The coastal area of the city where I live is dotted with fishing villages. Many of the villages have coves and beaches. Sometimes, I drive out there and run along the shore of one particular village. I never see anyone else. No one else is out enjoying the beach, so I have it all to myself.
Actually, I never see anyone in the village. In the daytime and early evening, the village is empty and eerily quiet. All I can hear is the gentle ebb and flow of the sea. Wandering through the village, you get the feeling that time has stood still for the past 30 or 40 years. It certainly has for the past 20, which is how long I’ve been going there. In those 20 years, I have seen no one, and seen nothing change. The wooden houses which line the narrow streets are the same, the one shop in the village, which is just a dark room of a house with a few bits and pieces, and no one around to serve customers, is the same. The shore front is the same. It’s as if this little corner of Japan is in its own bubble. When I go to the village, it’s so easy to forget that there is a world out there, beyond the sea. A world with countries, cities, people, businesses….life….
When I run along the shore, it’s just me and the sea, and my thoughts. I can forget about everything else going on in my life and just be at peace. I like to go in the late afternoon when the sun is slowly sinking. The shadows, like those of time, are long, and the birds overhead squawk to each other – the only sign of communication I’ve ever seen there.
After a run, and a walk by the water to cool down, it’s time to get back in my car and return to the real world. But for an hour or so while I’m at the village, the world ceases to exist. And in a way, that’s a good feeling.