Nakajima Island: The Neverland

I woke up on a wonderful sunny day, ready to go to Nakajima Island. I took a train to Takahamako port and I waited for the first boat to Nakajima. After a half hour trip, I got to the island. I thought I’d start my journey from the biggest one, and then try to reach the others of the Kutsuna archipelago on the same day.

On the boat, I met a very nice woman called Mayumi, who explained to me how it would have been impossible to go to more than one island on the same day because of the big distances between them. She said that I could have visited just one for a day trip. So I decided to stay in Nakajima, which was the most impressive. She offered me a ride because her husband was waiting for her arrival in the port, with their two children. I got in the car with them and she brought me to a very nice restaurant. I ate a delicious marinated fresh fish with little tomatoes – it reminded me of Italian flavors because of the tomatoes and the marinated sauce with balsamic vinaigrette – she ordered an amazing salmon sandwich with avocado and black bread and a pizza.

After lunch, I met a very interesting lady called Hiro, who was the owner of the restaurant. She came from Hokkaido island and she spoke English well. She said: “If you want to visit the island, there’re some people in the afternoon who conduct tours there”, “Of course I want to go!” I said. Therefore, she gave me an appointment for the afternoon. In the meantime, Mayumi introduced me to the English teacher of the school, so I could speak with him since she knew very few English words. He was a shy Japanese guy, who spoke good English and tried to explain everything about his island in the best way. They showed me a little part of the island, and we stopped on the seashore to take pictures and walk on the white sand. Even though I couldn’t bathe, it was a pleasure just feeling the sea breeze and the warm sun on my skin. Mayumi gave me a delicious ice-cream, and some figs from her garden, she acted like a mom and I felt so pampered. It’s unbelievable how people could be so nice and amazing, although you have never seen them before.

At three p.m. they brought me back to the restaurant, where Miss Hiro, with other two people, was waiting for me. There was Yuki, a pretty girl, who worked for the Japanese channel NHK. She was making a report about Nakajima, and she needed someone who brought her to the island. Then, there was Yuki – yes, they have the same name, it isn’t a mistake – a young farmer from the island, who came to picked us up with his little van. He had a lot of orange plantations and he knew the region very well. We went up and down the hills, seeing amazing landscapes unlocked in front of my eyes and impressing me with the beauty of nature. The hills were covered with the orange and green tea plantations, stunning green dales filled the horizon and came down till the sea. Yuki showed us a typical farm house, a very old house full of furniture and very, very cheap to rent. I was thinking to move to the island, and start a new life as a farmer! Life is very simple there because you don’t need many material things; it’s very different from the rest of Japan, and this dazzled me. On the island, there was just a supermarket, a school, few restaurants and beautiful nature. During the trip, they tried to speak English with me and we could have a great conversation about several topics, especially about the island activities. I found out that the cost of life there is cheaper than the rest of Japan, as they grow all the raw materials, and there’s a lot of sea products and water, so they don’t need anything from the mainland. The island is completely self-contained.

Before we went back to the port, Yuki took two fishing rods and a pair of rain boots for me. He brought us to the rocks to fish in the sea. For me was the first fishing experience in the sea and I was thrilled. Yuki caught two fish, but she was excited too. He demonstrated us how to cast the line and how to wait for fishes. Yuki caught out three fishes very soon, I waited a long time, before catching three too. Obviously, we set the fishes free in the water, but we enjoyed it so much. It was a great experience.

The time passed so fast and I had to come back to Matsuyama soon. I was very lucky because Yuki – the girl – came back with me and Yuki paid the ferry for us. We stayed on the deck and, while we were talking, an amazing sunset popped up in front of us. We looked at the horizon in silence because the scenery was stunning and we were totally absorbed by it.

The island is a sort of Wonderland, where people live together in harmony and seems they are all friends. It’s a very different reality, from the cities of the mainland. I saw beautiful white beaches that soaked into the blue water of the Seto Inland Sea. It reminded me of Sicily, the wonderful Italian island, with its orange plantations, the high hills, the green landscapes and the amazing sea views.

Nakajima Island is like Neverland and I felt like Peter Pan. I think that nobody could get old there.

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