Autumn (Tokyo Studio)

Rittou: Water begins to freeze/ sasanqua in bloom (3 of 5)

November 11th, 2008

Rittou 3 of 15Upstream of the Tamagawa (river) in Mitake valley is surrounded by a fireworks of colour. The dense green hills, yet to give in to the riotous reds and yellows, contrast with the pale river. Like further downstream some 100 km away, the Tama can still be recognised by its grey bleached river pebbles that turn a dark grey when wet. However, unlike the urbanized part of the river, the water is crystal clear and the deeper parts are a dark turquoise. The water is not about to freeze, but is certainly very cold.

Our riverwalk to the Tamagawa’s upstream section began with a long train journey on the ChuĊ line from Shinjuku to Tachikawa, then on the Ome line to Ome, then a change again for another local service to Ikusabata. The one hour and a half train trip saw the urban vista gave way to hilly surrounds. The Ome platform was full of eager hikers, mostly retired folks on a day outing. Most passengers on the local train bound for Oku-tama were heading for Mitake where the shrine on the mountain beckons. We got off two stations earlier and walked towards Kori.

The riverwalk is on the river banks and stretch from Ikusabata was relatively quiet. As we walked near Sawai, we could see bustling activities ahead. Small eateries, restaurants, gift shops, and small shrines abound. As per usual, asides from eating and walking, many activities were sighted: kayaking, rock-climbing (practice), fishing, photography, drawing, and water-colour painting.

Beyond Mitake, the crowd thinned out and the river path came to an end. We walked along the road for a while until Redmond spotted a path down to the river next to a disused inn. Clambering down the steep path, we reunited with our friend, the Tamagawa, and had a pleasant cup to tea on its bank.

2 Responses to “Rittou: Water begins to freeze/ sasanqua in bloom (3 of 5)”

  1. 1 Sue Angel
    February 18th, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Hi Jo,

    A really lovely site. I had dreams of Tokyo last night and I woke thinking about it. I showed your site to my friend (who also loves Japan). We talked about the cherry blossom season in April as it is the one and only time I visited Tokyo. I had a very visual memory of walking down a street- and it was cold- cool air, pale sun; and the cherry blossoms were blooming. His memories are different
    from mine as he spent more time in Shikoko and other obscure places.

    It’s interesting how we have these seasonal expectations about the place we know (and those expectations are bound to what we are told as children; linear, historicised knowledge). These seem to become constructs and they have a visual (constructed) memory too. But, only of places we think we know….

    For instance; “it never rains like this here in February!” But of course I could never say of Japan: “The cherry blossoms are late to flower this year…”

    So maybe, thinking like this is akin to identifying or ‘owning’ a place…

  2. 2 jolaw
    February 18th, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Hi Sue,

    When I go through this almanac or simply look at maps of Tokyo, memories come flooding back. For me these memories are not so much visual as they are atmospheric, kind of like remembering what the air your breathed there was like or feeling the relative humidity of the air around your skin…

    Knowing the seasonal weather as ‘owning’ a place is an interesting concept especially because it takes so long to really know it. I also really like the idea of this pyscho-meterology.