I'm gonna skip down a bit from the latest news. I was going to tell a bit of the story of our trip in Kagoshima. Come to think of it, I was gonna just omit the details, but I'll go over it briefly.
Took the bullet train to Kagoshima and went immediately by bus to the pier from which we would later leave on the oceangoing ferry to Kikai. We had been told that there were coin lockers for storing stuff there and so we wanted to leave our luggage locked up there so we could explore Kago a little bit. Once we got there, we found that the lockers were a bit too small. D'oh! We were (miraculously) able to get our smallest suitcase in one and my laptop bag in another, leaving two big bags and a guitar. So after some deliberation, we decided to run the risk (which is low in Japan) of leaving the bags unlocked. On top of the lockers there was some stuff and a way to obscure the bags partially, so I rearranged the stuff on top and left the bags there. A bit nervous, we left and went to the Tenmonkan district, which is an open-air mall kind of place in Kago City, but it has a cover. It is comparable to some European malls I have seen (such as in Paris). After walking around there (w/ my guitar on my back) we returned to the pier and found our bags undisturbed. Praise God! We arrived at 5:15 pm, ready for the 5:50 pm. However, once we arrived, we found, to our horror, that the sign read "Okinawa line, 4:50 pm departure." Uh oh. Aubrey darted downstairs and asked the ticket window agent, who bolted outside and then motioned frantically for us to run outside. I was on the 2nd floor w/ all the stuff, so I got it down as fast as possible and we ran outside, trying not to dump the bags over too badly. We barely made it onto the ship (which was about 30 seconds from pulling up the stairs for boarding the ship). Once again, praise God!
We found the ship old but not too disgusting. We put our stuff in the sleeping room and tried to kill time by exploring a bit and eating supper. Bedtime for us came at about 9 pm and we tried to sleep on mats on the floor in a room where the light never was turned off. Somewhere in the middle of the night, the ship started really rolling w/ the ocean waves, so I was lying there, trying to relax and go w/ the flow, as it were. I slept little that night and Aub slept a little more, though neither of us slept much (and I was wearing earplugs and a blindfold!)
We finally arrived in Kikai and went to our home. Aub took a nap and had to go to work (poor thing) and I tried to stay up, but ended up spending most of the day asleep in bed, trying to get over the feeling of seasickness that came on me after I got off the ship.
Let's just say that the ship passage was a rather unpleasant way to spend 11 hours!
In the interest of continuity, I'll stop this post here and post some of the relevant pictures from the above story.