Last week I paid another visit to my dear island, Akusekijima. Here I am, sleeping on the ferry with my one true love, the New Yorker.
I woke up and took pictures of other people suffering the 12+ hour ferry ride. While Suki is off cruising in tropical waters on yachts, I was stuck in the middle of a grey, grey sea.
Class in the gym! We ran around throwing dodge balls at each other, yelling commands at each other in English: cry! sleep! jump! laugh! dance!
My students prepare for lunchtime. I have no idea why they are required to wear these outfits whenever food is involved. It's like there is some secret epidemic on the island that only they are susceptible to.
Grim school lunch.
I got off the boat and this 4 year old permanently attached herself to me for the next day. I also got off the boat with a massive fever and took a large handful of mystery pills so that I could function in the classroom setting. During one of my first lessons my cold medicine high hit hard, but luckily the schedule for the rest of the day was running around and yelling things in English.
So after school, riding my cold medicine high, I joined a gang of 3-6 year old kids and ran around the island. I hung out with these cows, hunted the island's wild goats and ate sweet potatoes in the bushes with the kids.
The island started reminding me of a trip to Big Sur... remember the ice cream? The burritos on the beach with the setting sun? Calling in to the radio station on the ride home?
Dramatic cliffs at Big Sur!
We picked up some familiar hitchhikers!
Ok, back to the island and me wandering around with a gang of kids.
I have been telling everyone that if I could only have a psychedelic experience here it would really give me some answers as to what I should do with myself and the future, etc. I am guessing this is the closest thing to a psychedelic experience that Japan will afford me... After cruising the island, I went back to the inn I was staying at and drank wine with the old lady who ran the place. I found that mixing cold medicine and wine really improved my language skills and watched a two hour soap opera with a group of construction workers, in complete awe that I could understand as much as I could. At the end of the show, when the main character's girlfriend was crying beside his paralyzed body, I surveyed the room and found that all of these men around me were crying and so I started crying with them, with the show, and with the old lady who was drunk on bad Japanese wine. Then I decided it was time to go to bed.
A couple weekends ago I went to a place that specialized in somen nagashi, which is a thin noodle that they put in a whirlpool of water on your table and you sort of just scoop it out with your chopsticks, dip it in a sauce and slurp it up.
Adding noodles to the whirlpool.
Scooping noodles. The best part about this place was that they had a lot of koi ponds and if you didn't finish your noodles you got to feed them to the fish!
I also visited a lake nearby that is famous for giant eels! Ew, sick!
I was told they don't eat the eels because they are too big, but that seems like a giant waste of eel. What do I know about eel though? The Lochness monster's cousin is supposed to live in this lake, and my friend told me that when he was little and lived by the lake, he saw its head poking along the shore. I'm not sure if I believe in lake monsters, in fact I specifically don't want to believe in them because I love swimming in lakes and they are scary enough without them.
I went to an incredibly beautiful Buddhist temple in the mountains