Cyclogeography 2: Sumigawa River Drift

Nishi Sayamagaoka- Ome (Hatanaka)

Drift Starting & Ending Points: Nishi Sayamagaoka- Oume (Hatanaka)

Distance (approx) 12 miles/19.3 kilometres

Following on from my first cyclogeography post back in November last year, a drift earlier this month took me around my new surroundings in Saitama prefecture  . Saitama  borders Tokyo and other prefectures. In an unfamiliar environment and my limited sense of direction, this mindless pursuit was very stimulating. Once off the busy, frantic , overbearing highway (463), my drift took me to natural surroundings and I felt more at ease. I found myself alternating between river trail and Route 63 . The river, being enveloped by trees, became a refuge as it offered resistance from the heavy sun and suffocating heat. The light flickered and dazzled brightly on the river surface while the lazy trout were clearly seen in clusters swishing around on the river bed. As well as the river trail, my attention was diverted to the surrounding architecture. There are many old glorious structures almost in ruins. How have they survived typhoons and earthquakes over the years?, I wondered to myself.

I recorded a bit of footage, the visuals are nothing special though it’s the sound that I find particularly engaging. The cicadas, when screeching in unison, are deafening but it’s a ubiquitous sound of the Japanese summer.




I headed off from the Sumigawa river and pedalled still sprightly into Hatanaka, a district in Ome-shi. Along the way, I  was particularly drawn to this old house. A house most definitely built during the Showa period (1926-1989). It’s characteristics being a little unusual as it’s made up of wood and corrugated iron. The lower structure could have been built for industrial purposes. I’m memorised by this twisted, misshapen yet fantastic spectacle. I decided to take refreshments at this spot near a desolate bus stop. With my note pad, I made a few preliminary sketches. The surrounding debris and worn objects were scattered around in no particular order. This space seemed still and lifeless, yet there was evidence of life existence within. It would be great to live here, I thought. I imagined its interior, the musty smells and how worn the tatami would be.  Then I thought about my mother-in-law and her rambling shack  just up the road, comparing and contrasting while sketching. Here the mayhem is visible on the outside. A dusty, old, orange bus passed and a few curious heads looked my way.

 Ome-shi Showa House

Ome-shi 2(2016)



One Reply to “Cyclogeography 2: Sumigawa River Drift”

  1. Really nice post Jason. And a great sketch. I’ve been to Japan a couple of times – to Tokyo and Osaka – and it fascinates me. I’m also quite envious of your cycle wanderings through such pleasant surroundings.


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