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Thursday, September 08, 2005
Temporary hiatus while I deal with recurring computer problems. If all goes well, I should be back online by this weekend with some good photos.

Scootering and Night Fishing

Monday, September 05, 2005
I'm sitting in my apartment right now, it's 10:45, and the windows are rattling alarmingly. Typhoon number 14 is bearing down on southern Japan, and my apartment is standing right in the danger zone. It's supposed to hit tomorrow during the day, the ferries are cancelled, schools closed, but I have to go to the Board of Ed for work. Bummer.

School has started, I've been to three schools, and I've got two more to go to. I teach kids from first grade to middle school, I eat lunch with them, I teach them "The Eensy Weensy Spider," and I help them memorize lines for their English language play. Every day I go to work I don't really know what to expect, and I think that's probably for the best. I haven't been taking as many photos, but if the typhoon hits tomorrow, you can be sure I'll head out and bring my camera. Everyone is hoping that the storm will turn away, but I've found myself hoping it stays on course and hits us pretty hard.

One thing I have been doing is going out for scooter rides, takign the scooter out alone or with Cory, trying to find interesting things, looking for new roads into the mountains or just along roads that I haven't really explored yet. Here's one trip:

Scootering delight.

After that ride, I actually went to the docks and found Mori who invited me for some night fishing on the spot. I was taking the day off the next day, so I met him at his boat at 9 for a three hour fishing trip, going after Mebaru, which as far as I can tell exists only in Japan. Between the two of us we caught about 20 fish.

Everyone's favorite Japanese fishing buddy.

I seriously look like I'm really ashamed that I've been caught fishing. And I look like I have two black eyes. Not the best picture of me ever taken, but I was fishing dammit, and I want to prove it.

We were working really hard.

Our catch.

Another scooter excursion. The sun was setting, and I wanted to find a good place to see the sunset from. I was on my way to Kinoe, the town on the far side of the island when I realized that the sunset wouldn't be visible from Kinoe, and so I decided to go back up to the top of Shimpo-san. The ride was maybe even better than the last time, little narrow switchbacks around old stone walls and through bamboo forests, this time lit up with a deep orange sunset.

This gives you an idea of the roads I was going up on. Notice those little antennas on the far left, we'll get back to them.

So I got to the top of the mountain, and realized that the lookout point faces away from the sunset, which was hidden behind some trees, and then an NTT cellphone relay station (you can see it in the picture above). I drove to the cell tower, thinking that I could maybe climb over the fence to the other side and see the sunset, but before I did that, I wanted to make sure there wasn't a better way. I noticed a hiking path going off down the mountain and I went to check it out.

Now, the sunset is off to the right in this picture and you can see that the stairs go off to the left and back, so that was no good. But you can see a little path of white gravel right were the stairs turn, and I saw it too, and I checked it out.

At first you think "oh, great, I'm hanging out on a loose gravel mountain face with a bunch of unsightly antennas, but then you turn around and look at the view.

Pretty spectacular. I'll be back there soon. A funny thing about Japanese sunsets, it's so humid and hazy where I live that almost every sunset is deep orange and relatively without drama. The sky turns orange, then it gets dark, and that's it. I wonder how it will change as the seasons change.

A couple extras. Another scooter trip to the far side of the island, and I passed what appears to be someone's open-air office. I wonder if they have broadband?

And then yesterday I went to Kure city, a city right next to Hiroshima. During the war they built the Battleship Yamato, Japans biggest and most powerful navy ship. They are really really proud of the Yamato, and they have a 1:50 model of the boat. It's enormous.

I mentioned that I had gone to Kure this weekend to the principal of Nishino elementary school, and when I mentioned that I had seen the Yamato museum, she told me that her father-in-law had been killed when the Yamato was sunk. Her husband never met his father, he was born while his father was serving at sea.