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Hiraoka

After hiding at home for several days with minimal excursions, I finally set forth again, to a shrine I'd passed on the way to Nara. Not so much for the shrine but for being on the boundary of a mountain range separating Osaka and Nara. It's a bit perverse: I hide from the humidity, then plunge into the woods, but oh well.

I also keep forgetting mosquitoes are a thing, though I didn't notice many new bites.

Hiraoka station is small - no Western toilets, biggest nearby building is only 7 stories. Many houses have planter strips or even front yards.

Hiraoka shrine is right by the tracks, on the edge of the mountain. Forested mountain shrine. Lots of cicada noises. Two short white vans. I had Higurashi flashbacks. "Oyashiro-sama, I'm innnocent!"

Went up a tall flight of steps, with various breaks; hopefully my out of shapeness is partly the sheer humidity, 24 C dew point. Rested at the top, with more paths going up somewhere; I decided to be prudent and went down a different path. So, not that prudent, but it worked out. Up another path to some short waterfalls, back down again. Found a playground with an actual Western toilet -- not an electronic Japanese washlet, just a regular toilet. Found a map with a tilted compass rose, where North was kind of pointing toward actual north, so my hypothesis may have some validity.

Ended up by Nukata station which was even smaller; I don't think anything over five stories, and started seeing some sizable yards, even a back one. The 'main' street was 2-way one-lane but annoyingly busy. 20 KPH speed limit.

The crossing guard seemed to go down every couple minutes, if that. Local trains every 10 minutes... in each direction... plus rapid trains not stopping at these stations...

Some of the trains are "Sub semi-express" which I'd thought meant 'sub' as in below, but apparently it's suburban.

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Damien Sullivan
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