World Sketches from Our Friends

Gujo-hachiman: The water giggles cheerfully


My friend L leafed through the guidebook and stopped her finger at the page of Gujo-hachiman. We were on the trip without destination, and that page looked nice. So on the following day, we stood in the scenery same as the photograph in the guidebook. The traditional houses standing side by side like the row houses, the road without any cars, and the ditch between houses and road. The ditch is narrow enough to stride, but the tiny bridges span over it punctually. These bridges lead to the front doors of the houses, and the interesting point is that each of them has a little different shape. The water running through the ditch looks up to the bridges and giggles cheerfully.
We wondered where this water was going and got on the trail of it, and found ourselves walking in circles within the town of Gujo-hachiman. For why, the ditches are extended through the town and each of them is filled with water as clear as one in the other ditches. The bigger ditch has a sidewalk just suitable for stroll. The sidewalk paved with beautiful stones or tiles is nice, but the sidewalk paved with concrete sticking out the grasses from its cracks is also nice because it gives off a vague local aura. During the stroll, the giggling of water kept tickling behind our ears. As we had asked the private hotel owner for supper, we went back to dining room early in the evening. However, the water was still giggling beyond the paper screen. We were tempted to go out again and stopped the chopsticks sometimes.

Before leaving Gujo-hachiman, L had to get something. It was in the building near Yoshida River, but the door of the building was strictly locked. L silently entered the cafe in opposition to the building, sat down at the window and ordered a cup of coffee. Then she lighted a cigarette and slightly pushed down the blind, namely began to spy at the building.
メYippee, you looks like a real detective!モ
Ignoring my fascinated eyes, L sent up a curl of smoke and after a while, she stood up.
Flinging off, L went straight into the liquor store and bought a bottle of sake.
Sekisui. Itユs delicious.

                           (Feb. 2000)

P.S.: They say that Gujo-hachiman holds Gujo-odori (dance) festival, which lasts one month long. I am very interested in it.


Guide Of Gujo-hachiman(Japanese/English)


Gujo-odori (dance) festival(Japanese/English)