Once again, two small eddies in the cosmic ocean converged by chance, and the resulting wave washed over me.
The other day I happened to come across a book of poetry composed by a 19th-century Japanese monk called Ryokan. I opened it at random and there was a map of what used to be known as the province of Echigo, where the man was born. I had never heard of the place before, but anyway this is what the region looked like, courtesy of the internet.
Not in the mood for poetry at the moment, I put the book down and picked up another. It was the Zagat survey of restaurants in the Los Angeles area, 2013 edition. I opened it at random, and first thing, there was an entry for a sushi restaurant called Echigo. Below is an image of the place, from an internet street view. From what I can see here, it does not resemble the province in the slightest (but maybe there are references to the region inside the establishment?).
I looked up the name -- just because -- but there was nothing that meant anything to me. There are people named Echigo, and apparently there's a brewery in Japan called Echigo, plus an Echigo-Matsunoyama Museum. I am familiar with another sushi restaurant called Matsu no Sushi that used to exist in Little Tokyo, but I suppose that's neither here nor there.
Just out of curiosity I also looked up Ryokan, and found this picture of a statue of the man. It's beautiful.