Day 14 – Thursday, 11 April 2024

The valley. Might or might not be the Iya Valley. There are a few valleys around here

The price of getting Anna to agree to a whole week in Tokyo was some time somewhere remote and relaxed. Mission accomplished. She is poorly, so it is only the boys and I that set out on two missions – to grab a handful of things from a konbini and to do something, anything else. We take a different route down the mountain than the way we came up and it is, if anything, longer, windier, narrower, more precipitous and just plain scary in this direction. It takes about three hours to get to the bottom, psychologically, even if my phone insists it was no more than thirty minutes, all of it at less than thirty kilometres an hour, all of it spent knowing that brake failure would probably mean the death of all three of us. We survived, in case you were wondering.

Lunch was ramen, for lack of any other choice, and it was surely not only that fact that made it the best ramen I have ever had. That is not a high bar, but this was genuinely delicious.

I have, since the moment we left Australia, been overeating and am becoming a little concerned that the handful of indigestion tablets I grabbed as we left the house are in danger of running out, so I try, first at the konbini, then at a pharmacy, to pick up a packet of Mylanta or its equivalent, something available in every supermarket in Australia. I am bemused to find that, in this land where opium derivatives are available over the counter, magnesium carbonate, nor any reasonable substitute, is not. The chemist (I think he was) started talking about proton pump inhibitors, which seemed a little serious for a simple case of gluttony. In a mix of amusement and frustration, I asked if he knew where I could pick up some sodium bicarbonate. He told my phone, very solemnly, that such was not in wide use in Japan but that I might find some at the nearest large supermarket, half an hour away in the direction from which we had just come. I decided it could wait.

The chasm of, um, doom, probably

In any event, having risked our lives getting down the hill, it was time to find something to do, to make the day worth the hazard. On we went to the Iya no Kazurabashi, one of the few remaining rickety rope bridges across the river. Of course, these days it’s not really rope, being reinforced with steel cables, and unfortunately Seb is too old to swallow my take about no child under the age of fifteen ever having survived the crossing, but it is still a bit rickety-seeming and Seb was still a little bit scared.

Cool as cucumbers

From there, a trip into Miyoshi City, to replenish some supplies. I didn’t bother trying to find any bicarb. Then home, up the damn mountain road once more. As the driver, I couldn’t make it less scary by closing my eyes. But we survived once more.


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