Traveling with The Silk Experience tour
On the bus. Cemeteries so compact, rice fields everywhere, so green with trees.
Our group is like a flock of birds, chirping, settling down, taking off again.
10 am the sun is breaking through.
Walls along the highway cut off most neighborhood views. Tile roofs, electrical wires everywhere overhead. Terraced fields. Little graffiti, not much. Tiny gardens crammed into yards. Vegetables and flowers.
90% of “Japanese” silk is made in other countries including China, not Japan. The machinery used to mill the filaments has become more rare, only 10 machines left in Japan? Gunma prefecture is known for its high quality silk production.
Bought postcard stamps. Very pretty. 80 yen each.
The towns are so quiet. Where is everyone? Beautiful mountains. Onions in every garden. An old man watering his garden with an old metal teapot with holes in the bottom.
Farming is done on a smaller scale. The ground is so smooth, tiny plants laid out in neat and even rows. No huge machinery, even their trucks are small. Tiny cemeteries and family gardens or farm plots side by side. Some hedgerows. Dogwoods in bloom. Paulownia? Full size bonsai in many yards. Serious retaining walls on the switchback road, holding back the mountain. Wild wisteria climbing the trees. Azaleas. Irises in bloom. Tile roofs, some solar.
Hanging lanterns look like silk cocoons. I hadn’t noticed that before.
The smell of woodsmoke, cigarettes, manure. Farm country.