May 062002
 

I know, it’s been a while.

Quick Summary: Osaka -> Okayama -> Hiroshima. Am having fun, Youth Hostels much more interesting.

So, what I’ll do, is just update from where I last posted for about 2 days of material, and then tomorrow I can do some more. Am very hungry at the moment, so I really, really need to do this quickly.

Mighty Atom is the Japanese name for Astro Boy. I went to the Osamu Tezuka Museum in Takarazuka. For me, it was one of the main reasons to come to Japan. And although the place was not too big, I did spend way too much money in the store (again.) Inside it was like it was a Manga/Anime itself, some bits Space Ship (knobs and levers), some Jungle Emperor Leo. The museum is for Osamu Tezuka, was esentially kickstarted the Japanese craze for Manga back in the 50s and 60s. And although that’s all I really did that day (it was about an hour to get there, and I didn’t get lost finding it!) It was for me, a fairly important part of my journey here.

I have finished High Fidelity. The second half is quite different to the film, which is odd. But you get inside the main characters head quite well. Have now started reading Kafka’s complete short story collection. Very weird, very dark. I think it’s a good pick for Japan, especially Metamorphosis. (If you haven’t read it, I can’t explain it … yet.)

I’m doing a lot of travelling, I think I prefer the travelling over the destnation or arrival. More travelling than I did in Australia I think, and when I talk to Japanese people they seemed amazed at how far I have been going. I wanted to use my rail pass and get value for money, so I picked a little fishing village south of Osaka for a day trip. The urban/rural landscape is so different. There are tiny rice paddies wedged inbetween homes along the train line, wedged inbetween the mountains. There was (trying to get tense right here) an English girl at the YH that I asked to come with me, because I’ve been doing all this seeing, and no one to share it with. Her name is Rachel, she’s from England, somewhere east of London. So we went south to Minoshima, which is a little dot on The Map. The reason I wanted to go was to see some beach, or ocean, or waves, or something watery. Anyway, Minoshima wasn’t what I wanted. So I walked into the Travel Agent at the station and asked for a local map, which they had. I pointed to a lighhouse and said I wanted to go there, which would have been difficult since there was no roads leading to it. They instead pointed to a smaller fishing village, that had an Onsen (hot bath) and a few other Tourist Attractions (and I use that term loosly, very loosly.) Anyway, 20 minutes buy bus and we arrive that this little alcove with about 50 houses, 25 fishing boats. Just what I wanted, spot on middle of nowhere with a fantastic ocean view. We walk down to the water and out onto the newly constructed concrete (the Japanese love their concrete) breakwater. We sit there for about an hour, cursing that we couldn’t get fish and chips (she was English) and more so that we didn’t bring any beer. There were no beer vending machines that we could see, and only a very small shop selling fruit and veg. Anway, with the train trip, the ocean breeze and view it was a fabulous, off the beaten track day. You’ll just have to believe me, and see the photos.

I also discovered that the rail pass didn’t actually cover anywhere near as far south as I went. Oh well.

The only think about it that was weird, was I saw my first bit of WWII, an old bunker on the other side of the cove.

Just as we were about to go, this crusty old man came up to us. It took me a little while to work out if he was speaking Japanese (they have regional dialects as well.) I thought he was, but after a little while I think he was also deaf. I didn’t want to ask. He was talking about something. I think it was to do with fishing with a rod and reel. Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t speak that good Japanese. I also think they hadn’t seen a Westerner since WWII in this town as well, if at all. Since leaving Osaka we hadn’t seen a Gaijin at all, and we were in a fairly remote part of Japan. It made Hamlyn Terrace look like the centre of the world.

There were two blokes from Denmark in my room in the YH at Osaka. They thought Japan was a huge place. Well, I guess they would.

So, next installment will be from the 1st May. Kyoto, May Day and all that. Oh, and KFC again.