When was the last time you rode a bicycle in the open air? Was it through a forest of ferns, leaves swaying in the soft dancing shadows in the late afternoon sun? Maybe it was in the still of an Alpine lake, looking into the horizon framed by snow capped mountains, the silence punctuated by your laughing and the shrill sound of a rusted metal bell?
At Lake Tazawa (Tazawako in Japanese), indulge in your memories and fantasies by the lake, in a sightseeing boat, a swan shaped paddler or a bicycle around the aptly named Shirahama, famous for its squeaky white sand. With cherry trees, snow capped mountains, a walkway lapped by gentle waves and an encompassing lake whose mercurial face is a mirror to the elements, from inviting translucence in the sunshine to brooding grey in a storm, whose depths could hide a secret or two, this is a meditative space to rediscover nature and your humanity. All you need is a slowly playing violin or piano to complete the picture.
The famous Japanese poet Basho once said “How lucky I have felt to be in such a bright spring of the Tohoku district, where trees have just begun to bud all at once, giving a beautiful fragrance!" Poets from ancient times to today sing the joys of the cherry blossoms. I can’t find of a better way of experiencing this than from the shores of Lake Tazawa, with a picnic and a glass of sake or champagne.
When the cherry blossoms all bloom at once, it is like someone had suddenly turned on the lights in an open air theatre. Tazawako is a good case study of the duality of human and natural elements, like two contrasting characters in a play. While nature renews its youth every season, the human elements look like something that has been left behind. Like a cousin who you played with when you were growing up, and then the course of life takes you apart. You have left to make your mark on the world, and your cousin staying still in your home town. You come back to meet on at events outside your control, milestones and reunions. There is a certain sense of awkwardness when you meet again, seeing your cousin age under the elements, but knowing inside that you share a common childhood. On a cold spring afternoon, as showers wash the windows like tears from heaven, and seeing the almost abandoned aged swan and dinosaur paddle boats sitting still, silenced on the shore, you can’t help but think about some abandoned childhood, one that you forgot until now.