Festivals are huge in Japan and we were lucky to catch another one in Kagoshima. The Matsuri parade varies around the country but always seem to involve the carrying of shrines around the city. In Kagoshima the hotter climate influences the dress code (beware of partial nudity!). We watched the parades but the highlight for us was the drumming! Japanese drummers perform around the world and seeing them here I now fully understand the appeal.
Here are 2 videos so you can see the parade and the drumming too: Turn up the volume
Kyushu island where Kagoshima is located is the most Western part of Japan. Going south we spent a few days there before catching the ferry to Amami Oshima.
The area around Kagoshima has a couple of active volcanos. We visited Sakurajima, 10 minutes by ferry from Kagoshima and walked to the highest accessible point.
Our second stop on Kyushu was in Fukuoka, from where we will take the ferry to Busan in South Korea.
11 weeks in Japan!! It has been such a fantastic experience and given us some insight into the culture although without speaking the language we were limited. The list of things I’ve enjoyed would be too long but here are a few: the food (the sushi gets a special mention), the people who are kind and gentle and we’ve met many who’ve gone out of the way to help us, the cute cartoons everywhere, the 5pm song to test the tsunami warning system, the greetings and bowing, seeing friends from my time working with Park Hotel Tokyo, how it’s very advanced but also full of old traditions, the sense of respect (Paul who we met in Kinosaki got it right when he said that Japan still has the values from the 50s), the gardens and greenery, the beaches on Amami Oshima, the white gloves that taxi and bus drivers wear. I could keep going…
Sayonara! Sad to say goodbye but South Korea is bound to be interesting. In fact, we are a bit behind so while I’m writing this Nick is putting together the first post on Busan.