October 3, 2016

The Evasive Sanshou

Sanshou (山椒) a spice used in Japan, mostly known for accompanying eel. I had never heard of it until the other day, when a photography website that I’m part of posted a brief from a magazine wanting a picture of it. I had a look and found out that there are several large farms that grow it not far away from where I live. I decided to hop in my car and see if I could get a picture of the sanshou to sell to the magazine. I arrived in the town after a 2 hour ride through the countryside and stopped at the local Michinoeki to see if they sold any, and if not, where I could find some. I unfortunately did not do proper research before heading out, and was told that sanshou is harvested in the spring, so they wouldn’t have any for quite a few months still. Slightly embarrassed for growing up on a farm and not thinking of this myself before I ran out my door, I decided that I wasn’t going to let the fact ruin my photo-trip. I spent the rest of the day driving around Oita Prefecture taking pictures. This is what we ended up with.

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A walking path next to the river by the Roadside Station.

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This heron just swooped in to scare off another. Next to the Roadside Station.


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Just up the road from the Roadside Station. Taken looking down off a bridge.


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A bridge winding across the river.


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I pulled off to the side of the road in a town called “The Mountain’s Mouth” (山ノ口) These are the rice paddies of that town.


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I found a parking lot on the side of the road next to a river.


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BW The fog had started to roll in. Taken from the parking lot next to the river.


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The river surging through the mountains.


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The fog started settling in when I reached Yabakei Gorge.


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The Blue Tunnel in Yabakei. A 144 meter long hand-dug tunnel.


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The tunnel was finished in 1763, it took 33 years to build.


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The priest who commissioned the tunnel charged a toll upon completion, becoming Japan’s first official toll road.


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The chisel markings in the tunnel.

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