Posts Tagged ‘ Asago ’

Snow in July. . .

Friend and author, Michael Gillan Peckitt (@peckitt), lives in Suita, Japan. He posted this photo today (Wednesday, July 30, 2014) on Facebook of what the weather’s like there (33C is about 91.5F, by the way). Warm enough.

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I this deserves a photographic response, a scene from the small town where I lived some years ago, a February photo from Asago, Japan (called “Asaki” in my book). Consider this a cooling respite from the dog days of summer, which are now upon the Northern Hemisphere. . .

Nii Station. Winter '91. Shortcut to town center.

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Winter Scenes from a Small Town from Some Years Ago…

It’s been about 21 years since I lived in Asago, Japan, a town deep in the heart of Hyogo Prefecture’s Chugoku Mountains.  I grieve at the thought of all the photos from those days that I’ve lost.  So many moves and several lives have caused photos, in boxes small and large, in envelopes, in the backs of dresser drawers, to scatter away from me.  I’m slowly scanning-in, digitizing, what hard copy photos remain.

Here are three scenes from January, or February, 1991.  That’s the Bantan Line (播但線), the small train line that runs from Himeji in the south to Wadayama in the north.  A few years ago Wadayama was incorporated and consolidated into Asago (朝来), so there’s no more Wadayama now.

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Just a couple miles north of Asago (and its inner town, Nii / 新井, where I lived) is Takeda, home to the Takeda Castle Ruins.  Here’s a photo from my last year’s post on Takeda . . .


I write at length about Asago and my time there in several stories posted on this site, though I call it “Asaki”  in those tales.  Those who can read Japanese get the Asago/Asaki (朝来) joke.   For further reading I invite you to read “Duty,” “Etsuko,” and “Enlightenment.”

Takeda (竹田城)

Long ago I used to go to Takeda, over and over again.  I hope to update and expand this post over the coming months and year, providing the reader with a great deal of history, information, personal reminiscences, about Takeda, which was just two short train stops from the one that was a five minute walk from my house in Asago.  But I didn’t want to wait another week because I just came across this photo, of the blossoms next to Takeda Station (on the Bantan Line, running from Himeji to Wadayama* in Hyogo Prefecture).

At Takeda Station at the foot of Takeda Mountain.  Spring. 1991.

Takeda is a mountain (竹田山).  A hike-able mountain.  It’s also castle ruins atop that mountain (竹田城).  It’s the location of a big budget and historical samurai-era film, Ten to Chi to (天と地と / “Heaven & Earth”).  It’s where I’ve been with good friends, a former fiance, all alone, my mom, more good friends.  I look so forward to getting back someday soon.

Atop Takeda. Spring 91.

How to get to Takeda:  From Himeji Station take the Bantan line north towards Wadayama (since Himeji is the southern terminus, north is the only way it goes from there).  When you get to Ikuno you have three more stations to go (Nii, Aokura, Takeda).  As the train pulls in to Takeda Station (竹田駅) you’ll see Takeda mountain directly on your left — pretty much the view in the top photo.  De-train and follow the signs on the mountain-side of the tracks to and along the trail through a couple of small fields and then up the side of the mountain.

Trip time from Himeji to Takeda not much more than 90 minutes.  Time to from station to top of Takeda about 45 minutes, light-to-moderate hiking (for a reasonably fit person).

Note:  I’ll go come back to these photos sometime and clean up the little specks and smudges on these photos.

*Wadayama and Takeda have now been annexed into greater Asago.

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Update:  Two additional, old, dusty photos I found from a Winter ’90 visit to Takeda-jo . . .

A light dusting of snow atop Takeda. December 1990.

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Takeda-jo. Detail of larger pic. December 1990.

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A couple more photos, found almost a year later

Takeda Foundation. Spring 1991.

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The Bantan Line (播但線) heads north, leaving Takeda, entering Wadayama.

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