06 April 2014


Since being back in Japan, I haven’t done any real bicycling outside of running errands on base, so this weekend the Mrs. and I were determined to head out on our bikes no matter the weather. That was the idea anyway, but Saturday gave us the Dr. Jekyl/ Mr. Hyde treatment of sunshine punctuated by blizzards and gale force winds, so we were really hoping Sunday turned out better. Come Sunday, it was still pretty chilly, but we dressed in our layers, lubed our chains, and pumped our tires- it was due time for a ride.
Destination? I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go initially, but having a riding partner this time, I thought it would be nice to re-visit the scenic Komaki Onsen, which is really just a small part of the Hoshino Resort Aomoriya here in Misawa. Now, I’m a fan of onsens (Japanese hot baths) as a rule, but I have never actually been to the ones at Komaki for whatever reason. I suppose I’ll go eventually, which means in the next couple months, because that’s all the time we’ve got left here in Japan. No matter though, the Mrs. doesn’t like to skinny dip with strangers, so we packed some apples and went to feed the horses there and gander at the off-season sights.


The sun came and went, but it was nice enough outside to enjoy the surroundings without the constant discomfort of biting cold or wind. We rode out the main base gate, up “white pole” road, and then cut across to Misawa Koen, a local park a couple blocks from where our friends live. We coasted down the windy park pathway to the main road and maybe five minutes ride through town we were at the resort.
Now, if you’ve ever been to Komaki, you’ll have noticed that there are two distinct areas: the new resort and the old abandoned resort that you pass by on the way to the new portion. The old resort presents a very appealing environment to those of us who like to explore urban ruins, but being unfamiliar with the severity of Japanese trespassing laws, we decided to not enter the premises. 
Passing the former resort, we rode over a set of train tracks, through a torii gate, and were on our way to where the horses are kept. There were two horses there, a dark one and a cream one. (There were two more small horses in a different area, but I’ll get to that later.) We got the apples out and started to feed them slices, fingers together and palms up, just like you’re supposed to feed horse folk. As I stopped to take some photos, the Mrs. continued feeding our hoofed friends until it happened: in a desperate attempt to acquire more apples, one of the horses went mad and bit her in the arm.
This horse-biting incident, of course, put a damper on the fun we were having- it left a giant bruise on the Mrs.'s arm and more importantly, significantly reduced the amount of apples we will be feeding these horses in the future. After a few moments of incredulous recovery, we carried on with our venture touring the rest of the Komaki resort.
Being the off-season, there was still a lot of snow on the roads and very few signs of life. We rode over an ornate red bridge and back around the loop to the area where we had entered the resort. Here there were more horses hanging out in their pen, though they were a much smaller variety. I think they were ponies, but the lack of tattoos on their hindquarters or tails made of rainbows was dubious. We took a gamble with the rest of our apple slices and offered them some, which they ate very politely to our relief.
Horses fed, we headed back home to do some eating ourselves. (Mister Donut has cronuts now, and while we did not wait in line for an hour to try the original in Manhattan, these ones are delicious.)
- Bicyclist Abroad

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