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Journal: The Road

Note: This Journal entry was written on September 20th, 2001, as I walked on the Old Tokaido. Take a look at that day's Logbook for more.


There are some interesting things about this road I'm walking. To sum them all up, I would say that this road has human dimensions.

Here's what I mean.

Going up Hakone, I noticed that sometimes the cars would be switching back and forth while I went straight up, using stairs. At other points, the cars were doing a bee-line while my road meandered. After crossing the Fuji River on my way to Kambara, where the various Tokaidos intertwine, I noticed that often the various roads paid heed to various needs: level for the railway; in a cleared, sometimes elevated right-of-way for the new expressway; and along the hill for my road, the easiest place to walk.

Until recently, the mileage on my road has actually been less than that of the car roads, so we would walk less distance. And the road never climbs unnecessarily. A couple of times I've avoided becoming lost by saying, "Wait a minute. There's no reason for the road to go up here," and casting around 'til I found the correct--level--road.

This human-ness manifests in funny ways. Often the road parallels a larger road, yet the bus line runs on my road. It's as if, despite the "convenience" of the newer road, the old bond between the road and (walking) humans can't be broken.

I have walked superhighway and country lane, hiking path and crosswalk. I have walked on earth, stone, grass, gravel and asphalt. I have climbed stairs, and pushed through brush. I have breathed pine incense and truck exhaust. There is no single defining factor about this road--except its humanness.

Posted September 25, 2019

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