Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Kagoshima by the light of the rain-clouded sun

Next morning, Aub took her flight to Kikai so she could work that day. I took the bus back to Kagoshima City and was just walking around. I had seemingly lost one of the keys to my storage locker, so I went back to Erica's house to look for it, only to find it in another pocket of my suitcase. Of course - that fit our last 24 hours well. But at least I found it!
So I was walking back to the center of the city when I was greeted by a Japanese fellow taking the same sidewalk and wearing a backpack. He introduced himself as a Japanese-American, had an accent but was perfectly understandable, and his stories were fascinating. Turns out he's a highly seasoned traveler. He's been on the road since August, when he took:
-Amtrak from Oakland, CA to Denver
-Bus to Chicago
-Bus to NYC
-Airplane to London
-Bus, ferry, bus to Paris (which I have done)
-Night train to Italy (which I have also done)
-Ferry to Croatia (nope, haven't done that)
-Bus to Zagreb
-Bus/train to Sarajevo (!)
-Bus/train to Turkey
-Bus/train to Georgia
-Bus/train to Baku, Azerbaijan, where he was denied a visa to enter Turkmenistan (he has a US passport)
-Flight to Tashkent, Uzbekistan
-Train to Kazakhstan
-Train into China from the western border
-Train to Shanghai (he wanted to hang out in Central China but it was too cold by this time and he didn't have a heavy enough coat)
-Flew back to San Jose for his sister's funeral
-Flew back to Osaka
-Ferry to Okinawa
-Ferry to Kagoshima
and the guy's not done yet. That's just messed up.
He had many amazing and fascinating stories, a lot of good insight into Japan/American relations from WW2 and also Japanese/Japanese-American relations. After talking for a while (and postponing my lunch date w/ a French guy I had met 2 weeks before in the same city), it became obvious to me that this guy had made an idol out of travel. Which is one of the more interesting idols out there, I have to admit.
At any rate, I challenged him w/ the Gospel and he said he travels too much probably to take it too seriously, but you know, his choice. Craziness.
Anyway, I'd say he was easily the most interesting acquaintance I've made so far on this jaunt. The vulgar French-Canadian running an exporting business out of Tanegashima that I met in Starbux in Kagoshima falls now to a distant 2nd. They have sthg in common, though - seems they were one-time acquaintances. The Canadian guy doesn't respond to my email and this Japanese-American gentleman doesn't do email and didn't seem too enraptured by the idea of staying in contact.

Later I had lunch w/ my new French friend, Michel, and he seemed genuinely glad that I had come to see him, so I hope that we can continue to cultivate that friendship later on.
I got fairly wet in the steady rain, but got on the ferry that night w/o further incident and crashed around 7:45 pm.
I'm tired b/c I then had a full day (Tuesday), had 3 classes, was still tired from walking around so much the previous 3 days, and then went to basketball practice on Tues night.
So don't ask me to do any running for the next coupla days.

Here, have some pics.

1st is me in Starbux in Dallas on my way to Houston, enjoying my first cup of costly brewed happiness.

2nd is Bobby and me in Starbux 5 days later, enjoying more costly brewed joy.

3rd is my family and me being goofy. We wanted to take a pic that looked like the album cover for an alternative band. I think we have talent.

4th is the Osaka Castle from closer up.

5th is a kid playing a drumming video game in a Kagoshima arcade. Ridiculous. If you zoom in, you can see that he's made 169 consecutive drum strokes so far w/o a miss. Think he practices sometimes on this game?

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