I woke up feeling like death. The curse of the kitsune had caught up to me.
On the bus! It was 8:01am. Yay! The bus station/terminal is right next to Hakata station. Last post I said that the 8-story mall thing was Hakata station. It's not. It's part of the bus station.
Anyway. Bus time! We rode almost down south to Kumamoto, then started going into the mountains. They played Fellowship of the Rings on the way. It was dubbed in Japanese. Let me tell you, that movie is very different when I'm not paying much attention to the words they are saying. The men touch each other gently a lot. Needless to say, the movie was a whole new experience. Very interesting.
There was still snow on some of the hill/mountain tops! It looks like powdered sugar.
Some neat plant of some sort.
The bus ride was so long, the movie ended and we still had an hour or so before we reached the city.
We could have taken a bus, but that's for pansies. We decided to walk through the small town to the gorge.
Takachiho Temple! I really love that torii. We'll come back here later. Gorge first!
I don't even remember where Nur found these, but they sure look cool.
To get to the gorge we could go one of two ways. One was a trail we didn't know about that went to the other side of the gorge, the other was this road. A little steep, but hey, it's an adventure! =D
We're going pretty deep to get there…
Towards the bottom of our downwards journey we came across tons of waterfalls. It was more like just a bunch of water running down the cliffsides.
The water ran into a couple ponds and/or into the gorge itself.
One of the said ponds! With a tiny shrine in the middle!
This is for you, tsurara_mai! These suckers were quite large.
Ah, finally, the gorge itself.
Now don't quote me on this, but if I recall correctly the gorge was formed when the (sort of) nearby Mt. Aso exploded violently. You can see the interesting shapes of the basalt rock in the picture above and the header image at the top of the page.
This is Manai Waterfall. It's "one of the 100 best waterfalls in Japan" according to a sign they had posted nearby.
There were lots of really neat mixtures of rock faces and lush greens.
Poor lonesome koi! There were actually a couple others in the pond, but the orange and white one really caught the eye.
I just think this looks… so cool…
Going down further…
Moustache rock! Actually, I think this is called "Kihachi's Boulder of Strength." Quick googling tells me that Kihachi may have been the name of a demon who lived in the area and threw this boulder out from the cave he lived in.
Kihachi was a cruel demon and generally a violent asshole, so the first emperor's older brother eventually killed him and then everyone was happy because they weren't being attacked by an asshole. The moral of this story is to not be an asshole or someone's big brother is going to kill you.
You could take pictures with someone dressed as Kihachi a little further along the path, but their depiction looked sorta like an angry red-faced guy with tusks or something. I like my demons to be a little more RWARR!!!
It almost looks like an old building's wall.
This area was really noisy because there were rapids everywhere.
We crossed the lowest of the three bridges and found a sign saying that Kihachi's cave was nearby, so we followed a trail and tried to locate it. I freaking love demons, even if they do just look like extremely angry guys. The rapids continued alone the river.
What will this be? A little tree, perhaps.
Mmmm, soft moss. ♥
I wonder where these originally led? They just headed into bushes and trees when we were there.
It looked like the trail just led back to Takachiho Temple, so we turned around to go back to the main area in the gorge. We had more exploring to do!
Nur found this little one on the way back.
Surveyors were checking out the gorge wall. Maybe it's becoming unsafe. I don't know.
This is right next to Manai Waterfall. You can rent boats and row around the river and get close to the bottom of the waterfall, but they said the water was too cold when we were there, so no boating for us!
Nur bought dango that had been roasted by an open fire. It was sooooo good! We sat and ate it as we watched the waterfalls.
This little guy was really talkative and friendly! Too bad we didn't have any food for him.
Good bye, gorge! You are very pretty, but I probably won't venture out this way again. At least not for a while.
A lot of the trees around Takachiho look like they are copy-pasted. I assume it's because they were planted in a grid or something, but that doesn't change the fact it's creepy-looking.
Oh hey, back to Takachio Temple! (That may or may not be the actual name of this place)
Sorry fu dog, I couldn't resist.
So you know that sign that said Kihachi's cave was this way? I was upset because I couldn't find it. I looked around the temple, walked down the trail that did indeed seem to meet up with the trail we had been walking on earlier, and no cave! Research later showed that the only listed cave on many maps was 8km away. It's the cave Amaterasu hid in after her brother was a jerk to her. WELL. After going through some pictures just a few minutes ago, I think I found the cave. I think it's hidden behind one of the temple buildings. The sign is in calligraphy and I cannot read a word of it. But it looks like there is a hill and an opening in the hill. CURSES! I SKIPPED OVER THE DEMON CAVE!
Anyway. Hey look! A miko!
The side of the main temple building with it's beautiful carvings. Hey, who's that on the right?
Emperor's Older Bro: BITCH YOU ARE SUCH AN ASSHOLE TO THESE PEOPLE
Kihachi: Oh please spare my life!
Emperor's Older Bro: For real?
Kihachi: AHAHAHA NO! YOU'LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE, SUCKER!
And the emperor's older brother never did take him alive. He just killed him. Poor dude.
I really love the manhole covers. I'm not sure why this one is a fire truck. I didn't see any fire stations nearby. Maybe this connects to a water pipe.
Nur walking through a random neighborhood. He suggested we adventure through the town since we had a while until the bus took us back to Fukuoka.
Our adventure allowed us to see a cat van!
AND A TRAIN VAN!
This seemed to be the usual Takachiho manhole cover.
Surprise cave! The cave actually goes deeper on both sides, but it's pitch black in there and I wasn't brave enough to venture in.
