Iki

July long weekend! We went on a trip to Iki, an island in Nagasaki. The island is famous for Alcohol, beaches and things shaped like monkeys, so pre-trip anticipation of good times were high, and Iki did not disappoint.

We took the ferry on saturday morning, picked up rental cars and after setting up our tents headed to beach number 1!

Spent the afternoon swimming, unsuccessfully snorkling, exploring, trying to do cartwheels and eating strange flavoured potato chips.

If Iki has a downfall, it’s its lack of places to eat. Every restaurant we tried either had no space for 10 people or was closed. We ended up at a curry and beef bowl restaurant with mediocre food for dinner, but had a great time the rest of the night. The next morning started with bang after we found the number one tourist attraction on Iki.

Saruiwa: A rock shaped like a monkey.

From the northern end of the island you can catch a short ferry to a smaller island with a beach and nothing else. It was gorgeous. Beautiful beach, clear blue water, it was hard to believe we were still in Japan.

We returned, extremely sunburnt, from this island and found the only grocery store on the island and bought enough meat to have our own BBQ at the campground. Yakisoba, grilled veggies and delicious meat.

It was a wonderful weekend and I’ll likely post more on Iki later, haven’t organized my photos yet, but posting to appease some dearly missed friends!

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Saying Goodbye

It has been a crazy week here, getting ready to leave Japan. Goodbye parties, packing parties, cleaning parties etc..

Today I leave Chikugo! I don’t have anything eloquent to say but it’s been a great year, and I’m so glad I was lucky enough to be placed here and meet the people I have.

Goodbye Jutaku!

寂しい!

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Introducing Anpanman

Japanese popular culture. World renowned for Anime, Pokemon and Karaoke, and now, for Anpanman.

Anpanman, my favourite new pop culture phenomenon, is a superhero made of bread. His head is made from the popular treat Anpan, a bun stuffed with red bean paste.

He was created by the Japanese writer, Takashi Yanase. Takashi created him as a superhero that could also feed people after he dreamed of Anpan while serving as soldier in WWII.

He is by far the most popular children’s character in Japan, and with good reason. He and his friends – Shokupan man (white bread man), Currypan man, and Melonpannachan (Melon bread girl) save the world every episode from the evil Baikinman (germ man).

After a long day of stopping whatever Baikinman was planning, Anpanman often feeds the victims of Baikinmans crimes with pieces of his own head. Don’t worry dear friends, because as soon as Anpanman returns home, his head is replaced with a new one baked by Uncle Jam.

I recently visited the Anpanman museum in Kochi, and it was crazy. Hundreds of toddlers running around screaming ‘ANPANMAN!!’ I am bringing home one of his comics translated in English, and am so excited to share it with the uninitiated. A superhero. Made of Bread!

How to: take the JR to Tosu-Yamada, and then take the Bus to the museum. You can’t miss the bus, it is painted all over with Anpanman characters. It only leaves twice an hour, costs 600 yen and is 25 minutes long, but it’s well worth it for this hilarious slice of Japan.

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100 posts: A look back with 7 Links.

Looks like this is my 100th post. I can’t believe that I have posted so many inane ramblings about my life in Japan, but it is true. Andrew from Unframed World nominated me to participate in the 7 links craze in the travel blogging world, and although this is less of a travel blog than a ‘stuff I did yesterday while living in Japan blog’,  in celebration of 100 posts, I will.

My most beautiful post:
I’m going to have to go with this post about eating sushi in Shimonoseki. So much beautiful fish.

My most popular post:
This post, which consists of a video of Daniel Radcliffe arriving at a girls school in Japan received four comments – two from me, which officially makes it my most commented.  I’m not savvy enough to use any other method to decide my most popular post, so this will have to do.

My most controversial post:
Fortunately my blog lacks controversy almost entirely. I suppose I have to choose this post, in which I talked about the delight that is fried mashed potato croquettes, and my friend said they looked like Chicken Nuggets.

My most helpful post:
Forget most, this is my only helpful post. I included some simple Japanese phrases at the bottom of this post, and it may be the only post where any real knowledge can be gained by reading my blog.

A post whose success surprised me:
This post about the joy of Kaiten Sushi marks the first time someone I don’t know in real life commented on my blog, which certainly surprised me!

A post that didn’t get the attention it deserved:
Any attention at all is more than I usually expect, but this particular post is one of my favourites, so I’ll throw it in here. It chronicles our misadventures on the great wall, including some pretty sweet light photos.

The post I am most proud of:
I am most proud of this post, about cycling the Shimanami Kaido, not because the post was particularly good, but the accomplishment of finishing the route without wimping out and taking a bus.

Well that’s that! I realized this is a post devoid of pictures, and no one likes blog posts without pictures, so here’s a gratuitous photo of a float from last weeks Yamakasa festival.

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Happy Hands

It’s the little things that I will miss most about Japan.

For example, my sweet tap penguin. The tap in my bathroom is connected to the toilet, and this little guy waves his arms every time the toilet is flushed.

Good times in the bathroom!

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Elegance

This couple at Nagasaki’s Sofukuji temple was so fashionable. I love her green skirt!

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