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Monday, July 06, 2009

Visiting the old lighthouse at Miura Kaigan

Yesterday afternoon I headed off to Miura (a seaside city situated at Tokyo Bay) with dorm mate Tristan, to check out an old lighthouse. Along with Tristan were Pong, whom I met a day earlier when we went to see the Gundam statue, and Jack, whom I've never met prior to the trip.

The train journey to Miura lasted for a bit more than an hour, luckily for me, I slept through most of it.

After reaching the Miura-Kaigan station, we first took a bus.

And then we travelled by foot.

The adventure was a perilous one. We encountered a dangerous centipede that in my active imagination would morph into a 500-feet gigantic monster and devour us all.

But then we finally reached the lighthouse.

The lighthouse had been around for quite a while.

The Miurakaigan lighthouse

A plaque said that it was "illuminated since 1st of March, 1871". This means that the lighthouse was open 113 years and 5 days before my birth. I'm not sure whether it's still working now though.

"Illuminated 1st of March 1871"

I walked past the lighthouse and looked into the distance, and saw this.

The view behind the lighthouse

A boat passed by.

Summer has arrived in Japan. But being on the hill, and by the sea, the weather felt much cooler and refreshing.

The old lighthouse was like a 'MacGuffin'. This trip really wasn't about visiting the lighthouse, but to check out its surroundings: The sea and its pounding waves, the sleepy city so far removed from Tokyo, the plants about me that were constantly swaying rhythmically with the wind.

Being there felt as if a vast space was stretching before me, not a monolithic, futuristic building in sight, nor the all-engulfing sea of humanity I often find myself wading through wherever I was in the city of Tokyo, the cacophony of city noises replaced by the slow sleepy sounds of nature. I don't have any preferences, but the brief change of environment wasn't entirely unwelcome.

I moved to a slope near the lighthouse.

A scenic view of the sea?

The miurakaigan lighthouse from a distance

I couldn't help but think of the settings in Andrei Tarkovsky's film, STALKER.

Flowers in a broken bucket?

We then moved closer to the sea.

As I was about to leave the seashore, the rest of the guys spotted some jellyfish in the water.

As they swam, the jellyfish seemed to dance a slow and hypnotic dance. I later saw the reeds that gave me the same feeling. One dances in water, the other dances in the wind?

Endless green

Night arrived when I finished my dinner at the McDonald's by the beach.

Miurakaigan McDonald's at night

Miurakaigan shops at night

And then we made our way to the station again.

Returning to the Miurakaigan station