It didn't take me long to decide to travel to Tsuruga right after work on my 25th birthday. I've always been a person who insists to celebrate my birthday as an ordinary day. Everyday is new, and birthdays are no exceptions. Perhaps it's merely a time mark to keep track of how long we've been breathing on earth.
I remember telling my students my date of birth at the beginning of September. While I was walking around school on Friday, some of my 1st-year-boys saw me, and they shouted, "Sandra!! Happy birthday! I love you!!" At that moment I almost burst into tears, and yelled back, "I love you all too!" They made my day. No doubt by far the most touching birthday greetings I've ever heard.
Every weekend is filled with spectacular, mind-blowing, and soul-rejuvenating activities that now I'm two weeks behind my writings. Anyhow.
When the train slowing rolled and finally arrived at Tsuruga station, it was already 9:45pm. I walked out of the station and waited, then my friend Iker was there riding his bike appeared in the dimness of the streets. We exchanged hugs, loaded my luggage and guitar on his bicycle, we were
Oct 18th, 30th Anniversary
good to go. We checked out Kehi shrine on the way and rode through the pine tree forest (Kehi-no-matsubara). After a couple months living in the fast-pace Osaka, the aroma of pine trees suddenly untie the knot of my mental tension. I've been hungry for the refreshing scent during my hectic weekdays.
The second day we chilled on the Kehi-no-matsubara beach. Tsuruga is surrounded by mountains and the Japan sea. The water is really calm and time means nothing here. We drank sake while chatting, then saw Arnaud, Iker's French friend running toward us. I met him once in Osaka during silver week, such a character. So happy to see him again. Minutes later rain started to pour down, we enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed the sun. That was certainly just a quickie, the result was a rainbow showed up across the sky before us.
Later that day we checked out Tsuruga's famous fish street, had yaki-niku for dinner, went up to the mountain and roamed around Kanagasaki Shrine. The shrine itself was lit by lanterns and its overwhelming energy created a sense of otherworldliness that almost freaked me out. However my two friends were busy
posing for supermen flying photos. Gorgeous.
Drove down the mountain, went to the port of Tsuruga, the Tsuruga port has been an important seaport in Japan since long time ago. Later we went back to the beach. Brought Korean shouju, candles, guitars, and a plastic bucket as a drum. Above us only sky, surrounded us the water and mountains. We played guitars, drummed, sang to the rhythms to our heart's content, accompanied by the sounds of the water. I swear, no Karaoke room stereo was comparable to the vast space and the resonance of nature.
In the western standard, marathon is the symbol of ultimate challenge of our physical endurance. In honor of the Greek messenger who delivered the news from marathon to Athens, we've always known marathon as the 42.195 km super-long-distance run. However, I was completely bewildered when I found out that the longest race for Tsuruga Marathon was 10 km. Apparently for the Japanese, marathon is merely a name for any medium/long distance foot race. ^^
When we were on our way to the race, the 3km and 5km participants, who started the race before us, were making their way to the finish line.
Majority of the group was Elementary or Junior High school kids, accompanied by their parents. We saw some of Iker's students. Super excited, we joined the people on the streets and cheered them Ganbarre. According to Iker, all of the students in his school had to participate. No wonder Fukui is the second healthiest prefecture in Japan.
We finally found the registration location five minutes before the race. Thankful for a Japanese young man who was very kind to help us out. We hurry to put the numbers on our shirts. Two minutes before the race started, we were at least 500m away from the start line. And damn. I felt the urge to go to the washroom. I dashed to the nearest one, the cop who was directing the traffic pointed me to the opposite direction and said, "The start line is over there!" Haha who knew someone would dash out in the last minute before the race?
When I got back to the start line it was already 9:37am, officially two minutes after the starting time. Everyone had started the race, I was at least 300m behind the last group of runners.
A good day
for me. I knew it. My pace fit into a rhythm and I was more aware of the people who came out to Ganbatte us up. I delightfully responded by waving and smiling back at them. The race turned out to be extremely pleasant, passed through a tunnel and the pine forest. I reached the finish line in 56 minutes.
Met up with Iker and his co-workers. It was amazing to see how many teachers participated. The energy amount the runners was just magical!! ^^
You see, what can beat soaking in an onsen after a long race? Met up with Arnaud and we went to Kirameki Onsen on top of a mountain. Wow! Surreal! Bathing in onsen water and have an outlook of Tsuruga city on a beautiful day. What an oasis!
I made my way back to Osaka in the evening of Sunday, grateful for the hospitality of my two friends and the people in Tsuruga, brought back a stronger sense of health and happiness. I was more than ready to go back to work the next day. Loving every moment of my life.
(Two pages of photos)
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