The serious wind of the night has dropped and the morning is bright and clear but rather cold. Hot coffee for breakfast with Akita apples. D. looks around the Tono Windy Hill produce shop where some strange tree fruit that I have never seen before is on display. The Akebi, apparently, is about 8 to 10 cm. long and 4 or 5 in diameter. I am not tempted to taste it.
Tono Furusato Village
The interest of the shop exhausted, we move on to visit Tono Furusatomura, a village of old, traditional houses. This is another collection of buildings collected from various locations and put together in a park to be preserved. It is pleasant to walk around the park on a fine day.
The houses house nothing to show lifestyle; mostly they are empty shells with a few old, odd artifacts in them. There are some interesting agricultural implements around but no explanations. There are elderly volunteers around to chat to visitors but mainly they tend the traditional, kitchen fires. The smoke from which, curling around the blackened rafters, protects the thatched roofs from insect invasion.
D. chats with some of the volunteers and can understand them without serious difficulty but when they talk to each other she is completely lost due to their strong, regional dialect.
We come across a stable with a handsome, white horse observing us over the gate and then other horses in a field. I think they use the horses for work in the park and perhaps for events. There are obviously classes or festivals to introduce traditional crafts – pottery, weaving dying etc.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.