Today after a good rest, I was able to slowly venture out of the hotel. After my recent purchase of the antique box and Kabuto, I took the box and walked it to the post office where I prepped it for its long journey back to Austin, Texas. I have now added yet another story to the Kabutos apprarent long history, and while I’m still curious of the previous ones, I bet it had never imagined its placement on American soil, much less in a townhome in Texas.
After leaving the box at its final Japanese resting place, I continued walking over to the port. At an intersection, I saw two other foreigners that looked like they were heading for the same ferry, so I started up a conversation. They were Erna and Turko from Finland, a couple who had been traveling around Japan for a couple of weeks. They are from Tampere, where I had visited back in 2002 which surprised them, and we headed onto the terminal together to start our trip across the bay to the grand volcano island of Sakurajima.
The boat ride was short, and when we disembarked, we were quickly moved to the Island View bus which would take you around the island at the stops to see the panoramic views from the island back towards Kagoshima. Several of the stops also told history about the volcano and its activity through the past century and beyond. Sakurajima is one of the most active and most observed volcanoes in the world, and is made up of 2 actual cones, one to the north and one to the south. The south cone is the one where smoke continuously escapes. While we were able to see the smoke rising, we felt nothing, smelled nothing, and heard nothing from the silent ticking bomb. Apparently it becomes more active in the summer months where the earth releases from contraction of the winter months.
After the tour around the island and the boat ride back to Kagoshima, we bid farewell to one another and I continued walking back towards the hotel to find lunch. I then continued onto the central train station to secure my tickets for my journey the next day to Ise, which will be a long train journey from Japan’s most southern tip.
While at the station, I found my way to my most favorite electronics store, Bikku Kamera which has all the latest electronics from home goods, ipods, battery backups, tvs, and everything more that you can imagine. I scored some of Sony’s newest earbuds that sound incredible, and not available in the US J
Atop the central station is a ferris wheel. While I’m not a huge fan of these as they are slow moving and not super interesting, the panoramic view that is offered from being this high up was something I figured I should see. Sakurajima towers over Kagoshima, and despite high rise buildings obscuring its view from usual city streets, crossing roads and holes in the skyline always offer a glimpse of the monstrous mountain behind. This ferris wheel was able to take me above the buildings to look at the beast straight on. And believe me, I would not want to wake that beast.
After a full day of walking and exploring, I went back to the hotel to do a workout and stretching for my next day on the train. I spoke with the gym people which was fun, and got a great recommendation for a place for dinner. After my workout, I went out to find the dinner venue and successfully scored a table for myself and had an incredible meal fit for a king.