Love Letter to Miyajima

Read in Japanese

Oh, Miyajima.

When I first met you you were wreathed in fog, but it made you look like one of those forbidden islands filled with dinosaurs/prehistoric beasts etc, so I didn't mind. I'd heard you were full of such wondrous things as floating shrines, rope-ways, mountains for climbing, and an aquarium (which is closed until 2011, but it`s OK, you`re cool even without a display of otters). We don't ride ferries where I'm from and oh, Miyajima, you offered such excitement.

Miyajima, I`d heard of your floating shrine, and it was beautiful even in the drizzle, but I didn`t know that when the tide drew out I would be able to walk over and touch it. I didn`t know that deer would assault me at every turn, either, but despite their unexpected manginess and the somewhat terrifying persistence with which they sought out foodstuffs in your pockets, hands, and the fibers of your shirt/jacket, they were still cute. But back to the giant gate that sits out there in the tide, Miyajima. I heard that if you throw money through the top, you`re granted some luck, but that was after we`d already parted ways. At least I touched the gate, and the little barnacles that grew on it.

Miyajima, I loved climbing to the top of Mount Misen. It was fun, even though we didn`t see the promised monkeys (your sign didn`t tell us that they were all moved to Inuyama, but according to a friend`s host mother (who I think was pulling one over on us, honestly) that is indeed what happened). We saw a deer with a leg missing, and another with a sunken eye. Is there some deer-assaulting monster in the midst of your wooded mountains, Miyajima, or what? We looked for one of those, too, but for the two hours it took to climb the mountain (what with all the stopping for ridiculous pictures and staring at streams/trees and off-trail rock-climbing) we did not see that, either. Perhaps it was also deported to Inuyama. But at least we got to see the view from the top, and it was quite refreshing after all of that climbing. I want to see it again. The ride down on the rope way was just as beautiful. I`m glad we caught the last one down.

And, Miyajima, I didn`t expect you to be filled with such yummy stand food. (Sometimes I regret getting that delicious Kitsune Soba instead of stuffing myself with various fried/boiled/grilled/steamed things on sticks and in paper bags, but one day I will return, Miyajima, with 2000 yen for that express purpose). At least I ate the fried momiji. And the unfried momiji. And the icecream in fried bread. And the honey drink. And the sweet potato cake. Miyajima, you did not judge me.

I would love to visit in the summer, Miyajima. We could spend another day together again.

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