Oyama Senmaida

Yesterday I had a (somewhat overly-optimistic) burst of energy and, from my base in Iwai, I decided to cycle right over to the other side of the peninsula.

I was heading for Oyama Senmaida (big mountain of the 1000 rice fields... a literal translation that is, quite literally, 1000 times duller than the original Japanese) which, as everyone round these parts is way too fond of saying, is the closest terraced rice field area to Tokyo.

Each time I hear/see that I am struck by two related things; one, so what? And two, really, so what? What does it mean to have the rice terraces closest to Tokyo (in distance, not time, by the way)? And what does it mean to keep saying that you do? The answer to both these questions is of course the same. Nothing. Someone noticed once, about the proximity thing, and now everyone repeats it. And somehow, rather than being just a dull, pointless factoid, it is a defining characteristic of the feature.

I wish it were further away, not the nearest, maybe even the furthest away, just to highlight the irrelevance of the statement, and to stop the endless repetition of it from defining in any way what is in fact a beautiful spot which defines itself very well (thank you very much) in those terms.

Definitely overly-optimistic to cycle there, though. Was completely knackered when I got back.


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