Home but not home

The route from Yokohama to Kamakura turned out to be an interesting one. It was much more mountainous than I expected, and without a map, many bending roads and no point of reference I soon began to wonder if I was going in the right direction. I climbed up a huge hill and descended into a densely populated but deadly quiet valley and was suddenly surrounded by mountains. A quick ask-for-directions at a nearby gas station helped me out though, and I managed to find my way onto a big road.

Kamakura is a great place to cycle! There's a lot of temples, shrines and other old buildings everywhere, and there's a lot of green at the side of the road. It's hard to believe that such a beautiful place is right next to big ugly cities like Yokohama and Tokyo. I was a little disappointed at Yokohama actually. I used to think it was a very beautiful city, but as soon as you leave the area between Yokohama station and Minato Mirai it quickly becomes just an ordinary, slightly dirty Japanese city, with a lot of homeless people.

My beach

I'd never cycled between Kamakura and Enoshima before, but I knew I was back home. One left-right, one uphill-downhill and I was at Enoshima. This was the road that I've traveled so many times I've lost count. Sometimes for training, sometimes to take photos, sometimes to go on a trip with friends. It definitely felt like home. I cycled to Hiratsuka, took a break at the beach at my usual place, cursed my leg which still hurts when walking on the soft sand, and then continued onward to Atsugi. Returning to my home base.

Who could possibly forget this street?
Or this one?

But it isn't really my home base any more, and there is really nothing binding me to this city right now, besides wanting to see my friends. As I got closer and closer to Atsugi I felt more and more as if I was not returning home, but just visiting another city, a city where my old friends just happened to live in, but nothing more than that. I realized that I could just as easily stay at a neighboring town instead, or camp in the somewhat-nearby mountains. I might do that later on, but not today. I need to give my knee some rest, so I checked into the cheapest business hotel I could find and am now in a hotel room near Hon Atsugi station. Returning to this place made me realize for the first time that I no longer belong here, and that I am free to go wherever I please. I will never again cycle the same route from my apartment to work every morning, and I will never cycle back and forth between my apartment and the station in various states of drunkenness. I feel less sad about that than I thought I would.

I'm traveling onwards! Atsugi is not my final destination. It's just a temporary resting place until I find the next challenge. As for how long I will stay here, who knows? I might keep that a secret for a little while ;)

Home

(Side note: the bloody coin laundry here costs 700 yen!?!?! Looks like I'll be visiting the youth heim once more before I leave..)

Posted in Spirit of Japan