A Sea of Clouds

I recently had the privilege of seeing a spectacular sunrise over Ishizuchi Mountain, the highest mountain in western Japan. This picture is from about 1,500 meters above sea level, just as the sun started to emerge. The sea of clouds (雲海) almost looked like an ocean to me, and made having to get up at 2 a.m worth it.  More to come about this amazing experience soon.

A sea of clouds near Ishizuchi Mountain in Ehime, Japan.
A sea of clouds near Ishizuchi Mountain in Ehime, Japan.

The Sea, and Some Japanese History

Before I moved to Japan, this blog was called “Stories from the Lake.”  The name referred to Lake Michigan and stories involving the great city of Chicago.  I certainly miss staring out into the wonders of Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes in North America.  I used to spend hours in the summer and early fall walking along the shore or Belmont Harbor, listening to the waves and watching the sun reflect off the crystal blue water.
 
Now that I live in Japan, I am nowhere near a fresh body of water similar to Lake Michigan, but I do live right off the Sea of Japan.  When I first found out that Namerikawa was an old fishing community, known for hotaruika (firefly squid), I worried about tsunamis, but I was also happy that I would be living next to a large body of water.  In case my TV or computer ever breaks, I now have back-up viewing options. 
 
I can’t quite explain why, but I have always had a strong affinity for large bodies of water, be it a lake, ocean or sea.  There is something both peaceful and dangerous about these bodies of water.  Their beauty is parallel to nothing on Earth, yet so is their strength.  Swimmers can be swept in an undertow at any moment, large tsunamis can wipe out a town almost instantly and only gravity can control an Ocean’s tide.
 
All of this has led me to think that any large body of water is really a perfect metaphor for life.  We can try to control it the best we can, but in the end, some forces are just too powerful for us to change, so we have to let go.
 
Now that the weather is finally getting nicer (some days), I have been running along the Sea a bit more in hopes I will be running in a 5K or 10K this spring.  I took the above picture of the Sea of Japan on Saturday morning before jogging back to my apartment.
 
Not even the strongest man-made invention could ever tame this beauty.

I also came across this interesting sign about the history of Namerikawa and the significance of the shoreline in past wars.

(Some history of Namerikawa and the importance of the shoreline.)