"What is over there?"
Slow down, the view deserves your attention!
Last weekend at Cape Iro, the southern tip of Izu Peninsula, we met an interesting older man. As we were returning from the viewing spot by the sea, we bumped into a rather unfitting figure for this sightseeing surrounding. He stood in the middle of the path that led to the observation area behind the lighthouse wearing a curious, but puzzled facial expression. He seemed lost, standing there in his rubber boots and workman pants and jacket, with smudged white paint all over his clothes, and dirty hands and face.
The "rubber boots man" intrigued our curiosity as well. We greeted him and initiated a small-talk. Don't remember the exact sentence that started the conversation, but it was probably something about the weather or the serenity of this location. He then lifted his arm and pointed towards the direction we came from. In a very shy and embarrassed voice, he asked us: "What is over there?".
It's a question you never expect at a famous touristy sightseeing spot. People come to this area only to observe the view behind the lighthouse, and get good luck on their side while they pass a tiny shrine on the way. Everybody knows what's there. Except of this man with rubber boots and a curious facial expression.
We told him that the view at Cape Iro is wonderful. You can spot some islands on the horizon, observe beautiful cliffs and waves thrust into rocks by the sea. Hummingbirds looping around the cape in return to their cherry tree blossoms (yes, it's already cherry blossom season there!).
"I see", the man said. "I have been working behind this corner almost every day for the past 6 months now, and I never came to check what's over there. I just notice many people passing by. Do you think today is a good day to go and check out what's over there?"
"Yes, today is the best day to check out what's over there".
He nodded approvingly, with extensive gratefulness and warmth in his eyes. As if we constructed this day and place for him to observe the view. Without saying another word, he started walking down the path towards the Cape. We stood there motionless for a few seconds, and then I raised my phone and took a picture to capture this moment. Don't exactly know why.
As we drove back I suddenly heard Kazuto's "moshi-moshi" in my helmet. He called me through our Daytona Coolrobo communicator. "Are you OK?" he asked worryingly, while I rode in front of him on a rather unchallenged beach-side road. "Yes", I confirmed."I'm great. I'm gonna drive real slow over here. I wanna enjoy this view. I'll be fine. Go ahead and let's meet at the guesthouse, OK?"
I could hear his smirking smile as he took over, and rode off to seize the day and check out what's over there for him. The view deserved my attention, and Kazuto deserved some time off from taking care of his girlfriend and an opportunity to enjoy the view in his own way (tunnel-vision this time).
"Do you think today is a good day to go and check out what's over there?"
I've been thinking about this man's words for a week now. I still cannot decide whether I'd consider it 6 months of complete waste or exciting anticipation, if I was in his rubber boots. What I love about trips are random short acquaintances that keep us perplexed for quite a while... Like this one.
Whether it takes a minute or 6 months, going 20 or 200 km/h, take a breath and enjoy the view.