It started with a nice morning jog out to Kleenex Stadium to get my first real look at the stadium for the local professional baseball team, the Rakuten Eagles. Fortunately, it was a pretty uneventful run and did not involve me getting lost.
In the afternoon, I was determined to study Japanese and clean my apartment before going exploring but for some reason I couldn't bring myself to study or clean and so after fighting with myself for a few hours, I gave up and went out to enjoy the day while sunlight lasted. (It gets dark here at about 7 pm)
I started out by heading down a small side street and ran into the War Reconstruction Memorial Museum which made me want to stop. I put it on my list of "Things to Do in Sendai" and kept walking. Then I walked past the used bookstore that always has me craning my neck as I walk past to get a glimpse of what is inside. But I kept walking. Well, by the time I saw a funny little staircase leading to a random road that seemed to go to nowhere, I couldn't resist. I walked down the stairs and found myself in a random field that had little paved roads running through it. It was a very surreal experience to have nothing but tall grasses and wild flowers and bushes around and these straight little paved roads running through it.
Also, curiously enough, the longer I walked on one of these little abandoned roads, the louder some yelling grew in the distance. I walked towards the sound, up for some good people watching and found hundreds of high school students in the middle of a tennis competition at these tennis courts that seemed very much out of the way.
I wanted to take pictures of these hundreds of students in their colorful school uniforms all playing tennis and being typical teenagers who find themselves in a new situation. Instead, I kept walking on one of those little paths right past the tennis courts into the great unknown. Once I got there, I found that I was still within earshot of all the high schoolers and so I had the surreal experience of looking at this:
The road led back to the tennis courts so I stayed around and watched a match or two, fascinated by how loud tennis was. I feel like tennis in the West is silent. I had a friend who played tennis in high school and she said that people would glare at others who happened to let their wine corks pop with too loud of a noise. But instead, these kids had a cheer for everything - a good serve, a good shot, a winning point, a lost point. You name it - there was something the entire team yelled in unison.
On I wandered, up through Sendai Castle (again) and up the road to Yagiyama, which was my real destination. Yagiyama is a mountain in Sendai and apparently where a lot of college students live because it's cheaper to live on a mountain than near the university. At the top of the road there is Bennyland on one side which is a run-down amusement park that looked really fun until I read about it later on the internet. On the other side is the Yagiyama Zoo which - fun fact - was the spot that Babe Ruth hit the first home run in Japan ever back when that spot was a baseball field. (Who knew Babe Ruth even went to Japan, right?). On I wandered, hoping to see something interesting. As I walked I sang, The Bear Went Over the Mountain since that was exactly what I was doing. I just wanted to see what I could see. The road led down and around through all of these shops and homes. Soon I was pretty exhausted from walking so much but my curiosity kept me going on so I wandered on and on, worrying that going down the road meant I would have to go back up it later. I had already hiked this mountain once. But on and on my curiosity got the better of me - just around the next curve, I told myself as my altitude dropped lower and lower and then, somehow I realized that the city I had been looking at in those rare glimpses at an overlook was really the same skyline I had come from. I ended up down the mountain, only a few roads away from my house. Next time, I think I need to try going the other way so I can actually see the mountain and not just go up it and then down again. :)
But here is the city of Sendai from one of the overlooks.
And that is the story about how the Bear Went Over the Mountain to see what she could see and ended up just back where she started.