- Posted December 23, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
Most people don’t like hills…but In Japan the hill (or sloping road) is a big part of our life.
Japan is a volcanic island country and the altitude is high. The ratio of flat land is small; over 70 % of country area is mountain. Because of these, there are a lot of sloping road. Some are natural like a mountain path in a country; others are artificial like a pedestrian overpass in a city.
A sloping road rises my motivation up. It is physically tiring work, so I could feel a sense of achievement when I just finish climbing. Long and steep sloping roads let me imagine a landscape from the peak and I love looking at it with a feeling sense of attainment and freedom.
The sloping road is familiar to Japanese.
One of the most famous places; Shibuya, this place-name means valley in kanji writing. The other famous place’s toponym is Daikanyama, this Kanji-writing means ‘mountain’. Between Shibuya and Daikanyama, in other word, between valley and mountain, there is Dogenzaka, this place-name includes the meaning for ‘sloping road.’
Some family names including kanji which means slope (in Japanese sloping is saka), for example Sakashita. Maybe the First Mr.Sakashita was living under a sloping road (The word shita means under). Someone who lives near a little famous sloping road in that area might say “my house is just above the sloping road”. There are a lot of Japanese idiomatic expressions including saka.
A person who just climbed a sloping road pauses for minutes before continuing, sloping roads help me maintain rhythm in my daily life.