When I wake up to the sound of silence, I know it has snowed. The white shines through and around my curtains, until I throw them upon and see the landscape changed into a snowy paradise. Over a steaming cup of tea I contemplate how to spend the day. It’s only February but the season for Echizen daffodils is nearly over. The narcissus is a winter-flowering plant that somehow thrives on the windy western coast of Japan in January and February. Thinking that the coast couldn’t be as snowy as outside my window, I decide to head to the sea.
With Zoya and Julia as passengers, I drive carefully down the winding roads to the coast. We get out of the car at Cape Echizen Daffodil Land and it is still snowing. Soft fluffy snowflakes settle for a mini-second, then shrivel on the salty surface they’ve landed on. We watch as snow drifts race towards us across the sea, whilst the sun pitifully tries to melt them away.
There is a not ‘A host, of golden daffodils’ as Wordsworth described in the English Lakes, but instead a spotting of the rare yellow flower, the winter narcissus. We laugh at another overrated tourist attraction in Fukui! Yet ‘Daffodil Land’ has a strange charm to it, with its white lighthouse and lullaby music being played to the struggling daffodils.
As we drive further up the coast we see wild and cultivated daffodils blowing in the breeze, far more than at the designated spot for seeing them. Our destination is a much-anticipated cafe that is famous for clam chowder, authentic chocolate cake and ocean views. We weren’t disappointed.
After warming-up inside, we went for a walk on the beach. As well as beautiful rocks, pebbles and driftwood there were lines of colourful plastic containers, old rope and the odd shoe that had been washed up on the beach.Some say the rubbish makes the beach look untidy but I like wondering the story behind each sea stolen item.
It wasn’t a particularly spectacular sunset but we were all happy to be next to the ocean and reminisced about beach combing in our own countries.
For 100 yen we each bought a bunch of sweet-smelling daffodils which are a subtle reminder that spring is on its way, even if it is still snowing outside.