Travel – Kagoshima

kagoshima004Our trip back [from Amami / Tokuno]to Kagoshima was by boat or to be more exactly with “A-Line” (Ferry)¹ my first trip ever on water.. And I totally love the smooth ups and downs…..makes me feel I`m sleeping on Totoros Belly


Luckily I could have a glimpse into one of the 1st class rooms. Add a kitchen and you have our 2LDK in Japan *sarcastic laugh* as for me I actually had booked the cheapest dorm -tatami-side-by-side- place, which I think is enough (you can walk around anyway) …it`s like a little hotel with reception, restaurant, places to sit etc. Very comfy I totally recommend the boat trip at least in one direction.

Kagoshima is lovely. A big city but I had the feeling it is less suffocating than Tokyo. If I had to stay for longer it would be on my top 3 list for sure. Why it`s not my first choice might be based on the fact you sleep right next to an active vulcano.  Also, the blog title rather be –24h in Kagoshima

»from ferry to hotel » to some 3h exploring the city » to Hotel / sleepover / and right to the airport after a delicious breakfast.

This area is famous for certain fruits and (as you can see on the pictures) for Kurobuta [berkshire pigs] – they still have a Tram system which reminds me of Germany a LOT. As for the hotel I stayed, it was the first timeever– that I felt like a place offers “european sanitary standard” ; Japanese tend to be quite dirty especially about dust and mold.
⇒ Totally recommend ‘Richmond Hotel(if you are lucky as me you can catch one of the 11. floor corner rooms for only 50 bucks)

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[A-line Ferry information]

¹Important: ^there are TWO companies providing rides every other day, so basically you can come/leave islands every day!  Be aware of the ‘timeshift’ as one ride from/to kagoshima/okinawa and vice versa includes a change of dates (made me miss my boat once!)

Health – Hatonomorihachiman Shrine

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What a name! I ‘ignored‘ this shrine a lot last year, passing by without even looking more closely. But yesterday work brought me and my husband there and we took the chance and enter the shrine area.

It is quite small but has a very calm and beautiful atmosphere [one of the reasons why there is this glass building for Weddings and other celebrations]  Winter is finally over and the first colors appear. I`m sure you won’t regret a visit (as the area where it is located is also famous for being so different to Tokyo — it`s a bit upper class (similar to Aoyama or Daikanyama) and you can see many unique buildings and eat unique food.

 


[鳩森八幡神社 Hatonomorihachiman, Sendagaya]

Travel – Tokuno Island

tokuno020Though this island is smaller than the one I have been before (see this post: Amami), it definitely feels bigger. Here, again, I recommend to get an international drivers license to be able to rent a car, which you need if you wanna see more than your hotel. As for my stay I was lucky – my husband staying for business provided me free stay and him being the driver – [Part THREE here]


Many foreigners are more familiar with –Okinawa[the ‘last stop’ of your island-hopping trip] which might be nicer in general but Tokunoshima’s flair is based on the fact, that I was the only “western” person wherever I went.
»By ferry it takes quite a while from Kagoshima and I definitely recommend the propeller-adventure from Amami to Tokuno with JAL/JAC. (“US-President visits foreign country descending the airplane stairs” – feeling included)
Our resort were we have been staying is one of those relaxed “we are all family” kind of types. If you are here during winter like we were, you might be sharing this facility with a bunch of Korean and Japanese marathon athletes, who come here to train as the mainland is way too cold for such activities [it`s not bathing weather but still shirts and a light jacket does the deal, as well as dipping your feet into the crystal clear ocean.]

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The food is great, there is a Sento (public bath) and Sauna, as well es direct access to •Y0nama Beach•  where (again a big plus for off-season holidays) you have all the good view for you alone.  The resort itself is located right next to the airport (and within walking distance in case you don’t feel like renting a car) whereas the “city center” is on the east-side, an 1h drive through fields of sugar cane and bull farms [2 landmarks] of this island. There you can enjoy delicious food in Izakayas, and for the penny pinchers you got some Family Marts as well.


We actually spent a great day at one of the sightseeing spots called “Spectacles Rock”  I was more than surprised with the actual impact this place had on me. Not only have we been the only ones there, but the washed-out cliff scenery was more than stunning.
» Strange plants, mysterious shells, heart-shaped waterholes, and the feeling of being a superhero  ↔ I do love to talk but I believe pictures might deliver the message better:



I know my pictures might represent maybe 30% only of its actual “impact” —- I mean, hello!? You are practically sitting on a tiny island within the big blue ocean (well,  it`s maybe just me, who grew up in southern Germany, to develop such feelings)

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I could sit and sit and stare at the ocean.
Listening to the sound of  waves as they come and go.
» Damn, this is LIFE !!!«


Travel – Germany 2.0

tokuno014For those who might not have read about it yet. Me and my husband were in Germany (to show him my home country and introduce him to my family at least once) so that post is quite ′touristy′ showing him around . I had to go back home [the same year] once more, staying for quite a long time…


My grandma has early stages of Alzheimer¹ and it was more like a –work trip– than real relaxing holiday. But I do enjoy my home country [at least for a short time it is bearable] sadly in May it has still been freaking cold and this time in October, even more. I basically went back to basic there so pictures are limited. One “new place I discovered `[thanks to my lil bro’s moving house] is here – Donau (danube) -River the biggest Plus of southern Germany  -NATURE – (right beside you or direct access anytime) And the air is like fresh as a newborn.

