Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Middle of February

First, look at this map of where I live! To the left is Kagoshima city, my city, and to the right is Sakurajima volcano, an active volcano that has recently been sending a decent amount of ash in our direction. Ok, now check out the circumference of this volcano-island. The road that runs around its coast is about 36km ( approx 22.36 miles!).
Take a break from that geography lesson and check out today's funny use of English spotting! Haha, both of those toilet paper names are brilliant. I love the idea of wiping away the sweet memory of meals past with a toilet paper to remind me of their "sweet memory." As well as wiping with a toilet paper called "Fine Lady," because you know, there has got to be a toilet paper for fine ladies.
Why is the circumference of that volcano-island important? Because along with a hundred or so high school students, I ran around it! We started off at nearly dawn and what an oddessy it was! Despite the fact that I was Sporty Spice in a 1997 taping of the Spice Girl's "Wannabe" performed by Jennifer Good, Emily Burger, Serena Handley and myself, surprisingly, I have never quite lived up to any kind of "sporty" persona. However, I did my best to put on some kind of funny version of a "sporty" outfit and ran around that volcano in about 4.5 hours!
It was a gruelling march of many many hills, but the momentum of the downhill is what saved us.
Taking a rest near some giant daikon.
And they're off!
Running up that hill.
There were beautiful views!
This daikon (Japanese raddish) is the largest raddish in the world, weighing in at over 30 kgs! Also, there was lots of volcanic rock for sale which I would have purchased had I not had to carry it for the next four hours (though I suppose it was really light). When you are coming in the harbor the volcano-island you often can see lots of these floating rocks riding the waves.
I ran and ran, and looked at these oranges in little bags.
And some really nice dry grass in the sun.

I completed the run, ate a sandwich in a parking lot at the finish line and passed out on a sunny sidewalk, only to wake up with many of my students hovering around me, anxious and mocking looks on all their faces.

For the next two days I hobbled around like an old lady and had zero inclination to do anything vaguely sporty.
Yesterday, there was a trip into the Kirishima mountains to the north of me. Winding mountain roads that everyone drives impossibly slow on (excepting us of course) and fields of tea. The volcano was blowing ash in our direction creating a never-ending twilight effect that gave the day's adventure an epic golden-hour feel.
Catching a shot of Mt. Takachiho. In Japan it's acceptable to pull over and stop anywhere as long as you have your hazard lights on (or not). I often see a car stopped in the middle of the road because some lady has left it there to run in and grab a bakery treat.
There were many waterfalls, some with hotsprings gushing out of them, and some with fallen trees to traverse. It was wonderfully warm, that perfect weather for exploring unknown roads and listening to a good song.
Another day, after school, waiting for the bus.
There is a steep hill on the other side of the road and my students love to take each others' bags and throw them down the hill to pass the time waiting for the bus.


Rachel S said...

I really would have pegged you as more of a "posh." Also, I had no idea diakon radishes were so huge!

Jefe said...

Throwing backpacks of friends' down a mountain sounds like something I would do; I suppose it might depend on the friend.
Good job with the sporty accomplishment, you had me convinced.