Where is Numazu?

Numazu is not such a popular Mt. Fuji destination as Hakone or Gotemba or Lake Kawaguchi, but I chose Numazu because it is located at the sea 🙂
Deprived of my visit to Okinawa I wanted to have at least a little bit of ocean in August and actually I got more ocean than I expected 🙂
Numazu downtown is rather sad, I must say. I’m not sure if it is COVID related or not, but many of the shops in the Main Street down from the station towards the port had their shutters closed. After checking into the hotel, I walked down to the beach and was a bit disappointed. First of all the beach is gravel, not sand and second it was not maintained but loads of wood debris and plastic among it lay on the beach. Another point of disappointment was that a mothership cloud huddled around Mt. Fuji and it was not enticing the eye.

However, I made one discovery. I saw something like a ferry leaving Numazu port. Yeah! Boat! Back at the hotel I found out that this is a ferry which goes only during the summer to a place called Osezaki, on the northeastern tip of the Izu peninsula.
I went to the port and the ferry promptly the next morning and had a fantastic little day trip. It was nicely windy and the 33 Celsius felt like 33 Celsius instead of 41 or so in the city. Blue sky, blue sea, boat, great views of the surrounding hills and at the end of the boat ride awaited a sleepy beach village of some twenty houses only, and I wonder if anybody even lives there when it’s not summer. The ferry was built for 200 passengers but only 15 or so were on board. I feel so bad for all these summer holiday providers all over the world who are not making good business this summer. One of the staff on board sold shrimp crackers for the seagulls and I admired their flight skills and several took the snacks from my hand without harming me. Their precision is amazing.

Arrived at the beach there were at least some normal summer activities going on but even there all sales staff at whatever stalls wore masks and some of the guests too.

The Osezaki peninsula has a shrine and a pond with carp to offer and some very old trees and is altogether beautiful. In other weather it must look even more amazing to have Mt. Fuji across the bay, but the mothership cloud hung over the mountain the entire time, seeming not to move even a centimeter.

I thoroughly enjoyed the place and the wind and it truly felt like summer vacation.
Arrived back in Numazu port, I went to the small deep sea aquarium there. It’s nice, but cannot compete with the great and huge Notojima aquarium the week before.
On the way home I crossed paths with a not very well looking guy in his fifties. His face was super red, he was not wearing a hat and he was walking very fast while staggering a bit. He looked like a dangerous case of heat stroke… I am sure there were many that day in Japan, which saw temperatures sore to over 40 Celsius in some places and that with high humidity… uh.

On my second day in Numazu I actually did the same thing as the day before, I took that ferry to Osezaki. It seemed the most sensible thing to do in the insane heat. It was even hotter than the previous day due to less wind. But luckily on the ferry and at the Osezaki peninsula tip there was still some wind to be had which made the heat bearable, if just barely. But my second trip was rewarded with the very tip of Mt. Fuji peaking above the omnipresent mothership cloud. I had contemplated to go into the water, but a prickly heat rash from the day before on my legs made me decide against it, that rash would have definitely gone worse in the merciless sun. Nevertheless I had a good time at the beach in the shade and with some wind in my face.

Kanazawa Part 2

My second day started out with a walk through the Nagamachi samurai district and the Omicho fish market but both were pretty much deserted and many shops and stalls were closed. While I didn’t feel the lack of tourists really the day earlier at Kenrokuen, here it was all too obvious that the place is a tourist town and that there is now a lack of them. There had been not too many people in Kenrokuen but a few had been around and I had perceived that as an advantage, but in the samurai house district and the fish market the disadvantage became truly obvious. Luckily there is still some local tourism in Japan. I cannot even imagine what e.g. Angkor Wat is looking like now, since Cambodian people have in general not enough money for tourism. Siem Reap must be so sad now and all the locals who depend on tourism for their livelihood are out of jobs and probably struggling to survive.

I wandered all the way to the Higashi Chaya tea house district, and at least there were a few people again and a few shops were open. I had an excellent Yuzu (a Japanese lemon variety, very tasty!) shaved ice in one of the open cafes and cooled off a bit thanks to it. The heat that day was pretty insane.

Giving in to the heat, I rode with a bus back to Kenrokuen and the museums around it and visited the Ishikawa Prefectural Art museum. They have a standard exhibition of pottery, lacquer ware and paintings, but they also had a special exhibition going on of a local artist called Rei Kamoi (never heard of him before). He lived in Paris and Spain for a while it seems. His paintings are mostly portraits of elder people, most of them pretty dark and close to depressive. He did not vary his style very much, all those people have their mouths open in some form and their eyes are just holes. He also painted churches, cubic things without resemblance to real churches. It was interesting, but didn’t knock my socks off. I wondered around a bit outside again to two shrines, then made a stop at the very minimalist D. T. Suzuki Museum. He was a Buddhist philosopher who introduced Zen Buddhism to the rest of the world. The museum is tiny, but has great architecture stressing clarity of thought in its minimalist style.