What is he doing all the way over there ? [05]

And here comes the next batch of words mostly about a guy in a far-off country (well far-off, depends on where you are while reading this). Anyway ! Let's skip a pictureless day and go straight to...
Day 9 [07/05] : Saltwater

Another day at the beach !

This pretty much looks like the quintessential summer vacation picture from Japan in my mind. Maybe I'm weird, but it's like that.

We went to a nice small beach together with Takahiro and Pascale to enjoy the sunny weather. Nice and relaxed, even if uneventful for the most part (of course, I can't mention having to stay longer than expected because Takahiro managed to get water on his pants in a rather suspicious place... wouldn't be nice).

The beach in question. Beautiful AND without anyone else.

 We spent the second half of the afternoon doing some shopping and other mundane stuff, though we catched a glimpse of something unusual...

A belgian beer store !

And, as the evening drew closer and my stomach started growling, Pascale's friends from the International House took me to out to eat yakiniku. Don't know what that is ? There you go :

So. Good. Also, so. much.

The picture doesn't convey the main characteristic of this meal : during something like 2 hours, you're free to order as much meat (and drinks) as you want. And this meat being of the extremely tasty kind, you order a LOT, and end up completely full. For a meat-lover like myself, this was a real treat. Also, being in excellent company did help too !

Guess who's who : Alex, Toby, Bakari, Shin, Takahiro, Pascale, Robin, Claire, Manu, Sam, and yours truly. Thanks for the awesome evening, guys !

(Don't miss the second serving after the break !)


What is he doing all the way over there ? [04]

Well, no, you're not dreaming, this is finally the follow-up to my articles written when I was in Japan last spring. I'll try to dig up some of the more interesting stories from that time now almost lost in the mist of the past, mainly because SOMEONE is bugging me to see some more photos (also, sorry, but I'm going to skip a few days for which I don't have any picture)...

Anyway, if you remember, last thing I blogged about was going into Takahiro's family for a couple of days.

So let's start from there.

Day 5 [03/05] : Journey into the morn

We had a whole lot to do that day... After waking up quite early (for a vacation), we embarked, Takahiro, his mother, his brother, Pascale and I, into a car, a started our journey around the surroundings of Kumamoto by going to a viewing spot in the nearby mountains.

There were wind turbines there. Did I mention that I find those very pretty ?

Then, the next stop was at a spring. Photographs can't do it justice very well, but it was funny, as the water was coming out of the ground, through gravel. Bubbles ensued.

The spring was surrounded by a temple and a couple of buildings. Very relaxing atmosphere, and the weather was beautiful.

After praying at the temple, we were starting to get hungry. Not sure if there was a causality link, but anyway, we went to a nearby ramen shop where we had some finger-lickin' good ramen. We were told it was a "special" kind of ramen, but as to what made it special... That's still some kind of a mystery. But without delving further into the matter, we got into the car once more, for it was time for the "main event" of the day :

Yes, that's the crater of a live volcano. It's impressive. The smell is, too.

That was my first time seeing a live volcano, it's kinda humbling. That is, until the wind carries the awful smell towards you. If you're curious, take a sandwich with eggs in it, and leave it there for 10 days or something. It should give you a pretty accurate simulation.

Our noses (and lungs) were happy when we moved to another viewing spot, and then into a spa. Before you ask, no, I did not go to an onsen. That's just not for me... But walking around the complex, lost in a deep valley, between trees, was a very relaxing way to spend the end of the afternoon.

A view of the spa.

We had walked quite a bit during the day, and I must admit stopping for a while to dip your feet in hot spring water was a real treat.

Then, the time came to go back to Kumamoto, where Takahiro's family would join us for a supper in a nice restaurant. Well, to be honest, it was more us joining them seeing how we arrived late thanks to pretty hardcore traffic jams. The thing I'll remember of this supper is Takahiro's very extravert uncle, who amongst other things told me I used my chopsticks "in a very elegant way". Not sure it was a real compliment though.

Need I say I fell asleep pretty quickly that night ?