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Japan 2008: Day 22: May 20

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slow morning, we planned to meet up with david for lunch, in ozu. hopped on the 1138 train and waited a bit at ozu for him to show up.

since he works in the area-ish, he brought us to a small but good ramen place hidden away in the side streets. it’s a bit weird for me to be served rice on the side with my ramen but… o well.

ok. well the first highlight of the day was the purpose of meeting up with david at lunch, to take his car. yea o.o… i think they call it a K-car or somethin? they’re a lot smaller and not as powerful as regular cars, but because the are small, they fit with the narrow narrow narrow streets of japan. he brought out some maps so we could try and follow them to reach our destination: kikuchi gorge. we were also supposed come back and pick him up afterwards.

after the ramen, michelle suggested i drive him back to work…. so… off we go. and something goes wrong O_O! wtf’s…. maybe it’s just the gravel? hmmmmmm keep going a bit more… wtf… hmm… david gets out of the car, i notice… o.o emergency brake 😉 it’s aallll good. lol… out into the street, aw crap, left side, left side. lalalala… turn! wipers?! other side… ooo the signals… turning left…. wrong direction! lol…. in more simpler terms… everything has gone opposite. gotta sit in the right-hand seat, drive on the left-hand side, signal with my right, and right/left on the signal is flipped. yikes. and no left turns at a red light. crazy. and… drive through reds! lol… apparently many japanese people run the red light, it’s very common o.o… so if we must, we must.

anyways, david directed me to his work place, and we got there in one piece. i adjusted pretty quickly to the left-side and the turning lanes, but the signaling still needs some work, i forget sometimes and the wiper goes off instead. we pull into the company parking lot… and, of course, the parking lot is designed like shit. the workers there could have done a better job, easily. aiya.

aaaaand we’re off. since we didn’t have a map for the place david works, he sorta directed us back into the right direction… we were to take the street out, get on the 325, right on the 387, and right on the 45 up to the gorge. after driving for a while, we see the ‘kikuchi’ sign, we’re already on that road! hurray. there were no numbers on it tho, so… we should be good. continue driving, driving… wtf, we’re on the 341. T_T… michelle and i figured out some crazy way to get back to the 325… get onto the… 90? then 139? iuno the only streets with names were these numbered routes T_T it was horrible. anyways, we somehow finally ended up on 325… it led up to a mountain side where there were a lot of twists, turns, curves, and slides… lol, it was actually pretty fun once u got a hang of the car. there were a bunch of sections where only one car would fit comfortably, so we’d both slow down and pass eachother… after these, we came to a split, i took the road that we were naturally flowing into, and ended up on a small bridge that was only wide enough to fit the car, barely. scary shit o.o… and we end up in a small residential area with so many more narrow narrow roads – -;… we come back out, back across the scary narrow bridge, to find some random guy pissing into the stream, keeeeeep driving… and for some reason we end up on 203. but we never really strayed from 325… so we kept going… and going… since 203 was going in the same general direction. and we were lucky, for some crazy reason 203 intersected with 325 (although our map didn’t show it) and we’re finally going up the right road. the rest was sorta boring and straight forward… we didnt get lost anymore 🙁 it took about an hour in total to reach the parking lot for the kikuchi gorge/ravine/area so that was pretty good.

when we did reach the parking lot, we weren’t sure it was the right place 😛 but i got a signal from michelle, and i paid for the parking… apparently michelle was ASKING if it was good, not saying that it was – -;… but, it was 😛 lol…

we walk into the area and going into the paths… there are two routes. we (i) choose the left one, although i was pretty sure it was going the other way… lol o well. the forest path was pretty nice, a bit scary too, there were no rails, and their makeshift ‘rope and logs’ were not at a lot of the cliffs as well. it could be extremely dangerous o.o… extremely. we walk up and take a bunch of pictures along the way, and we find a caterpillar spinning its… cocoon and michelle gets some good shots (the macro on mine was… weird, and i was too impatient :P) so she has some good pics. we keep walking and walking, taking a bunch of pictures, and at the end of the path…………. is… a parking lot. yea. – -;… so after a minute or two of complaining to no one in particular, we head back down the same route, which was several times faster since we weren’t taking any or as many pictures as on the way up. there was one thing that we did stop and take several, near the beginning (or our end) of the route, there was a large butterfly or moth thing attached so a small plant. the wings were green and even looked like leaves, the body was white and thick, a lot larger compared to regular moths. it looked very interesting and possible evil. we took our bunch of macro pics and kept on going onto the correct route.

