Unfortunately we haven't been able to get online since our first day back from the trip!
Ok, so, these pictures are from a day we spent on Iriomotejima (jima=island). This Island has been dubbed as Japan's last frontier, and is 90% wild jungle. It is also home to Japan's "Yamaneko" (wildcat). Of course being Japan, the wildcat is quite miniaturized and the result is that it looks more like a common house cat. Haha...ooooh Japan. The land where EVERYTHING is cute.
Ok so our day went a bit like this...
We got up and were at the port by 8, where we joined an all Japanese speaking tour group. Someone was kind enough to handwrite the day's itinerary for us in English, so we at least knew where they were taking us! It was an hour ride to the island, and after disembarking, we hopped on a bus for another 40 minutes where it took us to the base of Japan's "mini-Amazon" river. We took a boat ride down the river into the jungle and then they let us out to hike. Of course, it was pouring rain : P
Needless to say, we were a little bit muddy by the end of the day!
Anyways, it was really great, and it really was like you were in the middle of the amazon. We got to see Japan's largest waterfall, and mangrove forests (which look reeeally cool).
This is a shot from the boat ride down the river. Even though the weather was crumby, the mist actually seemed to add to the scenery and the mood.
Welcome to the Lost World!
This is as close as we got to the waterfall. It was a pretty impressive site. Of course, once you've seen Niagra Falls, no waterfall ever looks big again. But it was really pretty!!
I tried to get Ian and the waterfall, but it just wasn't working for me.....
Ok, so when we got off the boat they gave us a time to be back by. We followed the pack all the way up to the lookout for the waterfall, but on our way back down we somehow took a different turn. We ended up totally separated from everyone but this other foreigner and his girlfriend. We walked and walked and ended up in the spot you see in the next picture. It was really cool, though we were quite confused as to how we got there. We continued along our way, but everytime that we thought we were back on track, something that we had definitely never seen seemed to pop up. We ended up making it back just 5 minutes late, but there was a point where I was starting to wondered if we were going to be stuck in the wild. Luckily the people we were following had some semblance of where they were....though I have always kind of wondered what I would do if I were stranded in the middle of nowhere.....
After we escaped the wild, we were taken to an awesome little Japanese restaurant for lunch. It was here that I was introduced to the most tasty dish.....tempura leaves. Haha I have no idea what it was exactly but it looked like they picked a leaf up off the ground and lightly battered it. Either way, it was delicious!!!
After lunch the tour continued to another beach...
Ian waited very patiently for the tide to come and take us away....
I'm in a boat!
When that failed, these guys where nice enough to give us a lift!
We were serenaded during the ride, by the driver playing the shamisen and singing what I guess were Japanese folk tunes. Everyone else seemed to know the words and joined in, giving the ride an extra touch of old-world magic.
Ahhh.....nice bath after a long day's work.
Actually by this time I was so muddy I was ready to jump in there with him.
Once again, leave it to Japan to make even the butchiest things look Cute.
(Yet another picture of Tara riding on the back of wild boar playground equipment.)
After a long day's work we headed back to our Minshuku and got all cleaned up.
This is the common room in the Japanese style hostel (minshuku) we stayed in. There was an ancient massage chair in this room, that felt kind of like being punched gently in the back. It was acceptably relaxing. The place was decorated mostly with artifacts (one hostel owner's treasures) which she found on beaches in the area. It's possible she dug up the massage chair from the beach also. She may have also found herself on the beach... she was a mysterious character with many a good suggestion about the island.
Unfortunately our travels where a bit restricted due to the rain, so we entertained ourselves by taking pictures alllll night. I realized as I was uploading my photos that probably about 70 percent of all my pictures where just of us amusing ourselves in restaurants.....
And with so many to choose from you'd think Tara might have been able to post a nice one of the Ian...
I love having my picture taken.
These shots were in a restaurant that served a variety of Asian foods: Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese... mmm....all delicious.
Anyway, hopefully I'll have the part 1 video up soon; it compliments the first Ishigaki post. In the meantime, the Ian has secured a new job and will leave Nova in mid-May. Between now and then he will spend most of his time coughing up his lungs as he has also secured a fantastic case of bronchitis!
Ok! I know I say this everytime, but check back again soon for there is much more to come (granting our Internet 'allows' us connect...)
I miss EVERYONE!!!
Lots and lots of love
Tara & Ian