|A jam packed day with three highlights:
Miyajima is one of the iconic places in Japan. The floating Torii is a picture you see again and again. Less frequent is a nice picture of the shrine that the Torii is the entrance gate for - it, too, is `floating` in the shallow bay of the island. Back in the day, commoners weren:t even allowed on the island - they could row up through the gate, visit the shrine, and retreat back to the mainland.
Today, the shrine is as amazing as it was back in 800 or whenever it was built (back when my European ancestors were busy clubbing each other with sticks or something equally unenlightened - of course, not the Hungarians, who, like the Japanese, are descended from the Gods), but the island is overrun by `sacred` deer. Oh dear. If you`re super wealthy, please stay at the ryokan on this island. we couldn`t afford the price tag, but the location is totally fab.
We shinkansened (that word just became a verb) down to Hakata (Fukuoka), where we spent a lovely evening with Hillary`s old school friend Miyuki. She caught us up to date with the local gossip, but mostly she just convinced Hillary that maybe, just maybe it is possible to be pregnant and in good spirits. Miyuki reports that her pregnancy has been absent any horror stories. We hope she`ll be in as good spirits next month - she`s due next week.
Hearing of our plans to travel to Nagasaki, she suggested a stop over in Saga, about half-way. Hillary and I realized that our adoring fans (yes, that:s you) hadn:t gotten a love hotel fill in a while, so we found a lovely place to stay. This was another of the black light variety, but the new twist was the entrance. I propped the door for a while while HIllary tried to figure out how to pay. Then we decided to both come inside to further investigate, and the door locked behind us. And the lock was encased in plastic, so we were trapped. Hillary (who has a knack for these things) quickly figured out that we were locked in until we paid the following morning, but until then we could enjoy the amenities. Sadly, though, the door locked at 9:54, so we ended up paying an extra seven dollars or so for the 6 minutes until 10pm, when these wonders of mondern Japanese life become cheaper for an overnight `stay.`