And then to Gunma…..

Waiting for my ride to the next prefecture

“If you want to see the old Japan, you’ll find it here in Gunma.” So said my host, Angelo A., while we were chatting long before I stepped foot in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Soon enough I found myself on board the train heading north of Tokyo (where I had a grand time and had too short of a time to enjoy everything else it had to offer. I see myself back in that place soon) to the prefecture my hosts now call home. The wait at the Asukasa Station for the Tobu Rail Service ride to Isesaki didn’t take too long.

I’m first to board this train door

Gunma is still in the Kanto region of Japan, just like Tokyo is. But while Tokyo is urban, Gunma is rural, and the area is popularly known for its mountains and hot springs, and for anime fans, it is the backdrop for the popular street drifting anime called “Initial D”. I just may be too old to appreciate anime but not for the onsen (hot spring bath).

googled photo

Isesaki is the fastest growing city in the Gunma Prefecture

As we sped to our destination, lights along the tracks became sparse. We are really heading farther from the urban center. When we finally reached our stop in Isesaki and alit our train, the scene can be likened to a province- quiet, single storey structures dominant and the absence of the crowd made it appear that in this part of the region, the home is the preferred destination when the sun sets.

This is Isesaki, where my host lives. It is the fastest growing city in Gunma with a population that’s said to be “quite multiracial for Japan,” with immigrants from Brazil, Peru, India and Pakistani immigrants. To validate that claim, I had to wait for daylight. 

Isesaki, here I come!

Tonight my main concern was to see Angelo’s parents whom I haven’t see in ages, see where they live, and taste the special menu they have prepared. I am famished, hunger struck when I had a whiff of the food cooking in Ameyoko in Ueno and this had to be addressed, pronto!

Angelo’s car was parked a few steps from where we got off. One more thing that differentiated Isesaki from Tokyo is the mobility. Unlike Tokyo, where you can move from point to point via the train, a car is a necessity in Isesaki, it’s the only way you can move around in the area. Memories of the US visit flashed before my mind. I have to be dependent on my host to move around the area then, not good, but I hope they wouldn’t mind showing this tourist around.

I will have to discuss that matter with them at sunrise. In the meantime, I finally made it to Tito Obet and Tita Baby’s humble nest and the feast on the table was ready. This trip was going to be fun. I felt it. I knew it.

Finally, in Tito Obet and Tita Baby’s nest for my first Isesaki feast. Doing a Korean. Peace!
Little angels to keep me company

For more travel and lifestyle stories, visit: http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/

Published in SunStar Davao on November 17, 2011.

First bar visit in Isesaki with my hosts….No, we’re not Koreans.

Hot sake & edamame for us on a cold winter night.


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