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A thousand fields

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A bonus return to Ishikawa, with a perfect weekend-including schedule too, and I was able to finally make the long-hoped for trip to the Noto Peninsula. I had to rent a tiny car and book an equally tiny hotel room to make the jaunt feasible, but needs must.

For a long time Shiroyone Senmaida (The One Thousand Rice Fields of Shiroyone), has been a must-see for me. I've been told many times that, if you love the Japanese landscape (I do) and you love sunsets (I very do), then this is the place.

But the window was small, and all eggs were singularly basketed... I only had one night; one shot. With fingers crossed I headed to the place... twice. Once to scope out the best spot and plant my tripod in it, and again a little later to see the show. I'd heard about bagging a spot with the tripod before the crowds arrived, but I only half believed it. It seemed such a peaceful and remote spot, I couldn't really see the need. When I returned just before sunset, I laughed out loud to se…

Ataka Barrier

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It's a bit of a trek and means a late dinner, but I try to get to the ocean at least once on my trips up here. Tonight, my final night here, it was now or never. Boosted by a very productive day and the thought of eating in my favourite restaurant here on the way back in, I headed off bang on 5.30. Ataka Barrier is a 45 minute walk from the centre of town and every step that way feels like a step back to a far off place in time. The city streets give way quickly to the paddies and the pine, and by the time we reach the ocean, the world is a very different place.

Ataka no Seki is actually is to the south of the river (somewhere near the lighthouse) and is well worth a daytime visit to those interested in story it holds, but the sunset is best viewed from the north side. That way it slips down over the wall that, harbour-like, protects the the river mouth. It's a beautiful place to sit out the light, especially when the ghosts of days past permeate our imaginings while we do.






The greed of their imaginings...

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Today, I walked north along the cliffs from Tojinbo to Hamaji. It’s not a long walk, but it is a quiet way; sometimes almost down to the shore, sometimes high above the waves. There is a point on that trail where the path reaches a promontory and teeters on the edge of itself for a stretch. I always stop here. The drop adds drama to an already awesome scene, and my mind spirals with the thrill. Today, as I stood there gazing, a seabird spiralled with me. It veered by, close enough for me to hear the air across its wings, dropped in front of me, and then arced away to the right and off towards the sun. I watched it glide for a long time, until eventually it dissolved into the golden haze.

It made me think of those other seabirds; flying for a lifetime to seek their mates, gaining loft and taking sustenance from their own desires. I am, I always will be, in absolute awe of their resolve:
The greed of their imaginings…
I've always had a problem with the word ‘greed’. Why is it invariabl…

Haze

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The light in winter here is amazing. In the spring, like the weather, it's very changeable. Last night the sunset was clear and sharp, with a perfect 'fresh' glow. Tonight... tonight is different. Tonight we had a haze. Common in the summertime, haze often spoils the light, but sometimes, like tonight, it kind of enhances it.

It gives photos a certain texture. It's an artistic, a painterly texture. Turner-esque without a doubt.






West is best

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I head out this way once or twice a year, and am almost always struck by the quality of the light. Each time it surprises me anew, and I'm captivated once again.

I knew on the first step out of the hotel, that I was going to see something special. Ishikawa is a special place.











Tomiyama round

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On this visit I was really in the mood for cycling so, instead of climbing my local mountain (Tomiyama), as I normally do, I decided to cycle around it. It's only about 15 miles, but took me a while as I kept stopping to take photos, and in the end it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.










Iwai

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There are two reasons why I love my holiday home in the small coastal of Iwai. Firstly, when people ask me what I did at the weekend, I tell them where I went. I say it quickly and they think I've been to Hawaii... 'cool', they say. 

The second reason is that, despite it being only a couple of hours from Tokyo, despite it being no great shakes on Tripadvisor and the like, it really is a beautiful spot. My paradise, my Hawaii... my Iwai.