As you may recall, Kagoshima city is on the west side of Kinkoan Bay (that gray area on the left) and right in the middle of the bay is our resident volcano, Mt. Sakurajima. Recently the old Sak has been sending her ash our way (normally when she erupts all the ash gets blown to the East) and making quite a mess. Here's a clip of a more significant erruption a couple months ago.
It has ever ashed on us quite as heavily as it did this last time, and from the bus I thought in my post-workday haze that my bus home had descended into some kind of strange soupy smog cloud (did that idea seem so feasible to me because I grew up near LA?). As soon as I stepped off the bus I was covered in a thin layer of ash as was everything, everywhere.
Everyone had different ash protection methods.
Looking down a street it seemed like this must be what a light dust storm in the Middle East would be like, minus the part about being in the Middle East.
The Prius' were covered in ash!
Suit people sweep it up!
And then there was a field trip I took to the countryside with my second year students.
They didn't really seem to know how to interact with nature. Bugs were a big problem, as was crossing these wild rapids.
Eating snacks with some of my favorite students.
May 5th was Boy's Day. All over the countryside you see these carp hanging over rivers, blowing in the wind. I hear that there is a Chinese folk tale about a carp that swims up stream and when it gets past all the obstacles of the river it turns into a dragon. I also hear that the carp often symbolize each member in a family. I think they look real nice!
This shrine is at the foot of the hill that one of my schools is on and is a memorial to a student who was killed in a car accident. Every week the flowers change to match the countryside flowers that are in season.