Friday, October 23, 2009


I arrived in Sendai late afternoon and was immediately immersed by fume, traffic, noise and people. Even more so than Sapporo, Sendai felt like a city with an attitude. But its saving oasis was the fact that it is a “City of Trees” and the greenest big city I’ve ever seen. Thousands of trees adorned long streets, hiding traffic lights, humming the noise and absorbing the fumes.

Sendai Eki (Sendai Station) is built up and down several floors packed with shopping galore catered to any needs. Arcades, boutiques, pachinkos, high-end restaurants, ramen shops, massage parlors and so much more. While waiting for my host to pick me up I sat down on the bench outside the station and let my thoughts wonder. Still unable to understand why I am so fascinated with Japan and its inhabitants I concentrate on watching people. Sararymen wearing black suites, suitcases in hands hurrying to and from station; young beautiful girls dressed in “sailor moon” uniforms and knee highs flirting with schoolmates; stylish young men with most wondrous hairdos clad in skinny jeans, tall boots and trendy shirts playing with each other; older ladies draped in kimonos trotting on zoris to local supermarkets. I could watch them for hours. Every move, word or smile made me wonder.

I got very lucky with the weather, it stayed above 20C (70F) for several days while I was in Sendai. So without much delay one morning I packed my shoulder bag and set off to Matsushima.

Matsushima is located half an hour north-east of Sendai and is considered one of three most scenic sights in all Japan. In 1689 a renowned Haiku poet Matsuo Basho wrote a legendary haiku about Matsushima:

Matsushima ah!
A-ah, Matsushima, ah!
Matsushima, ah!

Supposedly he was so in awe of its beauty that he had no other words to describe its splendor. Nowadays, Matsushima Bay is filled with souvenir shops, travel agents, taxis and tourists but all you need to get away is to walk across a bridge to a nearby island and get lost in its forest. Filled with clear scents of pine needles, fresh earth, tree roots and musty wood, the island is a harbor to all seeking solitude and peace.

I’ve encountered no adventures in Sendai, except for one man who confessed his love to me but I think something was lost in translation when he told me he loved me within 15 minutes of our encounter.

Thanking my Phillipino host John Paul for being kind and thoughtful, I set off to Fukushima.


  1. Especially love the photo of the moss-covered steps... did you get to walk on them?

  2. no. they were behind a `no walking` sign :(

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