Yesterday, more or less on a whim, I took a trip to Nikko. Yes, I'm way behind on the novel-writing gig, but that it was a holiday today, and I wanted to get my ass out of the house. Besides, its autumn, so I was hoping to see some Fall Color: every year, I keep meaning to go up into the mountains to look at the leaves change color, but never quite get around to doing it. This year, I thought I would make the effort.
I wound up taking the shinkansen to Nikko: that is, taking the shinkansen up to Utsunomiya, then taking a local train to Nikko. It probably cost twice as much as taking the other route I've taken (the Tobu express train from Asakusa) but I was already in Tokyo station when the whim hit me, and it was easier just take the train from there than to travel across town to Asakusa.
There wasn't as much Fall color as I was hoping to see, but there was enough at least to make it interesting. Also, I paid a visit to the famous shrines of Nikko for the first time.
As it was almost entirely on a whim, I had made no real plans about what to see where to go once I got there: essentially, I left the house and said myself, I'm going to Nikko, what the hell. So when I left Nikko station, I took a look at the map posted by the front entrance, oriented myself briefly, and started walking. Over the river and through the woods, up in the general direction of something marked on the map as a "Woodcarving Center". It was while walking to the woods on the way to this woodworks that I noticed a house in the woods.
I saw it ahead of me, a building with a spire that made it resemble some suburban California church, put up by some Protestant congregation with a limited budget in the building fund. The setting was idyllic, and the reddening leaves and crisp air made me think of New England.
As I approached the building from the side, it became clear to me that it was a house, albeit an idiosyncratic one. I saw on the side window, much to my surprise, an English-language For Sale sign, the sort you could buy in any hardware store in the United States, but looking somewhat out of place here in Japan.
The real surprise came when I rounded the corner of the House and saw was hanging over the front door:
Personally, I found a very peculiar way to advertise: it's entirely in English, and the wording indicates to me that the people who put up the banner are Americans (the term cell phone is an Americanism and someone British would call those sorts of phones "mobiles"#).
but what they're doing up here I have no idea. But if you're in the market for an American-style home in the woods of Nikko, give these guys a call. And if you're calling from overseas, the international dialing code is 81, and you need to omit the initial "0" of the number.