The colorful wolf

May 31, 2010

Arrival at Yakushima

Filed under: Spirit of Japan — randy @ 20:57

First impressions: the island itself is just like the rest of prefab Japan: plain and average. The people however, are interesting. And with interesting I mean slightly messed up in the head. Arriving at the ferry pier we got assaulted third-world-country style by a suspicious old weird man who wanted to bring us around, have us sleep in his hostel or house or whatever and have us do all kinds of things. He talked with a weird tic and generally creeped me out a lot. I chose to ignore him while my Japanese buddies tried to get rid of him. At times likes these it’s great to pretend you don’t know Japanese, but unfortunately this guy also spoke English..

Flashing backward a bit, our buddy Nishi unfortunately couldn’t make it, but we picked up a new buddy on the ferry: a Taiwanese guy who has his own company back in Kanagawa where I used to work, and now he’s traveling around in a camper van that he built himself. He basically took a small prefab building that construction companies use to make their temporary offices, and mounted it on a truck. Brilliant 😀

We were making plans for hiking the mountains of Yakushima tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, but we’re having trouble making sense of all the information. Some people say it’s very easy, other people say it’s impossible. Some say that we should absolutely see touristic sight A, and others say we should skip it cause it sucks. We’re overloaded with contradictory information. We eventually made a plan, which is to start hiking early tomorrow morning, hike for about 8-10 hours towards the center of the mountains where the most interesting sights are. Once there, we can spend the night at a mountain hut and continue the hike in the morning, finding our way down again. If this plan fails somehow and we end up stuck in the mountains for longer than expected, then I will miss my ferry back to Kagoshima and the ferry back to Tokyo, which would not make me very happy.

While making plans in the park, another strange old man appeared and started talking to us. We asked him a bit about the hiking routes, and were happy with his answers, but he soon started off with a very long story about his family in Kanagawa, his lifestyle on the island, his family, his wife, drinking, the weather, the war, Dutch people, and whatnotsomore. He usually managed to stick to a topic for about five seconds, which confused the hell out of us. He was a nice guy though, unlike the suspicious old weird man we met at the ferry port. He offered us to camp near his place, which we plan to do the day after tomorrow, if we still have energy left after hiking for two days.

Finishing up our planning, we decided to go to a nearby onsen (hot spring public bath awesome), which turned out to be not so near. Fumi is traveling on foot, whereas our Taiwanese buddy and I can go by bicycle. We figured it would take 30 minutes to 1 hour of walking to get there, but it would have probably taken Fumi two hours if he had went all the way. Fortunately he turned back long before that and saved himself a nasty walk, because the onsen was nothing to write home about. It was really small, more like a kitchen sink than a bath. The water was good though.

Arriving back at the youth hostel I was unloading my luggage when suddenly suspicious old weird man appeared again! He caught a prey, and sitting inside his car was another foreigner, ready to check in to the youth hostel. Suspicious old weird man didn’t speak much to me, and went on his way again soon. New foreigner guy turned out to be Dutch, and he might become our hiking buddy tomorrow. A fine group of people is starting to form here. 😀

I’m not bringing my laptop tomorrow, and there’s no telephone signal on this island except in the towns, so no blog update tomorrow. See you in two days.

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