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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



Summer Holiday 2006 - Day 5

Day 5!!!

Ibusuki Phoenix Hotel view of the bay of Kagoshima

08:40 - 2006/08/09

After running around like tourists for the first 4 days, our plan for today was to basically take it easy, and do the "city thing" in Kagoshima. This evening we were scheduled to take a night bus from 23:00 all the way from the south of Kyushuu to Oita in the north-east, arriving the next morning by around 07:00, so nothing too adventurous was on the cards today, just relaxation.

It was a great day though, although not so much to write about from a tourist perspective. After a big late breakfast with lots of orange juice, we left the hotel in Ibusuki at around 10:00, taking a cab ride to the station, where (conveniently!) some local alcoholic beverages and some not-so-local alcoholic beverages were available. I decided that we should sample a little of both, to keep us amused during the 1 hour train ride back up the harbour to Kagoshima city.

Southern Kyushu is famous for "imo-jochu", which is basically Japanese whiskey made from potatoes. It's pretty popular up here in Tokyo as well, but it was of course my duty to sample some nonetheless. You know, to pour some tourist money into the local economy.

After the train arrived in Kagoshima, we first found our way from the station back towards the city center, where we had come back on Day 1.

I mentioned at the time that Kana had spotted some "shirokuma" dessert which apparently originated out of Kagoshima. Kana loves her sweet food (and french fries too actually), and I wasn't adverse to having some either on a hot day like this, so after looking around the city centre and shopping malls etc. we found our way back to the shop which apparently started it all - the home of the polar bear dessert...

How about that... Of course, the dessert isn't quite that big - but still massive. We were having a late lunch around 14:00, so we had some ramen again (and I thought it wise to sample the lunch beer), before tucking into some of this fancy dessert. In the meantime, lots of people came into the shops and ordered shirokuma themselves, and despite being massive big things these kids were woofing them down pretty fast.

And then, it was our turn...

Yessireee, this was a big dessert, and a mighty tasty one at that. Having just had lunch, we decided to share.

Kagoshima is famous also as the place of Saigo Takamori. Anyone who saw the Tom Cruise movie, "The Last Samurai" may be somewhat familiar with this character, because the main Samurai character in that story was actually based upon Saigo, although the movie version didn't include any of Saigo's significant nastier points, like having a desire to go off and invade the Korean peninsula for political reasons.

This statue is the one of Saigo down in Kagoshima. There is another famous one in Ueno park here in Tokyo - obviously a man who had a lot of influence at the time.

Later that night around 18:00, we went to a recently released animated movie from Japan's equivalent of Disney, which had a nice theme song, but was otherwise pretty disappointing for Kana. I didn't really think it was that great either, but then my expectations were not as high, not having been brought up with the movies from this studio.

We then had a light meal at a Warawara restaurant (a cheap drinking / eating chain that you can find almost anywhere here in Japan) before heading to the bus station to get ready for our night ride.

When we woke up the next morning, we would be up on the other side of the island. Our next stop was Beppu, famous for hotsprings and stuff like that - the same as Rotorua in New Zealand. See you again!

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