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更新时间:2017-8-2 18:53:34 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Where Sand Dunes and Camels in Japan Evoke the Sahara

Shortly after I posted a picture on Instagram from the sand dunes of Tottori on the west coast of Japan, a friend from Brooklyn commented, “Where is this?”


The subtext: This could not possibly be Japan, right?


With its steep hills of creamy golden sand and vast expanses ruffled into scalloped patterns by the wind, Tottori evokes a scene out of the Sahara. There are even camels to ride.


The sand dunes of Tottori, on the west coast of Japan, are the largest that are accessible to visitors.

Although these dunes are not the largest in Japan (those are in Aomori, in the north, and used for military exercises), the sand dunes of Tottori are the largest that are accessible to visitors.


But even in Japan, the dunes are more famous for their literary connotations than as a travel destination. They were the setting for Kobo Abe’s classic novel “The Woman in the Dunes,” but among Japanese tourists, Tottori, the least-populated region in Japan, ranks just 43rd among 47 prefectures in attracting visitors.

然而,即便是在日本,这些沙丘的文学意义也比它们作为一个旅游景点更有名。安部公房(Kobo Abe)的经典小说《砂女》(The Woman in the Dunes)的背景就设在这里,但在日本游客中,日本人口最少的地区鸟取在47个县吸引的游客数方面仅排在第43位。

That makes it a very relaxing place for a getaway. We live in Tokyo, a city of immense crowds and towering buildings. But when I took a walk with my daughter along the dunes, it was easy to leave behind any sign of other people.


One reason for Tottori’s absence of tourists is its relative isolation. While Japan’s system of shinkansen, or bullet trains, makes travel around the country extremely convenient, no lines stop in Tottori. But it is just over an hour by plane from Tokyo Haneda Airport, and there is a convenient bus that connects the airport in Tottori to the center of the modest city.


Most hotels and restaurants are in the center of town, and the dunes are reachable by city bus as well as taxis. As the Tokyo bureau chief for The New York Times, I had come to report on the Sand Museum, where artists from around the world assemble every year to build massive sculptures from the distinctively moldable sand. The museum is open to the public from April through early January, and it is a delightful place to marvel at what sand can do in the hands of skillful artisans.

大部分酒店和餐馆都在中心城区,从城区可搭乘巴士和出租车前往沙丘。作为《纽约时报》东京分社社长,我是来报道砂之美术馆(Sand Museum)的。每年,来自全球各地的艺术家聚集到这里,用可塑性特别强的沙子创作大型沙雕。从4月一直到次年1月初,美术馆对外开放。这是一个讨人喜欢的地方,你可以感叹沙子在技术高超的工匠手里的用途。

The dunes are protected as a national park, and there is no charge to climb them. It’s a great workout for the thighs — in some places the sand reaches 165 feet. As in many places we go in Japan, I was impressed by the number of fit elderly people who could keep up with the rest of us.


Although the dunes stretch for 10 miles along the coast, most visitors seem to stick to a fairly narrow area, climbing a steep hill next to a lagoon. Even the people watching was fun: We saw a man climbing in a business suit with a briefcase, as well as a group of millennials dressed in pink bodysuits kicking around a pink ball. And, well, why not?


At the peak, my 10-year-old son enjoyed hurtling himself off the top of the dunes, trying to see how airborne he could get.


Those who want more of that flying feeling can get their feet off the ground at Tottori Sakyu Sand Board School (like snowboards, but for sand) or try paragliding with the Tottori Sand Dunes Paragliding School.

想体验更多这种飞翔感的人,可以去鸟取滑沙学校(Tottori Sakyu Sand Board School)学习滑沙(类似于滑雪,只是把雪换成了沙子),或是去鸟取沙丘滑翔伞学校(Tottori Sand Dunes Paragliding School)尝试滑翔伞。

For sand boarding, you get a board, a helmet and about two minutes of instruction in how to bend your knees, grab your thighs and slide down a steep slope that bottoms out at the ocean. My son and husband caught on quickly, though they both had some spectacular wipeouts that left their faces covered in sand.


They also tried paragliding, carrying their parachutes on their backs on the walk from the boardwalk to the dunes. With a group of about a dozen others, they each took three or four flights during two hours on the dunes.


We had an extra day and decided to venture away from the dunes, catching a bus to Uradome beach, which my 12-year-old daughter had scoped out on Instagram. As we walked from the bus stop down to the coastline and glimpsed the sea between Japan and the Korean Peninsula, we spotted a coffee sign and stepped into the charming Nijinoki Cafe, where Brazilian jazz played on a turntable and architectural magazines were piled neatly on a bench. The coffee was delicious, too.

我们有一天的富余时间,决定离开沙丘,乘坐巴士到浦富海滩(Uradome beach)去,我12岁的女儿在Instagram上对这个景点进行了一番调查。当我们到巴士站下车,走到海岸线,观看日本和朝鲜半岛之间的海洋时,我们发现了一个咖啡馆的标志,然后我们就进入迷人的岩美咖啡厅(Nijinoki Cafe)。电唱盘播放着巴西爵士乐,建筑杂志整齐地堆放在一条长凳上。咖啡也很美味。

The husband and wife who worked behind the counter told us of a “secret” beach, so we decided to skip Uradome and explore. It was about a 25-minute walk east, where we found a trail to Kumaihama Beach. And indeed, when we arrived in the cove of turquoise water and soft pale sand, we enjoyed that rare treat in Japan: We were the only people there.

在柜台后工作的那对夫妇告诉我们这个海滩的一个“秘密”,所以我们决定跳过浦富去探索这个秘密。向东走约25分钟,我们找到了去熊井浜(Kumaihama Beach)的小径。实际上,在到达这个水清沙幼的海湾时,我们享受到了一个在日本罕见的待遇:这里只有我们几个人。