Stone lion standing guard outside a hilltop shrine in Rikuzentakata, a town on the Iwate coast.
Having visitors is the perfect prod to do all the things you've wanted to do, but haven't. Like going to the Iwate coast — it's so close, and yet we'd never been. So on a beautiful Tuesday morning, we prepared for a day trip to the coast, stopping at Hige-oyaji's place for breakfast. We told him our plans; he got really excited and animatedly told us to go to the Goishi Kaigan to see Kaminari-iwa, "Thunder Rock." Kaminari-iwa is a longish outcropping of rock running parallel to a cliff. Ocean water charges through the gap between them, creating a huge "BOOM!" as it does, hence the name. Because he's awesome, Hige-oyaji hooked us up with an outfit running small speedboat cruises around the sights in that area, including through the Kaminari-iwa gap.
From the shore, Kaminari-iwa looks very cool, and the movement of the water through the gap is mesmerizing.
You get way more of the "thunder rock" effect from land than on the ocean.
The turnaround part of the boat trip took us through Anatoshiiso, a rock formation rather resembling a giant, rocky set of brass knuckles. On the initial approach, it was not at all clear to us that our speedboat was going to fit through that middle hole.
It did, thanks to the careful maneuvering of the boat pilot.