Ok it may not be the best joke, but me and Carrie had been looking forward (for some time) to the moment when our Conservative Party jape could be unleashed on the unsuspecting Phil. Phil (the cheeky welshman, if you haven’t already gathered), barely reacted, much to our dissapointment. Still, the best Phil can come up with is ‘I’ve had the shrine of my life’- I’ll let you, the reader, decide how good that particular effort is.
Having got our joke out the way, we were free to enjoy what is officially one of the top three views in Japan, – the famous ‘Floating Torii’ on Miyajima. Bright and (far too) early that morning, I’d arisen, and half asleep made my way to Okayama where we set out on our 2 and a half our journey to Hiroshima. Trips to Korea and the Philippines, and too much wine and chocolate, mean I need to cut costs. Others do too, so we slummed it on the JR instead of getting the magical Shinkansen like last time.
Miyajima is very beautiful- there are deer wandering about, just like Nara, and the shrine complex was is striking, jutting out into the sea. As the back of our ticket-stubs declres, ‘the contrast of the blue sea, green hills and the vivid vermillion-lacquered shrine is breathtakingly beautiful’.
After wandering around the torii for a while, we decided to set off on what Carrie’s guidebook declared was an ‘easy’ walk. It wasn’t. Still, we had the dulcit tones of the welshman to inspire us, as well as two classics stored on my phone- Amarillo, and Ring of Fire. Although there were 6 of us in total, the Brits (me, Carrie, Phil) were entranced and inspired by Tony Christie, and were soon marching off up the mountain. It was a very satisfying walk, and reminded me of the mountains in China. However we didn’t have any water, which was very annoying. At the top was a fine view out across Hiroshima bay, and some big rocks that stopped directly above a precipice- again reminding me of Huang Shan and Tai Shan in China. Phil was a bit wary of going too close to the edge- I imagine the hills and valleys of Wales are tough for him too- but I, seasoned explorer that I am, had no problem with moving to the edge and hopping up and down on one foot.
Sunday was a chilled out day. I did some shopping in Okayama, and spent way too much money on such essential items as Lindt, tacos and European lagers. I joined the library too. Next weekend should be similarly laid back- a night out on Friday, a vegetarian feast on Saturday, and a beach festival on Sunday. Then the week after I’m off to Kyoto for three days to visit a friend. The major stress during the weeks at the moment is preparing for my JLPT Test; I was losing motivation, but Phil’s irritatingly comprehensive knowledge of Japanese verbs has given me a boost.
Steve’s Official ‘Top Three’ Views in Japan
1) Sunrise over a sea of clouds at Yataka-yama, Okayama-ken
2) The Inland Sea…probably my first view of it, from the Washuzan Highlands, overlooking the sea and the Seto-Ohashi Bridge.
3) The beautiful sunset from a temple in Nara-koen
Like Frodo and Sam, me and Phil stared out across the mountains at our eventual destination…
…before Frodo felt like moaning after still not finding a Vending Machine. If Lord of the Rings had been set in Japan, Frodo and Sam would’ve had no problem.