Chuo Shimin Pool Mae
Nagano House, Fukuoka

Today I visited Tamura party. This is my last scheduled party! I'll have to tally up and see how many I've done.

I made lemon pepper pasta for the Nagano family. Dad really liked it, but I went too hard on the pepper and it was a little spicy.

We walked down to the park with the dog.

Nagano House, Fukuoka

Yesterday was my last day in the office. Bye everyone!

On the way to futsal, Kabasan and I stopped at Canal City so I could get some new shoes; my old ones were in tatters, not being designed for mountain climbing. I got the most awesome pair of Merrells ever. Seriously, they are orange. Also probably the most expensive shoes I've ever owned.

We went to futsal, played without AC until midnight, then I stayed at Kaba's place. Oh yeah, a drink machine ate a thousand yen bill.

Today I came back here, and helped with yardwork. We went to costco, but they were out of lemon pepper. They had lots of meat, though. Takoyaki dinner, anime and chinese checkers.

Hotel Nakasato, Nagasaki

And I'm off! A week long jaunt around Kyushu. I've hardly prepared at all, all I know is that I want to get as close to the eclipse as I can.

I took a bus from Hakata here to Nagasaki. I went to the atomic bomb museum, the remembrance hall, the hypocenter, and the peace park. I hadn't realized it, but I've visited three labo parties not too far from where it went off. I could say a lot on this subject, but I'll save that for another day.

I came back to the Nagasaki station area around seven, and went to the ryokan I had called and reserved with this morning. I got there, and the lady said they were all full. I explained I reserved with them and asked where I was supposed to stay. The lady went downstairs for a while then came up and walked me to a business hotel who's owner she knew. Mike the dog!

This hotel wasn't mentioned in my lonely planet book, which is why I didn't come here first, but man am I glad I landed here. For what usually gets me a bunk in small eight person room, I got my own tatami room with a TV and everything. Nice. I hope I can land a few more places like this this week.

Minshoku Kajita, Kumamoto

Today I headed out of Nagasaki by train, and headed out to the Shimabara peninsula. From there, I took a ferry to Kumamoto port, and a bus to Kumamoto. It took a little bit of dancing to get here to this ryokan, but I found it eventually. I spent the rest of the day tromping through Kumamoto Castle, its grounds, and the shopping arcades of central Kumamoto.

Now I've been in all three of the "best three" castles in Japan (Osaka and Nagoya being the other two). How about that.

The weather is looking really iffy for the eclipse. Even if I had gotten a ticket reservation to one of the islands, it looks like most of them are pretty cloudy. Kagoshima at least has a "partly cloudy" going for it, so it's still up in the air. Fukuoka, Nagasaki, and Kumamoto are gonna be totally under clouds (along with most of the rest of Japan), that sucks for a lot of people.

I wonder if I'll be able to get my mitts on a filter so I can actually look at the eclipse directly. It seems that a lot of the ones being handed out have been recalled, as someone apparently forgot to actually put the filter in some of them. Maybe I'll be able to hit up a hardware store for some welding goggles.

Tamaya Youth Hostel, Ibusuki

Went from Kumamoto to Yatsushiro, to Hitoyoshi, to Yoshi... uh... yoshisomething, to Hayato, to Kagoshima, to Ibusuki. Met a few similarly-minded people on the train.

Did expensive laundry.

Fujin-kaikan YH, Miyazaki

I saw an eclipse! It was really cloudy, but (what was left of) the sun managed to poke through a few times, including at maximum (about 97.7%). I went down to a place called Flower Park, with a few friends I had made, there was an event there. I got glasses there, too.

The bus was too full to return on, so we took a taxi to yamakawa station. Atsuro, a high schooler from Kansai, stayed with me until Kagoshima. I kept on to Miyakonojo and then here to Miyazaki. I met a girl, Yuri, on the train who could fold these crazy double cranes, and had a fascinating trick involving pulling apart two straws.

I spent more than an hour walking the area looking for a food market. Even in central Miyazaki, the best I could find was a couple convenience stores. Lots of nightclubs, though.

Beppu Guest House, Beppu

I met Luis and his wife Belinda today. He's an airline pilot from Mexico, working domestically in Japan. Great couple.

I hung out in Nobeoka for a few hours, because there weren't many trains. While walking through the town I came across a shrine way up on a hill, with a neat view.

On the next train I met up with Yuri again, she stayed on past the stopover in Saiki all the way to Oita. I kept on to Beppu. I'll stay here for a day or so. Meeting cool people left and right.

Beppu Guest House, Beppu

Today I went to an onsen nearby. Explored Beppu, did laundry. I went to the Sea Hell, an azure pool belching out tons of steam and sulfur. Also went to Hoyoland, a mud spring.

In the evening I hung out at the matsuri. Yay matsuri.

Nagano House, Fukuoka

Today I came back by bus. In the evening I went out with my host dad's hospital staff. Fun party, I guess. Geez it's late.

Nagano House, Fukuoka

Went shopping today. We watched Kintaro, I think my host dad liked it ok.

Nagano House, Fukuoka

I mailed a box. It was ridiculously expensive.

I got a haircut.

I went to a neighborhood bar called "fujisan" with my host dad. Tried a few more varieties of booze. Still doesn't taste that good.

Watched Laputa. It's a much better movie than I remember... I'd say that it's partially because we weren't watching the english dub.

Nagano House, Fukuoka

Holy cow, Yutsubo Camp.

Nagano House, Fukuoka

Sometimes life is just plain awesome.

Today I went out with the college mates from camp. We explored Tenjin, went bowling, and had dinner. I'm going to miss them.

Nagano House, Fukuoka

And sometimes less so. Oh well.

New City Hotel, Shinjuku

Bye, Kyushu!

Train ride went smooth. Went to shibuya.

Ishida House, Matsudo

Today we took all the kids to the airport and saw them off. Now I'm hanging with the Ishida family, and I saw the Yokoo family too.

There's supposed to be an eclipse today, but I'm not sure when and where. Also, Happy Birthday Linc, sorry, no internet with which to call.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Stopped at Akiba on the way to Nagoya. Picked up a lot of the cool stuff I'd been missing in Kyushu.

Everyone in my past host families is doing great, it's nice to see them again.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

We went to a movie! Pokemon 12, it involved time travel, greeks, and lots of inarticulate ultimate pokemon.

Played legos! Made dinner! Yay.

Yokoo House, Matsudo

Rode back from Nagoya today. The Goto family is out of town again, so I'm staying with my old host family from three years ago. This time I got to see Naoya, he's grown a lot, now he's as tall as I am.

Felt the earthquake, gotta say that's the longest one I think I've felt. It lasted at least a minute. The Japanese agencies reported 6.9, the USGS is reporting 7.1... either way, the epicenter was off the coast a bit, so I don't think anyone got hurt.

New City Hotel, Shinjuku

This is my last entry in Japan.

This morning Naoya's lacrosse practice got cancelled because of the torrential raining. I went into shinjuku, tried to cancel my cell plan, and did not succeed within the time allotted. I did close my bank account, and I had a wonderful exit interview. After that, I gave the cell another shot, and got it closed though it took a while.

Went out to dinner with Ariel and everyone. Ariel is getting relocated to a new office in Sacramento! Yay! Drank a little bit of sake. bleah.

Wandered around Shinjuku with Katie and Coral, until we ran into Janet and a couple of the Koreans. Later Emma showed up too.

Now we're at the hotel. I fixed my PSP, and am damn proud of myself. Goodnight!