A Japanese campground

20 May

I mentioned in the last post that we camped for our night in Miyazaki. Here are some photos of the campground and our tents.

I’m afraid I don’t understand the relationship between Japanese culture and nature. The Japanese say that they don’t believe in a separation between humans and nature, and that they have a closer relationship than Westerners. The Western attitude of dealing with nature is seen as egotistical domination. Also, of course, they’re animists.

But… I see the same thing here. The rivers that run through every town are HEAVILY dammed. Hiking trails are often just a series of stairs. Then there’s that whole whale and dolphin hunting thing you may have heard of once or twice. And have you ever seen bonsai?

This campground was the whole idea in miniature. A few patches of grass, neatly trimmed, lined with concrete parking strips. At the head of each camp spot (whatever those’re called) was a light you could turn on to guide your way, and a built-in power outlet. A few seconds’ walk away were the (nice) bathrooms and the welcome center, where we rented our tents and sleeping bags. A few grass patches over from us, a 2-car family had set up camp – in addition to their large tents they had a canopy, grill, lights, a stereo, and god knows what all else.

Maybe the idea behind it is to make it easy to enjoy nature, because doing so is so important. You’ve got this small lawn of a campground, but it’s set up right on a stunningly beautiful beach, tucked under a vibrantly green mountain. The easier it is to set up camp, the more often people can do so.

But it seems to me that Japan loves nature best once tamed, which is not so very different from us Westerners.

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