So what do you do on your first weekend once you’ve arrived in a completely foreign country to live? Explore of course. At least that’s what I decided. It was a “Go Big or Go Home” Situation and I didn’t want to disappoint.
On Saturday morning I woke up and just decided to randomly catch a Ferry to the Goto islands. What are the Goto Islands you ask? The Goto Islands are made up of 140 islands but there are five main ones: Fukue-jima, Hisaka-jima, Naru-shima, Wakamatsu-jima and Nakadori-jima. The interesting historical tidbit about the Goto Islands is back in time when Japanese people were embracing a Christian lifestyle it was illegal to be Catholic and the Goto islands was the last stronghold for Catholic people before it became legalized in the 19th century. There are many beautiful catholic churches throughout the islands and that is something I would like to do next time I come back.
The Ferry Ride Over: I arrived at the Ferry station around noon because I didn’t know exactly where I was going and how I was going to get there. No one could understand what I was trying to do so it took me almost 20 minutes to buy a ticket because I didn’t know how to ask for the main area of the Goto Islands. Thankfully a woman was helping me and she called her English teacher for me to translate what I was doing and where I was trying to go. I just love the culture here!
Shortly after I had got my ticket we began boarding so I guess I got there at a good time because I didn’t miss the ferry. When we boarded there were just 4 open nicely carpeted areas with blankets and pillows in stacks. Everyone took off their shoes, neatly placing them in lines in the pathway and then they grabbed blankets and snuggled in for a nap on the carpeted area. A group of older men were eating lunch while relaxing and I was just looking around in astonishment. In America you could never go to sleep with your purse lying around because someone would surely steal it. But not here. People were just setting laptops on the ground and falling asleep.
I just went along with them. I grabbed a blanket and laid down falling asleep shortly afterward. The Goto islands are small and quaint and I would love to go back. I will have to actually take my car next time so I can travel through the islands. Once the Ferry arrived we debarked and I started just walking around and exploring. There were some little shops open and at one of them they were selling ice cream and candy!
Arriving at the Islands.
It was sooo sooo hot out that it was insufferable. The humidity and heat here really is hard to bear after being in such milder climates all my life. Even 114 degree heat in the Middle East wasn’t as bad as this was. I found a small temple and walked up to it and then I just walked around the neighborhoods to observe. There weren’t a lot of people out an about in the heat so I stopped at a shop to buy some noodle salad and a few pieces of sushi. I ate out on the back porch of the shop and then headed back towards the Ferry station because I wanted to make sure I caught the last one back. Along the way I was walking by the water and realized how clear it was. I could see Sea Urchins down there laying on the bottom of the floor. They say there are white beaches here and at the ferry station is a picture of the beaches. I just didn’t have good transportation to get to them yet but I’m going to go back.
This is how clear the water is!
After waiting for the Ferry teller to open the window back up, I tried to buy a ticket back to Sasebo. It didn’t go well. Unfortunately I read the schedule wrong (I guess you can say that since I’m pretty sure I still can’t properly read the schedule even now) so I ended up renting a tiny room for $30 for the night. It had one tiny bed with an uncomfortable rice pillow, one small desk, and a shower and toilet, separated of course. One thing I have definitely learned is that the Japanese culture is not worried about the comforts of the world. Their couches are itches and their beds are stiff. They are also very tiny and may not have the same problems Americans do. haha. I had quite a restless night but I was up early and I walked back to the Ferry station to catch a carless Ferry (A ferry that only transports people) back home.
When I was walking back to the base from the station I also walked by a pet shop and just had to stop in to see all of the animals. They had all kinds of different birds. I loved it!