Kyou wa, Peter-san wa Doko?

Where's Peter Today?

18th Oct 2004: Day 12-- Kagoshima

Looking at the map and how long it took us to get from Hakata to Nagasaki, we decided the best thing to do would be to take the expressway as far as Kumamoto in the midlands of Kyushu and then take the coast road to Kagoshima.

We had a decent map of Kyushu but only in Japanese. I found it easier to gauge where we were on the expressway by looking at the names of the rest stops and service areas rather than the actual exits to towns. One exit looked much like another but you could more easily tell where you were by the service stations as the towns often had multiple exits (north, central and south, etc.).

Curiously, despite the road signs having junction numbers on them, the map didn't. This was quite a shock as all motorways in the UK are marked by junction number rather than name so that anyone can find the right exit by number alone.

Once we got to Kumamoto, we got off the expressway, counted our extensive financial losses (about £30) and headed off to the coast in search of something to eat! Our first couple of stops were fruitless and we drove around Yatsushiro, a sprawling sea port town looking for a nice restaurant in vain. It was that time between lunch and dinner when a lot of places shut. We settled for a selection of bento from the ubiquitous Lawson's convenience store. These places are a life-saver. Japanese "konbini" stores are always stocked with good things to eat and are cheap too--very handy if you're travelling on a budget.

Suitably recharged, we drove on towards Kagoshima and arrived again at dark and now in driving rain. Here I had no idea that Kagoshima was so big. I had this impression that it was a little seaside town. We arrived to find an elongated city that curved around the bay for quite a distance. I had no map of where the hotel was. I did have a photo of the hotel and knew it was on the sea front somewhere as the views from the window overlook the bay to the active volcano of Sakurajima. It was also distinctive for being a curved shaped building. We drove up and down the streets scanning… Then suddenly, there it was!

My catch phrase for the holiday "God favours the stupid because Lord knows they need the help." was really beginning to ring true! Someone really was looking after us.

We checked the TV and saw that super typhoon number 23 was out at sea and heading our way… What should we do?

We decided to think about it over dinner.

The Sun Royal hotel in Kagoshima is very popular with honeymooners. So much so that it had a touch of Vegas about it. There is a chapel in the front garden and numerous banquet halls. We looked at the menu and it appeared to be geared for fancy foreign dishes--which I suppose would be a novelty here. It had hyper-expensive French and Italian dishes in the region of £40-£50. We spotted a Japanese family chain restaurant (equivalent to a Harvester in the UK) over the road and made our way there through lashing wind and rain.

When we came back there still was the dilemma. Do we cut the trip short and fly back to Tokyo before the typhoon hits or stay and hope it veers away, like the last one? We ummed and ahhed at the weather maps in reception and then decided to sleep on it. Well, Antony decided to sleep on it. I decided to cogitate on the matter further in the panoramic onsen bath on the top floor of the hotel (only there wasn't much of a visible panorama in the dark).

Jump To:


Prepare For Take-Off

Day 1 -- Tokyo

Day 2 -- Mikawa-Anjo

Day 3 -- Nagoya

Day 4 -- Suzuka F1

Day 5 -- Kyoto

Day 6 -- Kyoto

Day 7-- Himeji Castle

Day 8 -- Kurashiki

Day 9 -- Hiroshima

Day 10 -- Nagasaki

Day 11 -- Nagasaki

Day 12 -- Kagoshima

Day 13 -- Kagoshima

Day 14 -- Tokyo

Day 15 -- Tokyo

Day 16 -- Tokyo

Homeward Bound

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