A view from the heights above Kozuka
According to Open Street Map, up behind the Hackerfarm, past the Kamado no Hi
bakery and the site of the Kozuka Art Festival, and there's a hiking trail
. Google Maps doesn't show it. Akiba said there was nothing but his friend's house at the end of that road. But Arun, Shreyas, Tod, Osamu and I decided to go have a look anyway.
And we got lucky. The map was right and the trail was there. Leading away from the back of the house is a fence that shows the way. It leads to a lovely trail along a field and into the forest. Easy to follow until you hit the little ravine/landslide and then the abandoned house where the trail disappears in a pile or rubble.
We decided to check out the house and grounds to find the trail beyond it. Tod peeked into the mailbox for clues about the property and was rewarded with a handful of old utility bills made out to Takezawa Kaoru and dated about 8 years ago. Well, that gave us a date and a name, but no more information. We explored the compound a little bit, simultaneously looking for interesting artefacts and also the trail out.
The sheds and storehouses were full of tools and equipment. It looked like the owner either fled or died. Arun liberated an ancient tennis racquet, complete with rotting catgut strings and a neatly painted TAKEZAWA on the handle. We debated whether this was theft or salvage but since we used the racquet later on, it turned out to be a good choice to carry it no matter what the liberation was labelled.
The way out was less than obvious. After a false start into an overgrown rice paddy, we found a sort of trail along the treeline. Shreyas figured out how to get over a giant fallen pine. Arun used his racquet to push back branches and help people out of ditches. Tod blazed the trail through jungle, around a ravine, and with the help of his GPS map got us to the road on the opposite side of the hiking path before the sun set.
We came home with all sorts of questions. Who was Takezawa? What happened to him? And how did the mailman get there when there was no road?