Saturday, 16 June 2007

Will and Ellies Trip Vol 1

Hi All,
Were missing you all so much and wishing you could be here with us.Here is a taste of what's happened so far;We were in Tokyo for a Week which was a bit overwhelmingly huge. Imagine the whole population of Australian packed into a city not much bigger than Sydney and then you have some idea of it all. We stayed with a fantastic friend called Anita and her 13 year old son called Christopher, this saved us a heap of money and they are really nice so it was good to catch up with them after not seeing the for a while.
After Tokyo we headed up to a place called Nikko where the see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil Monkeys are. This was Ironic because the next major port of call was Nagasaki (where the second Atomic bomb was dropped, for those of you playing trivial pursuit at home). Nagasaki was horrific. The museum was very hard to cope with but we both strongly recommend that you all come and have a look at it and Hiroshima one day.
After Nagasaki we headed further South to a small city call Kumamoto which had one of the nicest places we have stayed so far. The owner picked us up from the train station, carried our bags despite our protesting, gave us free tea and coffee and also droped us down the hill from the fantastic view available from the accommodation. All for $30 pp/night. In Kumamoto we went to an interesting castle that had a great view.
Then we went down to a place called Kagoshima, where Go Takamura is from (for those of you who know the Japanese exchange teacher at Dickson from last year) but we couldn't find him. From Kagoshima we went out to this really nice Island that has a big volcano on it. We went to a really nice outdoor onsen there that looked out over the ocean. Be both got to go to the same bath because everyone wear these Yakata (white robes). This was a good first experience of a Japanese Public bath for Ellie. I went into another where I actually had to take my cloths off in front of other men. Surprisingly it just felt normal, nobody was comparing each other. But I made sure I didn't bend down to pick up the soap.
From Kagoshima we got back on the express train back up to Hiroshima where the first atomic bomb was dropped. We went to the peace park which was a really nice place to celebrate peace. The Museum inside it is very confronting but well worth going to. We recommend that if you haven't been before you come to Japan and see Hiroshima. Its Ellie's favourite Japanese place so far. In the museum it was very even handed about why America decided to drop the bomb but it made it very clear no one should use nuclear weapons. We stayed in the International Youth House which is just next to the park, it was 60dollars/night for the two of us and fully kitted out. We tried to go to this baked potato restaurant but sadly it never seemed to be open.
Then it was off to Shikoku, where we stayed in Kochi a nice little place in the south which was really beautiful. It has an awesome Youth Hostel which was one of the cheapest places we stayed and also the place were we started this email. Kochi boasts a wonderful castle, one of the only castles in Japan which is still mostly the original building- most others were flattened in WW2 and rebuilt with concrete in the 1960s. We wished we had a bit more time to stay in KochiTragically our rail passes then ran out, just in time for us to arrive in Kyoto, where we are now. We are staying in a traditional Japanese wooden house, complete with tatami mats and a shower with green mouldy walls. We just spent the whole morning running around Kyoto searching for an ATM, so that we can continue to eat, drink and sleep under a roof instead of the park bench. Its been good to spend time in an internet Cafe.
Anyway we need to go and get see some more stuff around Kyoto before we head off to Osaka tomorrow so we will complete volume one ...however stay tuned there will soon be another report, thinking of all of you! Send this on to anyone who you think would like to see this but didn't manage to get it in our first round of sending.
Will and Ellie

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