Nov 10 2012

gorgeous gorge towards Towadako

Matthew my host from the U.S.A. has just moved from Seattle (Washington) here to Misawa (Aomori). He works on the U.S. Airfoce base at the gates of Misawa. “I’m a submariner”, he surprises me. He has already served on submarines. When they put out to sea they are sometimes more than three months under water. These days however he coordinates submarine manoeuvres from his office at the air base. Because such manoeuvres are also being coordinated with radar airplanes. Matthew’s training also involved operating the nuclear reactor on the submarines. He is not a captain though but even a captain has to understand how to operate every devices on his ship which includes the operation of the reactor.

On the way from Misawa to Towada

It brings back memories from an interview I did with U.S. Americans at the recreation Center in Garmisch Partenkirchen on my first big bicycle trip from Hamburg to Rome as they also have a little tax free store for the U.S. Military service only with U.S. American products.

Oirase gorge

Oirase gorge


Matthew is thinking about attending university as he will be retired at 41 if he stays with the military. “You could work in a nuclear power plant”, I’m saying. “That’s right and a lot of submariners do that afterwards but I don’t want to”, is his reply. He thinks more about something medical. What a combination, submariner and medic. With this training he could even cure whales in the Mariana Trench. Especially here in Japan there would be a big demand for that not only because of the whale hunt but also because of the radioactive substances which bled from Fukushima into the sea and are meanwhile being detected in fish products here. In the future the whale leukaemia rate here might increase. On the other hand one has to question if chemotherapy then is the right measure for the poor animals after all. And how does one get the whales through the chemotherapy tube anyway? Certainly a whale of a time! Even though, in Australia, U.S.A. and the UK oversized patients are not rare, it’s quite likely that GE has some device for such cases in their product range.

Waterfall in the Oirase Gorge

Waterfall in the Oirase Gorge

Through the Oirase Gorge I reach lake Towada, a caldera lake located 400 meters (1,800 ft) above sea level. Unfortunately I don’t get to see a lot of the gorge as I’m passing most of it in the dark. So I decide to explore it the next morning without my bicycle trailer. A decision which pays off. Even though the gorge attracts plenty of tourists – dozens of coaches with school classes, package tourist or retired people – leading to jams on the narrow hiking paths. However it’s always funny to be greeted by students with the same English phrases over and over again. The hiking paths are only that much-frequented close to the lake. After only two kilometres towards the valley this changes rapidly and the joyride begins. Once in a while little stairways interrupt the fun but in general the gorge can be explored pretty well by bicycle. It seems I’ve timed my arrival perfectly both regarding the daytime and the autumn foliage season. So I’m getting high by speed and am having a colour trip. Some advice for photographers: In between 9 and 10 am the gorge is most gorgeous as the light incides in a perfect angle. Before that time exploring the gorge from a photographers point of view is almost pointless as the place is still mainly covered in shadow.

Lake towada

Lake towada

gorgeous gorge towards Towadako von Daaaaaaaaaaaax

Special thanks to: Mattew Hahn, Bob Gettings (text revision), Melissa Monnier (text revision), (all U.S.A.); Sumire Harayama, Japan; Hubertus Neidhart from Webspace Provider Network for excellent web page hosting services; Lilith Pendzich

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