Thursday, October 6, 2011

Japan 2011 - Southern Expedition

Tides and Sunrises

Passing moments here and gone

Voices on the wind

The Heart of the Matter

So I have recently returned from an incursion into Japan. This was certainly my most ambitious adventure to date. This was my 5'th trip to Japan. While most of my trips have only been 1 week this one was two. The first week I joined the Spokane-Nishinomiya Sister City Society and Spokane Mayor's delegation for many events and dinners. The second week I explored much of Kyushu. Even though I didn't see everything I set out to I achieved all of my primary goals. All at great expense to my feet!

There were times where I had only myself to rely on to navigate my way. Conversely, there were times when I relied on the guidance of others to show me the best places and locales. It was an amazing trip and I can't wait to put up some posts and relive some of the good memories.

The Nuts and Bolts

So here are some of the raw statistics and basic information on the trip;

Hours spent on airplanes - 24

Total days 'boots on the ground' in Japan - 14 days

Nights spent in Japanese Houses - 7

Nights spent in decent Business Hotels - 5

-Nights spent in absolute dive hotels - 1 (The New-Ogaki in Shin-Yamaguchi)

Photographs Taken - 2,859

Photo's of just food - 72

Videos taken - 34

Camera Used - Sony NEX-3 14.2 Megapixel

-I love this camera! Though I'm still fairly novice as far as all the functions go.

Total Memory used - 18 Gigs

Cities Visited - 15

-Osaka, Nishinomiya, Kishiwada, Hiroshima, Kure, Iwakuni, Miyajima, Yamaguchi, Kurume, Tosu, Tachiarai, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Chiran, Kagoshima,

-Around Tosu things start getting a little fuzzy as to where I was and what cities I was actually in and when..... I may have also hit Aira and Akune... I forget all the stops during my road trip with JCexplorer.

Cities I had planned on visiting but didn't - 2

-Sasebo, Miyazaki

Castles and Castle Ruins Visited - ~10

-Honestly, about 2/3 of the ruins I visited... I forget the names... a Little Help! :)

-Kishiwada, Osaka, Hiroshima, Iwakuni, Kumamoto, X-ruins (tosu), Y ruins (Y city), Z ruins (Z City), Chiran Castle, Kagoshima.

Number of Famous Dead Samurai I met - 6

-Seriously, I met Ryoma Sakamoto, Miyamoto Musashi, Kato Kiyomasa, and a few other's I don't remember there names.

-Musashi apparently spent 4 years at Portland State University, while another samurai I met lived in San Diego... I knew Musashi made his way around Japan.... But I had no idea he was fluent in English and actually lived in the US! Amazing!

Shinkansen ridden - 5

-Thank God for the JR Railpass!

-Longest Shinkansen ride - 4+hours (Kagoshima -> Yamaguchi)

Trains ridden - A LOT!

Ferry's ridden - 2

Temples visited - I have no idea...

Most interesting food eaten - Basashi (Raw horse)

-Delicious by the way! 1500 yen for 6 sashimi sized pieces.

Word of the Trip - Mamanaku ままなく

-It means shortly or soon. Just before announcing the upcoming stop on a train or bus... mamanaku ~ Hiroshima desu. I must have heard this a thousand times.

Blisters - 7

-All of which are now callouses...

Times I was actually truly 'lost' - 1

-Well when I mean 'lost' I had no idea where I was... Fortunately that day my travel companion Japanese Castle Explorer had a general idea of where we were... Of course just after saying, "I've got Kagoshiima down," it was quite apparent he had no idea where we were either!

Times someone tried to convert me to Christianity - 1

-This is a funny story and will definitely make the PoZ in the future.

Umbrellas lost - 1

Business cards handed out - ~70

Random Japanese I made friends with - 5

-Includes meetings on Trains, Buses, Baseball Games, Train Stations.

Crazy Australians who showed me around Kyushu - 1

-Thanks Japanese Castle Explorer!

-Oddly enough, we had more communication glitches speaking English than we had with the Japanese!

So that is pretty much the break down! I hope you check back soon to see the future posts I will be putting up!


All photo's, original works, and comments are my personal property. Please be respectful of the effort I've taken. Your comments are welcome, be polite: No throwing pebbles in my pool of zen.

All photo's, original works, and comments are my personal property. Please be respectful of the effort I've taken.Your comments are welcome, be polite: No throwing pebbles in my pool of zen.


  1. Awesome. I'm totally envious. I spent a couple days in Hakata & Dazaifu once, but haven't seen the rest of Kyushu at all.

    One of these days, I'd love to explore more of Kyushu, and especially if I were to do that with KyushuDan.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your trip!

  2. Hey Toranosuke V,

    Thanks for the comment. This trip was a LONG TIME coming. I am so happy that it worked out and went as planned.

    I passed through Hakate a few times, but only as a place to transfer to the next train.

    I really really enjoyed Kyushu. As I walked around at a break neck pace (sometimes running) I wrote posts in my head. (I always seemed to be running UP-hill).

    I'm really looking forward to sharing my experiences... especially if they inspire new adventures.

  3. Oh,

    And I can't speak highly enough of Kyushu Dan! What a guy! He was WAY too gracious a host and went out of his way to make my trip successful.

  4. Wow. That's more like it, indeed. Going over the stats there is no doubt that you had the time of your life, or that is at least *up there*.

    And, the pleasure was mine. You heading to southern Kyushu gave me the opportunity to tag along. What a shame that more time (& money) wasn't available, as there was so much more to see.

    Re: the castles, in Kiyama at sunrise, that was Kii castle ruins. Nothing there to see except the view & some other early risers.

    Next was Sashiki castle, which was atop the small mountain with fine, 360 deg views.

    There was that other "castle ruins" near some convenience store... I'll have to get back to you with any info that I'm able to muster on that one.

    I guess I'll leave it there. I'll of course be posting comments on future posts for sure. Yomu no tanoshimi.


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