angus and the world travel blog

road trip, first leg, crew

our camping spot... paradise!

everyone soaking up the sun rays

checking that our tent is cosy. Yes.

Badsh and Lisa trying to play poker... no clue!...

"quick everyone... do your 'Zoo' animals!..."

someone attempting a flame poi thing

Diane, Karen, Marianne and Lizzy

sick get-up. sick band.

the "mosh" pit

the abused campsite the morning after

Badsha and Maurice looking ever so fresh

Snoopy having a sneaky look at the morning weather

large statue on random path of goodies

cool "waterfall"

large reclining buddha

statues keeping warm

we all stole a little red hat... joke.

the FANTASTICALLY shaped rock(s)

a crow posing for me

Oita road tripping crew

full and satisfied

a typical Japanese Sushi restaurant

Karen lining up to smash a 250m cracker...

a little guy I spotted coming home for lunch

Karen reads her self introduction for listening practice

Karen has been accepted by the "cool kids" in class

students read their quetions to us


Date: June 3rd - June 8th

A load of ALTs, and gaijin alike, invaded Oita-ken for the music festival 'Concert on the rock'. It was by no means a massive festival but that almost made it better as it was a very quite intimate affair. We camped for a night along with a good number of other Saga folk we does be friends with. The weather was beautiful as was the drive there. Oita-ken is a very nice looking prefecture. The concert was set in a remote valley, which provided a breathtaking setting of greenness and very kiwi views. Once we arrived we wasted no time before setting up our tents and grabbing a drink. The music was pumping out from numerous bands, both foreign and local, but, all from the 'rock' genre.

It was a great weekend away and consisted of a lot of people catching a bit too much sun, drinking a good deal too much and having all round just too much fun, if that's at all possible! The bands were really cool and provided great entertainment when it suited us, and great back ground music at other times. We had a couple of massive drinking games before everyone hit the "mosh pit" which it turns out was in fact more of a "dance pit". My favourite band was three Japanese guys rocking out some 'funk style rock'. The lead singer wore a sick cowboy hat, and the bassist had on some primo 80's fluro shorts. After they had done their thing Karen moved back into the crowd to chill out while sitting down. I couldn't quite manage sitting only at this stage and proceeded to rest my head back and star gaze while listening to primo rock music, in the outdoors of japan, on a beautiful summers night with my beautiful fiancé to my right. Happy and content you ask? Why yes, very, thanks.

On the way home the next day we stopped off at the "fantastically shaped rock" that was mentioned in our Road Atlas. Clearly it was just a literal translation from its Japanese name but hey, how many "fantastically shaped rocks" do you see? The rock itself was, to be fair, nice but I think they over stepped the mark by labeling it "fantastically shaped". Still, we got to check out some more rice fields (haha, like we don't see enough anyway!) and some super hungry, friendly fish. There were also many crows seemingly happy to pose for photos, and keep Karen on her scared little toes. An old stone Tori (Japanese gateway) set amongst the rice fields, and with the cliffs as a back drop, provided the perfect spot for one last group photo of our first successful two car road trip.

A couple of nights after the concert on the rock Karen, Lisa and I headed to Ogi dam to check out the famous Fireflies. Fireflies in Japan are a sign that summer has arrived and, like many things here, are viewed and celebrated by a great number of people. Ogi dam is a very popular local spot to view the flies showing their stuff. Unfortunately none of our cameras were good enough to capture the beauty, but let me tell you it was amazing! The action takes place along the river banks just down from the dam and is like watching a Christmas tree sparkle away after being covered in fairy lights. The sheer enchanted ness of it all was breathtaking. It was like being in Neverland, the none pedophiliac one, and watching Tinkerbell and her friends putting on a performance.

After watching the fireflies, and then having a "picnic" dinner in the car, so as not to get bitten alive by mosquito's, I found myself taking a sharp left turn into a golf driving range car park, which Karen had just spotted. Hitting some balls at a driving range is something I have been holding out to do for a long time now, since we see them everywhere here, but never somewhere that we go past. They always just happen to be in the distance but easily identifiable by their massive green netting. So anyway, we hit up this driving range at 10.30pm for a while. The place was dead quite which suited us just fine. We were put on the second floor which was sick. The range is set into a small valley and light up at night with flood lights which was totally awesome. Upshot of it all though, once we had finished, is that all three of us need some serious golf coaching, and even then I'm doubtful as to how good we can get.

On Thursday Karen came along to school with me in Arita as the "special guest". And I thought I was popular... damn... I have nothing on how much the kids were loving Karen! It was so funny to see the reactions of the students as we strolled into class and they did their double takes before launching into "Kawaiiii!!" (cute). We got to teach three classes together and they went very well. The lesson plan consisted of Karen reading her introduction and the students filling in the blanks, followed by students, in groups, writing three closed questions to ask either of us at the end of class in front of everyone. The best questions were all directed at Karen. "Will you hold me?" was one that cracked me up, and, "do you like me?" was another. I'm very lucky that my JTE's were happy with Karen to come to school and it went so well they have asked her to come back soon. It was really nice to be able to give Karen a look at a Japanese school and the type of classroom I teach in each day. It was also great to be able to show her off to some more people ;-)



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