This late morning we all ended up in the car and headed towards Mount Mihara. It’s an active volcano located right in the center of Izu Oshima, an island that is two hours (by speed ferry) from Tokyo. Driving on the island cannot possibly be the easiest thing to do. There is just the main road that goes completely around the island, and not one part of the highway that is straight. It is nothing but curves and sharp turns throughout the endless street. If you drive completely around, it will take an hour. I believe the entire milage of the circle is 35 miles. To get to the volcano from the Haru Elementary School, where we are all working and staying for the Art Islands in TOKYO art festival - takes about 30 minutes. The one street that leads us to a dead end, so we can park and walk to the mountain, can only fit one car. Yet, on this curvy road, it’s a two-way street. One can’t see what is around the bend, and usually you come upon a car head-on. So, one has to drive very slowly, and sort of hope that no one will hit you. As for me, I hold my breath till we get to the point when we can pull over.
We then walk through a very lush and green pathway that takes us to the desert that is nick-named "Pluto." The substance on the ground is fine black sand, with an occasional black rock. The immense space on the top of the mountain makes the island, down below, looks small for some odd reason. I did not feel that we came from down there, because "there" looks totally different when you're looking above the landscape. What I saw ahead of me was an endless black landscape that gave everything a shade of gray. Also, I noticed that there was no evidence of life, except for us tourists. No birds. No insects. No plant life. Just black rock and earth. There was also a strong wind that made me feel like I would be dragged to the bottom of the hill. I suffer as a result of vertigo, and suddenly I couldn't take another step in front of me. I felt if the volcano itself was dragging me into its entrance of no return.
I went back to the car by myself, and wrote this short travel journal.