Last week, I spent a whole day at my exhibition. I don’t think it helped sales but I learnt about what paintings people liked.
On the final day of the exhibition, after I had finished and had packed away my work, I decided that I needed some fresh air. This was a cafe where people could smoke and I could feel that tobacco as a heaviness in my lungs and I didn’t like it.
So I drove up the mountain, found an interesting place and stopped.
This was all impromptu.
The weather was cloudy and it was raining very lightly. I thought that I would just take a few photos.
But then I found myself taking a short stroll. And then I found myself walking up the mountain. This involved walking through a huge, empty and square-shaped concrete tunnel with a very strong echo which provided me with some great amusement.
After this, I saw steam coming out of the drains. I definitely knew that I was not in England!
Although this area had the usual ugliness of modern suburban Japan there were a few beautiful sites, such as a dramatic 60 meter high waterfall, a very elegant traditional Japanese gate and the scene in the painting above which I really liked and which made the whole venture worthwhile.
In this scene, I especially like the steam rising up. It creates a wonderful atmosphere. And, of course, I like that beautiful stone wall.
After taking a few photos of this scene I went further on up the mountain via a lot of small winding paths which led through a small forest and even past one of the pipes where steam was gushing out. There is no fencing around the pipe and the noise was so high-pitched that I had to cover my ears.
On my return, I came upon a fork in the path with a sign that told tourists they could walk along one of the paths for about 17 kilometers and about 19 kilometers on the other.
I felt a strong temptation to walk along one of these paths but it was getting late and I had family responsibilities: namely, a two year old. But I am looking forward to coming back here one day and walking along these paths. I’m really curious about what’s around here, fingers crossed there might be some beautiful sights.
Somewhere upon this mountain, once a year, they have a huge fire and it makes the mountain look like a volcano with lava running down it. It is a spectacular sight.
That’s all for now, Gareth.
I wrote this story in September of 2014. I edited it in 2022. This story needed almost no editing.
Sadly, I have not returned to Beppu to explore the paths that I mentioned here. In fact, I had forgotten all about them until I read this story. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll go and explore them.
This story made me think, though, about paths never taken in my life. But maybe I shouldn’t think too much about that as it’ll take me into all kinds of existential thoughts and angst.