After spending the morning in Kakunodate, I took the Shinkansen train to Akita, where I’d wanted to stay but there was no available accommodation.

Most of my time in Akita was in Sensui Park. At one point when I was crossing a road in the park, a car came out of nowhere towards me. When I realised it was going fast, I started to walk backwards rapidly to avoid it. I thought the car was going to hit me but between me backtracking and the driver finally doing an emergency stop, a collision was avoided. The driver jumped out of the car and came towards me. He looked horrified because he thought he’d hit me. I said I was fine, but he continued bowing and apologising. He eventually got back in the car and drove a few metres before getting out to greet someone he was meeting. I suspect he’d been distracted talking to someone on the phone, possibly the person he was meeting, wondering where she was in the park.

Whilst in the park, I realised I was getting hungry but there was nowhere nearby for me to eat. I thought about returning to Kakunodate for food but there were even fewer options there on a Sunday.

I turned to Google Maps, and it suggested an organic store that had a cafe in Akita. I walked there and was greeted by an elderly woman. The place didn’t look like the photos in Google Maps. So, I showed her a photo. She replied that she doesn’t do food on Sunday. When I asked if there was anything that I could take away that was vegan, she pointed to some bento-style plastic containers. When I picked one, she asked if I wanted to eat it inside instead of taking it away! I said yes quickly, and she took me upstairs where the restaurant/cafe was; now it looked like the Google Maps photos! She asked if I wanted brown rice with the bento box! This was turning into more than a quick snack. On the way upstairs, I’d picked up some rice biscuits from the shop and asked if she could do coffee afterwards! She replied yes and whilst I was eating, I could see her filtering the coffee. I was very happy with the meal and lucky that I’d met another kind stranger.

I’d planned to get the 6.25pm train back to Kakunodate but I was in time to catch the 5.10pm train. When I got to Kakunodate, as I was walking back to the guesthouse, I saw an Akita dog chilling out. They’re now seen all over the world, not just Akita. Before coming to the Akita Prefecture (region), I’d never heard of Akita and therefore didn’t know that Akita dogs originated here.

Whilst I was trying to play with the dog, an Australian couple walked by. We got talking. They’d just been to the onsen (public baths). They mentioned that they hadn’t worked out the etiquette in the baths. And as we were talking, Nina, the German woman staying in the same guesthouse as me, cycled by. I waved at her, and she stopped and joined the conversation. We walked partially back together before she continued to the guesthouse to then go to the onsen, and I walked along the river.

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