Friday, January 8, 2010

Shimonoseki and KyuuShuu - from one edge to another.

This story will start out with a post I wrote on our first day there:
We are here to take a boat to Korea on Christmas... No particular plans here, didn't even have a place to stay. We seatched for over half an hour fora good cheap place, but to no avail. We returned to the trian station and asked there, again no luck. We walked down another street towards the local police box. However, we found a video rental shop a long the way.. I decided that would be the best place to ask, so I went in... the worker there, knew of a place, but it was pretty far away. He was getting off of work in half an hour, and offered to drive us there!
I feel so happy with the way things work out when you just try things. I honestly felt scared not having a place to sleep in the cold, not knowing what was going to happen. But that feeling is amazingly relieved when everything is resolved. It is so amazing the adventures you find in such cases.
The nice guy that drove us there, we never learned each others names, but that's ok. He explained to us his favorite word, "ichigoichie" which means a precious once in a life time experience. He truly believed that things happen that develop strong relationships in the world, of serendipitous measures. He was more than happy to help us get all squared away at a good place to sleep for the night, and right now... I feel so grateful for the intricate coincidences of necessity in life.

...I'm glad we went to Shimonoseki for that reason alone, but aside from that, we had a pretty amazing adventure all around. We really only spent one day exploring, but we took full use of it. Our original plan had us checking out an uninhabited island where a famous battle was fought. We headed in that direction, but ended up walking to KyuuShuu instead! There are four main islands in Japan, Hokkaidou, Honshuu, KyuuShuu, and Okinawa. I had only been to two, and thought that Shimonoseki was a part of KyuuShuu when we got our boat tickets... I was disappointed when we arrived, and it was only barely not. We were able to see KyuuShuu in the distance, and then decided to head there instead of the island only half way between! I'll let the pictures describe the rest.
When we woke up in Shimonoseki, we had no idea where the train station was, so we had to ask folk along the way. This was a first real glimpse at Shimonoseki, a pretty small city.

This is Aaron and I at the visitor's information center. We had arrived the night before to be just in time for the automated visitor's center *closing down* entirely automatically. I don't understand the point of an automated center being unavailable, heh.

Epic building across from the train station.

Christmas tree in the mall on Christmas eve.

Celes and I in front of Shimonoseki's crazy tower that's really pretty at night.
According to Aaron, many cities in Japan built up in the 1980s, and when the economic bubble burst in the 90s, they just couldn't do anymore. So you find a lot of places around Japan with a very 80s/90s retro feel, much like in Shimonoseki.

While heading to get to the island, we saw KyuuShuu right across the water, I reeeeaaally wanted to go!

It's a small town.

This is a famous Shimonoseki fish market, looks a lot more like a factory, so it's pretty cool. Shimonoseki is *all* about fugu (blowfish), if you go there, you eat fugu... though we didn't this time around. I also learned from a Japanese friend that most fugu are from fish farms, where they are raised without the necessary components for their poison. So as long as you're paying like $50 for the fugu, and not $500, then there's no poison danger. Though I've also heard it's not the same flavor.

I saw this bridge and really wanted to cross it. In the end though, we had no idea how to get up to it, since it started in the mountains.

Along the way to find the bridge, we found this abandoned hotel that was pretty cool. We wanted to go in, but it was along a main road, and didn't wanna risk it in daylight. So Celes and I may try to go back at night when we return.

We found this awesome Inari shrine along the side of the road, too.

This is how epic Japanese spiders are.

The battle on the island that we were after, also happened to be in Shimonoseki of course. These statues represent the historically renowned clans of Heike and Genji from the Heian period. The Genji clan won this battle in Shimonoseki.

This is the underground tunnel we found leading to KyuuShuu! Everything inside looked super apocalyptic . Especially getting off the elevator, felt like we entered some bunker.

Across on KyuuShuu, we found another Inari shrine, with the tori gates specifically lining up with the gates across on the Honshuu side. Pretty cool.

We saw an awesome pagoda on top of a mountain, so we randomly decided to climb the mountain... these are all from the path.

At the top, we found the World Peace Pagoda. It was like finding aotfher part of Asia randomly stuck in Japan. Indeed, it was a peace project from Myanmar.

We got there right before it closed for the evening, and saw the sun setting from the mountain top.

These goldfish are literally inside of a stone wall directly under neath a Japanese house.

We started wandering around Kita KyuuShuu to look for a Manga Kissaten for the evening.

The next day we tried to find an arcade. There was indeed a round one, they had this cool statue thing!

These are a few final shots from the mountain path. It was a fun journey indeed.

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