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Saturday, 23 July 2011

Its back!

Return of the King

After a 4 month hiatus I have returned to spill words on this blog!  Special shout out to Miss Si, Miss Natasha and Mr Seyi, whose kind words and their avid following has inspired me to return to the blogging fold!  A quick summary of what has happen since i've been away from this place
Visited at least 10 different cities
Visited 2 different countries
Performed a couple of surprises
Been on Japanese TV for a second time
Been to a couple of festivals Had a couple of visitors



Where was I......


Last update I left you with I was in the city of Hiroshima so it seems a good enough place to kick off again.   After the castle we went back to my hotel to check in and then went out to get some Ramen.

The Ramen shop's picture on the internet looked like a quite modern establishment.  In reality it reminded me of a greasy spoon East London cafe!  Despite appearance the meal was quite tasty and a decent price! 

 After the meal made our way back to the hotel so Aaliyah could collect her bag and then catch her coach back to Fukuoka. My first full day was Aaliyah's last day in Hiroshima.   There was a point on the way back to the hotel where we got lost but we eventually found ourselves back on the right path.  After returning to the hotel I walked Aaliyah back to the coach station, waved goodbye and the solo Only D Brave Adventure continued!


Miyajima!


 My next excursion in Hiroshima was to Miyajima or the big red gate in the sea!  I was first informed about this place from good friend with a fantastic accent Tiff back when i was in Fukuoka and the once I let it be known i was hitting Hiroshima I was told I had to visit.  

Journey was about half an hour train ride from Hiroshima station plus a 10 min ferry ride. Got there and was just blown away by the natural beauty of the island combined with the gorgeous blossom.












Took brief minute to adjust to my surroundings and find my location on the map, then I set off to the gate. Along the way a bumped into a number of cute characters, deer! These deer were not shy of human visitors at all and were strolling about like they owned the place ( well guess they do) I did feel a lil bit sad for the deer that had their antlers shaved down. I mean I understand it was for the protection of other humans and deer but they seemed a lil less deer like :|.


















Miyajima Gate



I eventually made my way to the Big Red gate and it was big indeed!  It was low tide so you could see it in all its glory!  The shrine was dedicated to the three daughters of Susano-o no Mikito the Shinto diety of seas and storms.  I was in awe of its epic size! 




 Coins of usually 1 yen 5 yen and 10 yen were scattered around the base of the gate. Its a popular tradition to place coins in the cracks of the base and make a wish and so I did the same.  You cant help but be impressed by this structure!




After the gate I decided to explore the rest of the island. I spotted a sign for free ride to cable car and thought I love freeness so let me opportunise this offer. I mistakenly thought the cable car was free but hey ho I'm there now so let me take a ride.





Bought a return ticket and got on the cable car!. I was treated to stunning views on this ride, and I was happily snapping away. 












Got to the end of the line and thought the journey was over but no, it was just a pitstop. Another bigger car was there to take you the rest of the way. While waiting for the car to fill up I met a daughter and father pairing, the girl was half Japanese half American with a Californian accent( I love that accent) while the dad was fully Japanese. The girl was happy to have found someone to speak English with other than her dad, I was happy just to chat to anyone ( either English or my basic Japanese) as it normally happens the convo turned to earthquake and as usual I told her I was there and showed her video footage. She was glad I came through it alive and that didn't abandon the rest of my trip! Got to the end of the line( the actual end this time) and said my goodbyes. I went to take a picture of the final station then disaster struck. My camera had been low on juice but the showing of the video must have killed off the battery. Great I'm at the top of the mountain and have no pictures as mementoes. I took out the battery and did the old rubbing trick, that worked for one snap and then camera says NO! The father and daughter combo were taking snaps and asked if I wanted my pic taken with my camera. I did the battery trick and gave the dad the camera hoping that at least one snap would come out - it didn't! I was going to trudge back to the cable car then I remembered, I have a camera phone! Ok it's not dslr standard pics but it's more than satisfactory! (*update Phone stopped working and Ive lost those photos grrrr - means i have to go there again :))


After taking a number of pics there was an announcement that the last cable car was at 530 pm, if you miss it, you would have to walk down. Since I bought a return I didn't want to waste it so I said bye to the dad daughter paring who had bought a one way ticket and were heading to another mountain with an even higher peak. When I got to the station(only 30 secs away) I saw a map of the second mountain. It was only 1kilometre away. Now it was 435 pm and I can run 5 kilometres in 30 min with relative ease - I could make it couldn't I ? So I put my camera in the free locker at the station and started to run up witch mountain ( not really called that but it was one of my fave films when i was younger). 

I followed the sign to the peak, but it was leading me in a downwards direction. Hmmm i didnt have time to decide if the sign was correct or not, i just continued in the same direction. Eventually the path turned and it started to head upwards. After a while I caught up with with the father daughter couple. We conversed for a bit, they wished me luck and then i continued with my quest. The further up I got the harder it was to breathe. My pace got slower and slower. Along the way I would stop and take snaps of points of interest and then continue. I must have thought I reached the top on 6 or 7 occasions. Each time a 360 pivot would reveal another path or a sign saying you had 0.x to go! Finally I reached the top woohoo! There was a little viewing platform which had stairs which would take you its two levels. As I approached the steps I was greeted by a deer who I can only guess had similar goals to mine so copying the deer's lead I followed it up the stairs. Yes I had reach my goal the peak!!! I took a couple of snaps and then it was time for the 2nd mission - to get to back to the cable car station before the last cable car.  So the race began, back down the path from whence I came, stopping briefly to give a nod to all those i had met on the way to the mountain.  Made it to the station with plenty of time to spare!


Japanese word of the day - Naruhodo - ahh i see