Introducing Japan: Sendai
By Daniele Magistro
Sendai in autumn
Sendai is the biggest city in the northeastern
Tohoku area of Japan. But, its lifestyle is really
different from other large cities like Tokyo and
Kyoto. Itís a quieter city, where you can enjoy
tree-lined streets and public spaces even
in the downtown area. In Sendai, you see
an assortment of very traditional and highly
modern buildings and activities. During
my first year in Sendai, I could see and
appreciate a clear change of seasons, from
a cold, snowy winter to beautiful floral scents
in spring, from a hot, humid summer to the
many vivid colors in autumn. Even though
the Sendai area was hit hard by the March
2011 earthquake and tsunami, the peopleís resilience and motivation to move forward is
evident all around.
Sendai has historical importance,
especially for the Tohoku people, as it is the
birthplace of Date Masamune, who founded
the city in the late 16th century. Today, you
can find monuments, shrines and statues
dedicated to him all around the city. In fact,
there is a connection between Masamune
and Italy: He sent his retainer Hasekura
Tsunenaga, who was to be the first Japanese
ambassador to the Americas and Europe, on
a diplomatic mission to deliver a letter to the
Vatican in Rome.
Not far from Sendai, there are many
beautiful and historic places to visit, including
Matsushima (pine-clad islets) Bay, Yamadera
mountain temple, the Zao mountain range,
and the historical town of Hiraizumi. Because
public transportation is so convenient in
Japan, it is quite easy to get to these and
other places in the area.
For me, the beauty of Sendai lies in the
intimacy that results from its compact size.
You can travel to all corners of the city on
bike, as well as in and out of the city on
jaunts to see the neighboring countryside.
I enjoy traditional and sporting events
with people of the community. Last year, I
discovered the thrill of Japanese professional
baseball when Sendaiís team, Rakuten
Eagles, won the national championship.