Thank you all for the kind words of welcoming me back. It's good to be back.
I don't know that I can realistically get all updated on all of the pictures I've taken while I've been not posting, but I feel like before I move too far forward, I at least want to wrap up the pictures from the end of trip I took at the end of the year. Then, maybe I'll include old pics once in awhile in between other stuff. Not sure. For now, it's kind of nice to look back to the winter weather from back then since this summer has been the hottest in recorded history going back to 1898. No kidding. Considering my vehicle is a non-air-conditioned bike, and the concept of central AC doesn't really exist here, believe me when I say that it's noticeable when it's that hot here. Thankfully I do have a wall unit in one room of my apartment that does AC and heat. As you can imagine, about 9 months out of the year, I pretty much live in this one room. I like this room and finally broke down last month and bought a proper sofa (that lays flat into a bed, even), so it's all good.
And, so, on with old pictures.
After good times with hot springs and monkeys in Beppu (not together, though that would be kind of hilarious), I took a ferry from Beppu (on one of Japan's four main islands, Kyushu) to the another of the main four islands, Shikoku. Somehow I'd never been to Shikoku until then. It's actually pretty close (an hour or two) to where I live.
Beppu Port Seen from the Ferry
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Somewhere Between Kyushu and Shikoku
You can see in the top right picture that there aren't actual seats, but more kind of lounging areas. The trip took about 3 hours. There was a really well behaved little boy, about 6 years old, just across the aisle that entertained himself with a string for the duration of the trip while his father (?) slept. Next to me were two of the most unruly and obnoxious kids of about the same age. Somehow their parents slept through it. I didn't. So, I just sat and admired the kid with the string in between podcasts.
Matsuyama Decked out for New Year's
Several hours later, my train arrived in Matsuyama where I would ring in the new year. It's kind of rare to see the Japanese flag flying, but New Year's counts as a special time.
West Meets East
Thursday, December 31, 2009
The View from Matsuyama Castle
This castle is up pretty high, but they have cable cars that take you up. Unless you are one of those hearty folks that like to walk up to it. I am not one of those hearty folks. Also, it was super cold and super windy and super not pleasant outside. Still, the view was amazing.
Me, Matsuyama Castle
You have no idea how much I was shivering, willing myself to stand still for the picture.
More Matsuyama Castle
No pictures, but in between here, was an awesome little side trip to yet another onsen (hot springs). In Matsuyama, the big famous place is Dogo Onsen. After Beppu's real deal onsens, I resented the idea that this way too touristy place had a time limit, so my friend and I went to a place just a short bus ride away instead to the Oku-Dogu Jungle Onsen. It reminded me a lot of Beppu in the sense that there was no time limit, and once inside there were several different types of hot springs to enjoy instead of just one. More ways to bathe naked with strangers. I love Japan.
Mmm, Curry and Naan
I can't get decent Mexican food in Japan to save my life, there is no chicken fried steak here, but they definitely are all about the Indian food. And I do love Indian food.
Takashimaya Department Store, Matsuyama
If you get on the wrong streetcar, you wind up here instead of at the station. It's OK, though, because the Ferris wheel looks cool at night. There is also a Mister Donut. So, yah, no problem. It even snowed just a few little flurries, which doesn't happen a lot in Matsuyama.
Matsuyama is famous for mikan oranges. Well, really, other places are, too. While we were out and about, we found this bottle of mikan flavored sake. It was really good!
Quiet New Year's
We turned up in this quiet little bar and hung out. It was so low key that it was a few minutes past midnight before any of us realized it.
And, with that, I'm finally into the current year. Happy New Year's. Late.