On October 5th, under the strong midsummer-like sunshine even though the calendar says it is already autumn, we conducted fieldwork in Iwawada, Onjuku-Town with Associate Professor Ms. Okano and her students of the Department of Architecture at Shibaura Institute of Technology.
As soon as you exit the ticket gates of Onjuku Station, you will see a tourist information center on your left.
The first thing we did was to rent a bicycle for the day. There are about 10 bicycles available for rent at the tourist information center, but you can’t reserve them in advance, so if you want to rent several bicycles at once, you need to go there at exactly 9am when the center opens.
I often use bicycle sharing services in Tokyo, and I often encounter bicycles that are not well maintained, probably because the popularity of bicycle sharing services has increased dramatically recently. Some bicycles don’t have bells, some saddles are not adjustable, the batteries of electric bicycles suddenly run out, and so on.
On the other hand, the bicycles we rented in Onjuku were carefully managed in the information center facility, and a staff checked each bike before we used it, so we were comfortable with that!
It’s a little embarrassing to ride a mamachari (city bike) with an ad hanging in front of the basket that says “Eco Bike with Shrimp Character”. I thought that if there were more stylish bicycles that looked good in the ocean, younger people would be more willing to use them. That’s what I thought.
It would also be nice if they were a little more flexible about the strict 5pm return time.
Before departure, the TA (Teaching Assistant) distributed a housing map of Iwawada prepared in advance to the students, and then it was time to go!
On the way from Onjuku Station to Iwawada
The road from Onjuku Station to Iwanada is called “Lopez Street” (named in commemoration of the arrival of Mexican President Lopez in 1978), and a minute or two’s bicycle ride along Lopez Street will take you to the “Violin House, Japan-Mexico Friendship House” built by Yuriko Kuronuma, an international violinist with ties to Mexico.
A house with a vivid blue exterior wall.
About 15 years ago, I spent about a month in Mexico. At that time, I was into Frida Kahlo and was completely fascinated by her fierce life and her brave, straightforward attitude towards life. In Mexico City, I visited Frida Kahlo’s birthplace and the house where she and Diego Rivera lived, which is a bridge between two buildings. The white wing on the left is Diego’s house and the blue wing on the right is Frida’s.
Yuriko Kuronuma’s violinist’s house wants to be the blue of this Frida’s house! So, I saw in the article that she brought a sample of paint from Mexico.
From there,we took another 5-minute bike ride to the “Onjuku Central Beach” for a short stroll. We had a full schedule behind us, so we just went there for a moment to take some pictures.
From there, a five-minute bicycle ride will take you to the Iwawada district of Onjuku Town.
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