Train Ride under the Dark Sky

It was a day for me to get on a local train.

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I had to go to four city halls to collect documents of family record for a person who passed away recently. It is the time that anything can be done online, but many systems in Japan are such out of date that require people wasting much time.

 

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The top of Mountain Suganadake is hidden by the dark cloud.

 

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The train went east toward Fukushima along Agano River.

 

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I got of the train. Fukushima was still very much far. There were a few passengers getting of the train with me.

 

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The office was at 10 minutes walk distance from railway station.

 

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Just after 1 p.m. I went back the station. There were not many things even in front of the railway station because this was a rural area.

 

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Actually I had to wait in the station for two hours. No one was there.

 

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View from the train window. A highway running along Agano River was protected by concrete roof.

 

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It was dark but not in the night. The train was running through a tunnel.

 

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I had to still visit one more city hall at the time when I took this photo. This train trip was not an excursion for leisure. I was just moving under the dark winter sky in Niigata, JAPAN.

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I have got things to do in Kanto Plain. So I decided to travel to Kanto region for several days. I got on a local train first to head Niigata.

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When the local train crossed a river, I saw Gozu Mountains that had got some new snow. It was dark. Yes winter days in Niigata are always under the dark clouds.

 

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I took a Shinkansen, or Bullet train in Niigata.

 

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Less than two hours, you can get under the clear blue sky in the Kanto Plain. There are lots of unequal things in this world, you know. People in Kanto can enjoy this fine weather in winter, while people in Niigata have to live under the dark clouds with wet, chilly, and snowy weather.

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I got on a local train in the morning.

 

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I could see a little bit of snow on the rice fields. The coldest weather hit Japan yesterday.

 

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There was an objet at the west entrance of JR Niitsu station.

 

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A person gave me a pack of Sushi as a souvenir. The sushi was “Engawa” that was muscle at the base of fin of flatfishes.

 

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Dipping into soy sauce, I ate the first piece of Engawa Sushi.

 

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A close-up photo. Of course this is raw fish. Do you want to eat it? I like it.

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Behind the town runs a river.

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There is a small ship building yard. The factory can be seen behind the three vessels on the river. But I am not sure the company is still doing shipbuilding.

 

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I went to Niigata in the evening. I had a dinner with one of my students who learned Japanese from me. The Izakaya restaurant was just near the JR Niigata station. Sashimi or slices of raw fish were fresh and tasty.

 

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Niigata is famous for Sake that is rice wine. I ordered three brands assortment. One was Kirinzan, the other was Hokusetsu, but I forgot the third one. In front of three bottles, that was oyster fries. Anyway I enjoyed food and talk.

Morning Market in Niitsu, Akiha-ward, Niigata, JAPAN

Morning market is held on the 1st and 6th date of every month in Niitsu. Niitsu is a town that is located southern Niigata. JR local trains in every 20 minutes take you from Niigata to Niitsu. It takes about 20 minutes. Since it is called “morning market”, so better to get there by 11 a.m.

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If you walk to the market from Niitsu JR station, this is the entrance of the market.

 

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I always buy Kimchi at Ms.Minami Yamashita’s shop. She is shy so she hid herself behind the board.

 

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Inside her cooler box. You can see there are Radish Kimchi and Cucumber Kimchi.

 

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A man was selling seafood. He was talkative very much. He said he didn’t take photographs but liked reviewing other’s photographing. Sliced salmons were on his shelf.

 

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There were some flower shops in the market.

 

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I like this old person’s fruit shop.

 

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Western pear “Le Lectier” were being sold with very much reasonable prices. The old person said to me that they were reasonable because it was the end of the season. “Le Lectier” is Niigata’s speciality.

 

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This is all that I bought in the market;

7- Fuji apples = 500 JPY

2 packs of Yellow Kiwi = 500 JPY

1 – Chinese Cabbage Kimchi = 500 JPY

1 – Radish Kimchi = 500 JPY

Green vegetable = 100 JPY

So it costed 2,100 JPY in total. If I apply foreign currency rate of  1 USD = 109 JPY, it would be 19 dollar 27 cent. Expensive or reasonable? It depends on you. I have no complaint about the prices because I enjoyed talking with buyer. That is the beauty of morning market.

 

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I got back home, cut Chinese Cabbage Kimchi into small pieces, and then put it into a small grass container.

 

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Actually, yellow kiwi was not so yellow. It was yellow green. I wanted to change color of this photo so that it could look yellow. But I couldn’t make it, although I tried to adjust colors by an imaging software.

 

Morning market in Niitsu is small. Please do not expect a large market. It is just a tiny small market using a space of parking lot by the JR railway line. Some towns in Niigata area hold this kind of morning markets. Dates are different town by town. In Niitsu, 1st and 6th. In some town, it is 2nd and 7th, or 4th and 9th. I am not sure you would be interested in the market, but please check the date before you visit some of them.

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I took a walk in the afternoon.

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Walking through the bridge, crossing the river, and getting behind of the bank, I thought I could find something there.

 

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I could see the mountains that have more than 1000-meter height. They should be completely white in this time of the year. But this winter is too warm for them to be white.

 

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I saw some white creatures on the dried paddy fields. There was also a lady who was taking photos of those white birds by her smartphone. I talked to her on the way. She told me that they were swans.

 

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They might have been talking about when to get back Siberia because it was warm as if the spring had already come.

 

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Mountains of 2000-meter height looked white.

 

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Green vegetables on the ground.

 

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I crossed the river again to go back to the town where I stay.

 

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Walking on a river bank was not so bad.

 

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Getting dark, so it was time to go home.

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I left Kanto Plain in the early morning today. Getting on a train, I headed north.

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Terrain was becoming mountainous as the train moved north towards the end of Kanto Plain.

 

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The platform was thinly covered with snow.  As the train went north, snow depth increased.

 

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Having got through some long tunnels, the train was running in southern part of Niigata prefecture. This winter is warm, so there is not much snow on the ground and mountains.

 

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My hometown is on the lower land of Niigata Plain. Thanks to the low altitude and the record-warm winter, there is no snow on the ground. This is just a rural town under the dark cloud of winter.