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kiting, diving, trippin' I ain't never been lost, just confused for a few days - Daniel Boone

Castles, Ball Games, Bike Rallies and Volcanoes

JAPAN | Sunday, 30 August 2009 | Views [1944]

Kumamoto castle

Kumamoto castle

Last weekend I got invited to to go along to a Baseball game between Japan's top two teams in Fukuoka. Why not? Never been to a ball game, and was not disappointed. Only knowing the most basic of the rules, I sat up there behind the guy who catches the ones that don't get hit (told I didn't know much about the game).....and had a ball! The local team won, the fans made a heap of noise, ballons and fireworks were let off, and then they opened the roof to get rid of the smoke. That was different!

This weekend I went for a drive south with the other guy I'm here working with to have a look at an active volcano that he hadn't seen since his days at primary school. We drove for three hours and watched the sun go behind the clouds more time than not, wondering if we were going to see anything. The road to the top was full of Sunday traffic as well as thousands of bikes on a rally for the day to Mt Aso - one of the world's largest active volcanoes......apparantly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2oje3eNySw

The bike riders were out on anything they could get up the mountain - and some didn't quite get there -, there was every manufacturer represented that I could think of and then some. Some had tiny ten inch wheels and some were used to deliver mail or pizza. Some even looked like they might float, but the place had a buzz and a lot of people were having a good day of it.

When we got to the top the sun came out, the wind blew from the east(we had the wind behind us), and we got a near perfect view of a crater full of green water spewing sulphur smoke. I was told that the last time this thing cleared it throat was over five years ago and the hundred sensors at the top would give you fair warning in any case. Which is why the emergency shelters were there......right?

After getting in on an orange light (for sulphur gas) and leaving just as the place was being cleared on a red light, we wound back through the bikes still trying to register and back in to Kumamoto city.

From here we found our way to Kumamoto Castle for a few hours of checking out ancient Japanese culture. This place had been rebuilt in 1960 or so, but it was a very well preserved site that had a lot of interesting history and stories about the place. An interesting few hours were spent and then a drive back to Kokura to finish off the last of this job before going back home to China.

Definitely looking forward to going home after only six nights at home in the last seventeen weeks. Gotta work on my mandarin again now....

Tags: bikes, castles, games, volcanoes

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