Place Where You Live:

Odawara, Kanagawa, Japan

Odawara Train Station

Every morning at 7 am, all the school children are leaving for school. The elementary kids with their yellow hats on and their landoseru backpacks on. The middle school kids on their bikes riding down the winding hillside roads trying to get to the other side of town, trying to get to school before 7:50. The high school kids, taking the city bus or walking to Odawara Train Station to get to school that’s towns away. All of these kids have the same motive, to be the best that they can be.

The day before their start of the first day of school in March, all of those kids are at the shrine. Oba-chan once told me when you go to the shrine and make a wish to the Ogido-san, he’ll come to your house while you’re asleep and grant your wish. A little bald man, with a cloak that covers him from head to toe. All he wants to do is to be there for their guidance.

4pm comes around and all of those children are coming home. The elementary kids running home because they know mama has laid out okashi for them and they get to watch their favorite anime that comes on at 4:30. The middle schoolers are walking their bikes, talking to their friends, making pit stops at the mall to see all of the new spring trends, but making sure they get home before 6 to help out with dinner. The high schoolers, staying after school hours to participate in their sports, not being able to get back to the train station until 6, afterwards walking up the hillside road back to the very top of Odawara. At the top of the hill, all of them look back and think this place will help me become the best I can be.