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Day two of Nagasaki, and Nagasaki to Kumamoto


I didn’t write yesterday as I really just felt very tired. I’d been walking around all day and actually, I didn’t really see that much of anything worth mention. I’ll try to be quick about it then.


I woke up and headed out “behind” the hostel which contained a row of temples and grave yards. I started to check out the temples, but I realized that the sun was behind the temples This is a bit of a problem actually. The sky will be blown out and over exposed; the temples will be silhouetted. I figured it was better to wait until the afternoon to return to the temples. So I mostly just headed down the strip, but didn’t stop for most of the temples.


I did blunder into the old Chinese Quarter. Here there are really just 4 things. I saw 2 of them. One was a simple temple, the other is a museum and temple. This second thing was actually worth seeing in a way. China really did this one up, and it had many items from the Forbidden City museum on display. I suppose I’d already seen much of this stuff, so I went quickly. There was a bit of Chinglish in the museum as signs said “Space exhibit.” I figured it would be on China’s recent space flights. Actually they should have labeled it “landscapes of China” or something. No space craft, just pretty scenic photos.


Once out of the Chinese quarter, I mainly headed to the western area. When Japan was closed off to foreigners, it was Nagasaki that still maintained a bit of a foreign area. One major area is called “Glover Hill.” This is a park with a virtually mandatory route running through it. You could see s few old houses as well as pretty greenery. I’m sure it will be even prettier towards summer, but it wasn’t bad even now.


After that, I headed down to the harbor. I’d been hearing some noises now and again so I decided to check it out. First, I passed some skateboarders. I spent perhaps 30 minutes taking their photos before exchanging email addresses and moving on. Turns out, one of them was a Japanese sailor, part of their defense force.


The noises I’d been hearing came from some sort of cultural festival. I only saw a bit of it, as it was clear it was ending. It was late at this time. I walked back to the hotel but realized that the temples would all be closed. Too bad. I think I went to bed rather early.



Today I got up a bit late and left Akari Hostel. The plan was to take a train to a ferry port, then take the ferry, then get on another train and spend the night in a small town. . .


However, I first had to go to Shimabara. I got off and expected to see the port and a bit ship. Turns out I was probably 3 stops too soon. I went back into the train station to get another ticket for the last three stops and they said the trains didn’t connect. A bit weird but I walked to the port, enjoying the lovely views. I saw the outside of a large and beautiful castle, but didn’t feel like paying the $5 or $6 to see the inside. I’ve seen several castles already.


At the ferry terminal, I bought a ticket, but then wasn’t sure where to go. There appeared to be no English signs, and no immediately clear path. I could go upstairs, but maybe the door is on the first floor? Some preteens were laughing as I tried to ask some other passenger for help. I’d like to see them try to get around in Mexico or some other place!


Up to this point, I’ve thought the Japanese go way beyond what should be expected when it comes to helping you. But there is a problem to this. Where as the Chinese will simply point and give simple instructions, the Japanese will not point, and will talk for a great length. So I’m still lost. I’ve experienced this a lot today. I did feel a bit frustrated with the directions I was getting today which would explain my later actions.


Once the ferry got to Kumamoto, I got off expecting to see the station and a sizable town. Actually, the ferry terminal is about 13km away from the station, and quite a distance from the town. I didn’t know this. I could see a bus station, but the schedule was a bit confusing. There were clearly 3 of them, all for the same bus. Probably a weekend schedule, a weekday schedule, and who knows about the other one? I had anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour before the next bus would arrive.


In Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, public transport wasn’t really needed. I decided to just walk. So I started off. A few minutes into my walk, I remembered my music player. I put the headset on and suddenly I was on my motorcycle, in my own world. I could walk forever. I walked along carrying my heavy luggage, and photographing whatever looked interesting. Eventually I decided I needed to ask for directions. The big town that I knew must exist was nowhere in sight.


And when I did stop to ask directions, the people thought I was crazy or something as they knew how far it was to town. So there I am saying “train station” and they are saying “you walk?” So I say “Chugga chugga chugga chugga WOO WOO” but they just say “Bus?” I say “Station, There? There?” while pointing in different directions.

They just stand around saying something about buses and walking and there eyes are all bugging out of their heads. I’m trying to figure out why people who live in a town don’t know where the station is. Snoop Dogg is telling someone to “Burn this **** up.” Finally the people decide they can’t talk sense into this strange foreigner who in his mind imagines he is on a motorcycle and is lost in his own little world. They point in a direction and I start walking, taking in Japanese farmland and lovely mountains in the distance, and thinking maybe I’ll just walk to the next town (which later turns out is about 35km further than this town).


Eventually I found the town, and a hotel. Along the way thought, I’ve decided that I must drop some weight. My bags are still simply too heavy. So I’ve decided to just drop almost everything not needed. The computer is something I’m torn on. I know I will miss being able to just type stuff up and edit photos, but on the other hand, I’ll be able to travel even lighter if I mail the extremely have computer home.


I also edited the Lonely Planet. I decided its also very heavy. I was originally intending to just leave it behind, but now I realize its a better idea to just remove unneeded pages. I do feel a bit bad at trashing a perfectly good book, but its much better now with half the book in the trash. . .


Tomorrow I’ll continue to move to see the volcanoes of Japan. I might retain my laptop for one more day and see how things are with the other stuff gone. I can always mail it in a day or two. We’ll see.


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