Episode twenty: shortest road trip ever?
May 13, 2006
|Date: May 1st - May 13th
Damn, there I go again leaving my update for way too long and now sitting here thinking "how many hours is this gonna take!" Before you attempt at reading I should let it be know that, to be fair, I have quite a bit to get through as a decent amount of stuff has happened since the last update on May 1st. In order to make it a bit more manageable, and to give you the sense of satisfaction one gets when reading a book, I will break the past two months into separate posts so you can feel like your actually getting somewhere... when probably, in reality, your not! Gomen ne...
So I do believe my parting words on the last post were something like
"I look forward to updating you on that little adventure, and probably a couple of breakdowns too, next time."
Talk about your all time jinxing! Thursday morning Byrie (down from Hiroshima-ken for a second visit. What a top bloke!), Jamie, Maurice and I sat back into our respective seats aboard Battleaxe ready for her maiden voyage. The sun was shining, the birds (all two of them) were singing, and all in all spirits were high. Our destination was to be Kumamoto, home to one of the "three greatest castles" in all of Japan. We also were tinkering with the idea of skipping out Mt Aso for a looksie into the crater of an active volcano. We paid the toll, cruised onto the expressway, and I hit the gas.... Well I got it half down at least before the sound..." thurpt, thurpt, thurpt" ...broke us all from relaxing day dreams. Using my skills, fine tuned through mum and dad owing the Rex for a stint (thanks mum and dad) until Ali rammed into a lady in a van... only to later blame her!, I pulled to the shoulder in quick, but very safe, fashion. We piled out of "battleaxe" for what turned out to be the last time because 20 minutes later as we piled back in to the, now tilted, car, with the smallest spare I have ever seen in place, she went by the new name of "Blowout". We took Blowout to the nearest garage for the necessary repairs.
Two hours later than we would have liked we finally pulled into the car park of Kumamoto Castle. We spent the next couple of hours wandering round in the intense sunshine, taking photo after photo of the impressive structures. The Japanese castles look amazing as they tier up flight upon smaller flight. They are made of wood inside, sadly led to many of their downfalls and later reconstruction, and usually consist of many rooms on each level. They are way bigger inside than they look on the outside. Kumamoto castle is on a large area of land with many stone walls making out pathways that I'm sure would have been amazing to see back in the day when soldiers walked along them ready for battle.
After gorging ourselves on the succulent castle and Japanese culture we made our way into the city centre to attempt the impossible in finding accommodation in a Japanese City during Golden Week. The search was in vain with us quickly succumbing to defeat and instead heading back to Takeo for a free nights accommodation.
The move back that day proved an inspired one as the next day we were treated to another glorious sunny spring day (about 26 degrees I reckon). We spent the day on a nearby Island, Irohajima, which actually falls under the jurisdiction of Nagasaki-ken. The Island was truly beautiful and even had a sandy beach for us to explore. We found a dead small turtle that had disintegrated to just the skeleton. Unable to swim due to numerous sightings of jellyfish, Byrie and I hit up some Frisbee, while Jamie and Maurice attempted a bit of Kendo with some sticks they found. Picture karate kid practicing the crane on the post over the water for hours on end and you have some idea of what Byrie and I witnessed! Haha, nah was actually pretty cool of them. On the drive off the island we stumbled upon some tiered rice fields overlooking the ocean and neighbouring islands. The scene was too much to pass with out a picture so out we scrambled. Two turns in the road later and we pulled over again for a more impressive view! Haha, another two minutes later and again we were presented with an even more spectacular view, this time a proper lookout point because of its obvious beauty. The scene was definitely post card material, and there were a number of photographers set up waiting for the perfect sun-setting picture to prove it. We, however, had stomachs to fill!
We enjoyed dinner in the northern city of Karatsu (the beach region of our prefecture) at a cool burger trailer parked up in a pine forest that is hugely popular with the "cool" young crowd, needless to say we stuck out like a sore thumb!
Unfortunately, Byrie had to head back up north the following day leaving me once again to, another quiet day at home. The quiet day turned out to be a week long affair of uneventful ness.