We had a delightful time in Shikoku, even with all the rain. In fact our introduction to the Iya Valley, driving the treacherously narrow valley mountain roads in the rain was absolutely the best way to see it. I took old Route 32 from Iyaguchi Station towards Iya Onsen and it was if we were driving into a sumi landscape. It was magnificent! I only hope that some of my images match the feeling we had that day.

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©Mitsuhiro Okada

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Then kindess and sweetness that we experienced in Japan is really something. I had no problem driving the back roads in the country but when we get to the cities, we had difficulties finding our way. In Yawatahama we couldn’t find our hotel even when we knew we were close. I drove down one lane and ran into a pedestrian covered shopping street, which I knew was not where we wanted to go, so I stopped and there were cars behind me waiting for me to do something. So I got out and asked the driver in the car behind me if he knew where the hotel was. He didn’t speak any English, but he and his wife repeated the name of the hotel, and she got out of the car and motioned for me to follow her, and I got back in my car and she showed me, on foot, how to find the hotel.

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©Tokushima Prefecture

That evening we went out to a couple of restaurants where no one spoke English and they didn’t have the picture menus and it really didn’t matter at all, through smiles and laughter and sign language we had a fabulous time. Everyone seemed so eager to help. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised, we have been so lucky to be treated so kindly by people around the world, but I never take it for granted. In Japan I felt I could really relax.

Thank you for all your help.

Macduff

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