after a couple of minutes walking by the ravine, we come into a couple of openings and one in particular led out towards the cliff and waterfalls. the perfect place to take pictures! there was no one there to tell us how far out we could go (even though we paid to get in and park…) we could’ve went into the water if we wanted to (although we did not want to o.o…) michelle and i took a bunch of pictures by the small waterfall at the edge of the cliff 😀 i guess it’s the same at any other ‘natural’ wilderness place, but it was a first for me. no warnings put in place for ‘beware of the waterfall, you might kill yourself’ type stuff… as we kept walking through, there were numerous more occasions where we’d stop and take a bunch of pictures by the ravine and forest, but the first area was by far the best 😛

we spent about 3 hours hiking around the forest and decided we needed to head back in order to pick up david at a reasonable time. granted that we didn’t get lost again. and driving back to town was a breeze, we easily found the right routes and it was a bit faster too. i think i got used to driving in japan by this time… i think. lol :P… once we got into the city, i got lost again. we were supposed to turn at a 7-11, but at the same time, we were also looking for route 202. APPARENTLY (we saw afterwards) 202 is perpendicular to the street we were supposed to have turned on – -;… oops? we drove around lost for a good half an hour to 45 minutes and finally ended up in teradyne’s parking lot once again. they (he and don) were waiting for a while now :S sorry!

i stumble out of the car, finally completed all the driving i’d do in japan, and we’re off again to drop don off at home. it seemed to me that only from kumamoto did the setting sun actually turn red. o.o and i dont think i have a good picture of that 🙁

we head back to david’s to rest a bit and then we head back out to find some dinner and either karaoke or a bar. (it’s our last night in kumamoto after-all) david drove us back out into the city and we go into a small bar that serves italian food…. italian bar food o.o… so the portions were smallish 🙁 dave and i got some pizzas, which were actually pretty good! thin-crust 😀 and michee got some pasta dish… the small pizzas were… small. and the large was… small. *sigh* but we were full-ish after another pizza. lol…

since michelle doesn’t sing, and dave probably wouldnt, and i dont think i’d feel comfortable singing in front of a bunch of strangers (it’d be an open-bar type of karaoke)… we decided to head back to bar alex! whee.

we get there and the back of the bar, by the couches, were taken over by may’s (alex’s fiance) co-workers, who all work at a candy store somewhere… and her mom! haha… the youngest was 19, and… older. lol. none of them were my type – -;… i’m very picky. may was the prettiest out of them all, and she’s taken. lol 😛

at some point we were all introduced and i can remember……… miki, yoko, ayana, mori, and may… 0.o o well… some dangerous questions flew by though o.o… michelle asked them how old we look and we’d range in the teens. then they asked us! and… dave and i just sorta… kept silent, let michelle handle it. good job michelle!

i drank an ‘oasis’ and ‘pirates’ drink, both were pretty good, but the second oasis tasted a bit different 0.o iuno. o well. michelle went crazy over the white russians… too bad i dont do coffee. o.o…

for some reason, david called alex, masao-kun, and apparently alex was given a japanese name… hahaha, and he answers to it too, it’s pretty crazy o.o! michelle asked may and her friends to give us some japanese names and david ended up with osamu, michelle with risa or keiko… and i’m keisuke. 😀 i’ve thought about names and if i have three kids, i’d have their names start with (oldest to youngest) K or C, A, and R… a reflection of my own siblings as well as my best friends, it’s a cool coincidence so, that’s my ‘plan’. i’ve liked the name kyou or kyousuke, or somethin like that but iuno how that name would fare in canada. o.o… meh.

anyways. may and her friends then asked us (michelle) to give them english names! they all seemed to go crazy and laughed a lot with approval. there was a…. amanda, jenny, becky, elizabeth, ashley, and a katherine. lol… it was a good night. when we told may that we’d be leaving the next morning she said to come back! see us again! haha… michelle doesn’t plan on coming back to japan until after 5 or more years, wants to see other places first… but i think i’d come back (if my life allows me) after a couple of years, with other people, maybe leon! since he missed this part of japan :P… hahaha. meh. we’ll see where my life takes me…

and… since drinking and driving can be fatal in japan (if you get caught, u’d get fired. just like that), david called up a daikou, which is a service offered in japan and korea, iuno bout other places, where a driver would come to where u are and drive your car back to your house, and there would be a follow car to take the driver back. and it costs a lot less than a taxi. our daikou was an old man, and the follow car seemed to be… his wife? iuno. its possible – -;.

but a good day, good night, good memories. thanks dave! 😛

at kikuchi gorge, we were ‘allowed’ to walk into the ravine, and this is me by a cliff by a small waterfall, with my new bag!

…another adventure all in itself, i’m driving. in japan. (with david’s car)…

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