We eventually got back to the bus station. Our bus came late, and then we had a ~4 hour ride back to Fukuoka. This time we didn't get a movie. The tv had a (Japanese) Giants baseball game on, but the reception was really bad. When it got SUPER bad, the tv would switch channels. Through the trip it constantly switched channels, and no channel was clear. It gave me a headache when I tried to watch it. The ride back was nice and smooth until we actually got back to the city. Then it was EXCRUCIATINGLY SLOW. The last half hour was spent going about THREE BLOCKS. Three. Freaking. Blocks. WTF. It was driving me crazy. I was really close to just asking the driver to let me jump off of the bus.
When we got back to our hotel, there was a large police presence outside. Tons of cops, but I never found out what they were doing there. It made me happy to see them though… I love police. =3
Map of the day's long trip!
I took this picture for Cubby, the King of Bread and Donuts. Alas, we actually never went in. Does anyone know what "San Francisco Yumcha" is? I've lived near SF all my life and I have never heard of "San Francisco Yumcha" until seeing this. Now I'm curious!
As if to rub in the fact I wasn't going to be in Japan for the Conan movie, 7-11 started a Detective Conan promotion. I wanted to participate in the promotion, but whenever I got stuff from 7-11 they never gave me any of the promotion stuff and I didn't know how to/was too shy to ask. Woe is me!
There is a mermaid buried under this shrine. Don't eat it, I hear living forever sucks.
But do you know what time it is now? Well, you probably do if you read the header image.
IT'S BASEBALL TIME! Our tickets were pretty nice. The game was the Orix Buffaloes vs the Softbank Hawks.
Okay, okay, so you may or may not remember the mutant rabbit "Giabbit" mascots of the Giants from our last Japanese baseball game. After seeing those creatures, I figured I'd be prepared for the worst. But NO. Japan never ceases to amaze! The Buffaloes do not have a buffalo as their mascot. No, that would be too OBVIOUS. Instead they have TWO CHILDREN; Ripsea and Neppie. WHAT IS THIS? You can see them in the middle of this page.
The Hawks are much better and have a very large collection of mascots… eight hawks. I say hawks, but they look sorta like canary-owl-hawk mixes. Here's the family, copy-pasted from the Hawks' wikipedia page:
Harry Hawk-a yellow colored hawk with Number 100, Harry supports the team as the main mascot. He is the youngest brother of Homer Hawk, the former main mascot.
Honey Hawk- a pink colored female hawk, Honey is a girlfriend of Harry, and the cheer leader of Hawks' dancing team, Honeys.
Harculy Hawk-an orange based hawk with Number 200, Harcury is Harry's teammate as well as his longstanding rival since Hawk University days.
Honkey Hawk- a middle aged hawk, Honkey is Harry's uncle, and the mayor of Hawks Town. He loves Baseball.
Helen Hawk- a middle aged female hawk, Helen is Honkey's wife. They have eloped during their high school days.
Huck Hawk-Harry's nephew. He wears red-lined T shirts and the same color cap.
Rick Hawk- Harry's nephew and middle of Hawk brothers. Rick wears glasses and blue-lined T shirts and the same color cap.
Hock Hawk-Harry's nephew and youngest brother of Huck and Rick. He wears a green-lined T shirts and the same color cap.
I love the little factoids… like Helen and Honkey eloping. It disturbs me slightly that Harculy (who is, btw, the coolest even though he looks like he's hitting the steroids pretty hard) and Honey share a last name with the other Hawks though they aren't related to them. …. OR ARE THEY?
(Randomly, the Chunichi Dragons have a blue koala named Doala as their mascot. Oh, Japan!)
Since it IS the Softbank Hawks, the amazing Otousan had banners to show his support! Some people in the crowd had Otousan uniforms… they looked like regular Hawks uniforms, but had a picture of Otousan on the back with the number 0103. (0 = O, 10 = tou, 3 = san) I really wanted one, but I think they were a promotional item or something, none of the Hawks stores we browsed had any!
There was a lot of food to choose from. I'm not adventurous so I just copied Nur and got a burger.
Some famous-ish(?) group sang to warm up the crowd and start the game.
HOMERUN! Go Hawks! You can see all the flags on the right side, the home team side, going wild.
Buffalo support! You go, guys!
So get this, the announcer was this white guy named Max. It was strange to hear him say english baseball phrases then go to fluent Japanese. And all in the traditional baseball announcer voice.
At one point a fight almost broke out. I… actually really wanted to see a brawl.
Hawks won the game 6-2, yaaaay! They had fireworks, streamers exploded out of the sides of the stadium, and people let off these white balloons that looked like sperm. Yeah. YEAAAAAHHHH. =| And then they opened the dome.
Who likes baseball? Annaliese likes baseball!
We didn't really have any more plans for the day, so we decided to try to find a Mandarake we happened to see from the bus the day before. I guess it's the biggest Mandarake in Kyushu! I was lucky enough to find the two Oh! Edo Rocket boxes I was missing. They were the only Oh! Edo Rocket discs I got my hands on this trip. I'm only missing two discs now! ALMOST THERE. They had some really neat old manga there and some VERY pricey but VERY pretty Basso/Natsume Ono doujin.
A couple short Takachiho Gorge shots, but then a bunch of clips from the baseball game. Nur was nice enough to put these together.
Our route moseying around town!
Ye gods I'm exhausted! This is what I get for starting this post so late! Next time look forward to DINOSAURS! A VOLCANO! CRUNKY! A BANANA! AND THE BEST SLIDE EVER!!!!!!