Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ishigakijima to Iriomotejima!

Wooo! Internet!! I don't know how long we will actually be able to STAY connected so I am posting this quick!! Ian has a video to go along with the previous post, and hopefully we can get that one up here too!!
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.
Ian did.

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


Anonymous said...

Coooool! Everything is so beautiful. And I love your hair, Tara. Also, is that poor ox-thing tied up by his nose?


meaghan said...

hahaha you guys are so weird. I miss the weirdness!!!! I'm glad you didn't get lost in the Japanese Amazon, that would suck! who would take me around Japan!?! hahaha. I want to see more pictures of the weird guy from the last post!! what the hell is that thing?!
wait.. and yeah.. is that ox dude (or dudette I presume by the flower?) tied up by the nose?!

p.s. it somehow no longer recognizes my password!!!

Meaghan said...

p.s.s. IAN!!!! GET BETTER!!! NOW!!

Alexandra said...

Hi Tara and Ian! I lime the ox thing, but WHY has it got a flower on it's horns? very strange.... Ian, I hope u get better soon... a boy in my class had bronc...umm... however it's spelt :P, and was away for a month!:O ...
Ok... umm..(I had no idea what to say:P) BYE!!!
Love, Alexandra xoxo

Alexandra said...

lol... i said i "lime" the ox thing, I meant I "Like" the ox thing!!! :) :P

Anonymous said...

Hey guys,

Again...great pics. Congrats on the new Job Ian! I hope you feel better soon!

Well Tara, it won't be long now and your Mom,Dad and Meaghan will be there. I bet you are excited.

You guys sound like your having a great experience there!

Love and miss you lots,
Aunt Linda

Anonymous said...


Love all of the pictures, but I particularly like the toothy one of you...reminds me of remember Justin, don't you? I'm sorry you are sick, but I'm happy that you have a new job! Get well, soon. Keep on having a great time you two.


Aunt Lori said...

Hey guys,
Great pictures and video...nice to hear your voices!!!
Can't wait to hear about the new job Ian...congrats!!!!
Hope you are feeling better Ian!!

Miss you guys LOTS!!!!
Love Aunt Lori xoxoxoox

your friends in Japan said...

AJ - Yeah it was even better in person!! And yes, I believe it was tied up by the nose. As were all the other ones we saw.... : (
Pooooor Ox

Meaghan - Haha yeah its probably a good thing that we found our way out. And what weird guy are you talking about? The Shisa? (the statue type thing?) And yes, I believe it is tied up by the nose. They were all like that : (

Alexandra - Japan IS strange. Hahaha.

Aunt Linda - I am SOOOO excited for them to get here! And yes we are having some great times. May will be great because I will get to see a bunch more places I haven't seen yet! Like TOKYO!!!

Arleen - Thanks for your amusing comments!! I particularily liked that picture!

Aunt Lori - Glad you liked the video!! Ian worked hard on it! There will be more to come.
How is Jake doing? Healing well??
Tell him Hi for me!!!!