It is one of my goals in life to at least have enough money to maintain this “jumping countries” – it keeps me mentally stable and friendships can stay alive. Though, sometimes… it is hard to be a homeless parasite, all traveling.  • I feel so comfortable everywhere, but only over a short period of time. There is this urge to not settle down, keep moving……money runs low so I worry if I end up as a depressed social welfare street whore. Nobody knows, but as long as my purse says –do it I’ll never stop moving, ever !


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¹ She still knows how to enjoy life and we keep “drinking” our daily share of high% (Germany is well known for liquor made of fruits! Totally worth buying!)  

Sidenote: In Bavaria this culture is called “schapsln” (the word itself is the -verb- of  Schnaps = liquor and means “to drink Schnaps” – but it is more an expression of “feeling” -enjoying this heartwarming drink together with family or friends as an act of sharing a tiny little moment where all sorrows and worries vanished and people enjoying the mere -being together-   [thus it already implies that it has nothing to do with  “drinking/getting drunk”]

Travel – Amami Island

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[Sidenote¹: Especially for ‘islandhopping‘  you board a 15-seat propeller tiny kind of thing.
Amaziny/Scary
at the same time for first-timers like I have been.]

To escape the cold of Tokyo I decided to visit my husband, who was on some remote islands near Okinawa for business. [» Jump to: Travelfacts]” Destiny seems to support such decisions of mine, as I could catch a 40 bucks flight from Tokyo to Amami Island. My husband was on Tokunoshima so I changed plans, stayed here 2 nights and then took another 30min flight [due to heavy weather conditions no ferry was scheduled] heading for his direction. [follow up post TWO and THREE]


Amamishima welcomes you. People talk to you even you didn’t asked for help. Staff is friendly. I feel they are not afraid of foreigners as people usually are in Tokyo (staring at you, keeping a certain distance, trying to come up with broken english to answer your question which was in perfect japanese…we know these funfacts…)
Anyway its not an “island” island. Blue sea, yes. Beach, yes. But less touristic than you might have created your typical –island image- in your head.
For fun (and to save money) I stayed at some kinda brasilian-flair-”hotel” thing. Very nostalgic and old, but it has its charm and you hate it or love it. I do love it, already for its name “ Hotel California(and location is not bad at all either.)

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»Some impressions. I call it – the “industrial beach flair(surprised or not, the air is sooo fresh. Compared to Tokyo) And somehow it takes some time to realize – Mr. Donuts and AEON in front of your hotel – that you are actually on an –island in the middle of nowhere-Ocean.

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¹Travelfacts →^
Ferry: Kagoshima – Okinawa (different lines, some stop at every island)
» takes some 4-24h depending where you start/go
» sea is unpredictable and rides might get canceled on short notice
» cheaper than flights, quite comfy [mini-hotel style]
»  tickets can be reserved by phone and bought directly at port

Flights: Tokyo – Kagoshima/Amami (Vanilla Air so cheap) other islands served by JAL only
» takes some 30-120min depending where you start/go
» Island weather is unpredictable and flights  might get canceled/delayed on short notice
» much faster but also more expensive
» small airplanes ! (especially islandhopping is with propeller only)

Hotels: Quite rare and expensive
» try AirBnB or cheap (but less clean/comfy) hotels
» Island weather is unpredictable so bring an umbrella for sure
» There are convenient stores so you wont starve
» get your Japanese drivers license (rent a car) as buses are rare and taxis quite expensive

Travel – Disneysea

tokuno060…and there are those days where your husband turns into one of those cute “I wanna eat you uppets standing in front of you saying “wanna go to Disneyland tomorrow?”
Knowing he went there more than once, I didn’t wanna bother him too much with my urge to spend a more than cliché couple-day at this facility.

Japanese people know how to exaggerate in many ways, so do they at Disneyland/sea. Somehow this fantasy escape mini-country has the non-spoken rule of “go as a couple” not only for couples itself but also for friends, families, pets and whatnot.
[At this point I’m happy my hubby does appreciate my against the crowd” principle, which made us the coolest couple with the even better couple “outfit” represented by our 2 wedding rings


One thing which is cute and sad at the same time is his inability to take nice pictures. His smile in reality makes you fall for him within 2 seconds most, BUT on pictures he has this horse-smile….you laugh and it is adorable indeed but… —- OR — his serious face which is like too serious [people wont believe me when I tell them I fell in love with him because of his smile]

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»Disneyland Paris, 16 y/o  »Disneyland Tokyo 32 y/o – quite a gap. I was shocked how crazy people are about it and how prices went up (I believe he payed about 7000 yen for 1 ticket) you can stay the whole day, but food and drinks are expensive too. Good rides make you wait for hours, so we decided to go with the flow. And I had even more fun with those “childishsubmarine and dancing boat Aladdin rides. ♥

By bus from our (perfectly located home) it is a 50min ride – much better than train, and you are kinda able to relax after a veeery long –walking– day.