What that boring title means is that I am now on my way to Kyushu, where I'll be until sometime Sunday afternoon or evening. At which point I go back to Hiroshima for a day at Miyajima.
This was my first night bus trip, and trip it was. I was worried about timing but I had plenty of time to spare in Shinjuku. The bus ride was about 10 hours, including 15-20 minute rest stops every two hours. There were several other gaijin (foreigners) on the bus, and the two guys behind me kept their reading light on most of the night. Even after they fell asleep. Needless to say I didn't get much sleep Saturday night.
However, things were quite bright yesterday. Literally. It was a beautiful morning, and I got some great pictures. The focus yesterday morning was on the Atomic Bomb landmarks an museums. I started at the Dome, visited the Peace Park, and then radiated out from there, hitting a few of the buildings that were left standing after the bomb hit.
It was time for something a bit more cheerful in the afternoon. I attended my first Japanese baseball game, and it was a lot of fun. I believe the Hiroshima Toyo Carp's ace pitcher (Maeda) was on the mound and he threw eight innings of shutout ball. He took a no hitter into the seventh, though he walked a batter in the first. One of the foreign ball players hit a two run homer to seal the Swallows' fate as the home team won 3-0. As you may have read, Japanese fans are really into the cheering part of the game. They all have noisemakers to clap and sing with - and they have several different songs including a theme "fight" song. In the seventh inning, they sing a song and then release a bunch of balloons. At the end of the game, everyone stays and cheers as the game's heroes Are interviewed on the field. It's very interactive. I'll tell you more later (especially since I am going to another game this Sunday).
I was exhausted, thanks to a lack of sleep, the heat, and the movement from the morning, and almost fell asleep at the game. Maybe I did fall asleep for a minute. I was that tired. But I had to wait until after 9 to "check in" to the Internet cafe that would be my hotel, so I could stay until 9am (package prices are by the hour or groups of hours). So I went to Round 1, a chain o entertainment venues I wrote about before. For less than I couple thousand yen I sang karaoke, had all-you-could-drink sodas, and some chicken nuggets. (Chicken nuggets out here are made from real breasts and aren't processed. Maybe tenders is a better word? They're about the size of large nuggets though. And it was off to the I-net cafe for the night! Originally I was going to stay in a capsule hotel but I couldn't find the one I was looking for. It seems to have gone out of business very recently as I can't find any mention of its demise and it still exists on google street view. Sleeping in a net cafe has its ups and downs. It was relatively cheap and they had a shower and free drinks and Internet (of course). But the booth was a little too small to stretch out fully, and it was pretty warm in there. I went to WIP in Hiroshima, and I know different companies (and even different locations) have slightly different setups. Tonight I'll be in a Manboo in Kokura (KitaKyushu) and I'm hoping it's similar to the Omiya location I am familiar with.
Anyway, I got enough sleep, even of it wasn't perfect. This morning: rain. I was determined, though, so I was off to a garden set around a lake, followed by Hiroshima Castle and a temple. All were very nice, but then I hit the tracks and traveled to Iwakuna. Iwakuna is home to a very famous bridge and a castle. They also are supposedly known for their sushi, which looked like giant bloke of layered rice and fish. I passed on that. The rain finally stopped in the late afternoon and the sun tried to come out, but it never found a hole. At least tomorrow should be nice! I'm going to back to back amusement parks the next two days. There is a threat of rain but I am really hoping it doesn't ruin the trip! Fingers crossed.
So here I am on my local train to Kokura. I missed the 5:45pm train so I had to wait for the 6:49. I'll be in Kokura in about three hours and it's off to bed! I'm attaching some pictures from the trip; more to follow eventually.