacher here in the States). Sounds like even though there are cultural differences in education around the world, kid (and adult) students are very similar at heart!

We appreciate you!

At 6:47 AM, Blogger Natalie said...


Thanks for the compliment. Sometimes you start thinking the whole blog thing is too much trouble and nobody cares anyway. But there are people like you, who occasionally say something nice.


At 11:56 PM, Blogger qaminante said...

I enjoy your blog too, having visited Japan only as a tourist! You never know who is lurking..


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