So as I mentioned, on monday I took the bullet train to Okayama and
transferred to an express train to Shikoku, the other of the 4 main
Islands of Japan.
I visited a professor I know there and he actually did a great job
showing me around (we spent the entire afternoon together, but only
about 1 hour at the university itself, the rest was site seeing... as
you will see. ANYWAY, be sure to check out the videos (
underlinedlinks in bold), I like them quite a bit, I think they do a good job in presenting the atmosphere...
Luckily all of Japan's islands come very close to eachother, so in the
case of Shikoku, a bridge (or rather several bridges) were built along
a string of small islands. The train goes under the roadway.
Yikes, the view out of the window was a little scary. Its a long way down to the water...
Really great views along the way. It took at least 10-15 minutes to cross the bridge.
The guy I visited took me to Mt. Yashima, which overlooks the city of
Takamatsu. He pointed out that this is known as 'blood pond'... because
after some midevel battle, the victors used this pond to wash the
chopped off heads of their vanquished enemies... until the water was
BLOOOOOD red. pretty gross actually!
And of course there's a temple on top. Founded by a gaijin! And yes, that does say 'THE Yashima Badger'
I guess thats The Badger, and thats.... Mrs The Badger...
One interesting thing bit of info I learned is that there are 88
different temples in Shikoku, and apparently there's a believe that if
you visit all 88 (and say some certain prayer), you'll get into heaven
easier (i'm not sure if its that you get one of your sins overlooked or
you get to pass one of the tests of purgatory or something... but
anyway it seems there is a bit of an industry around the believe. Old
retirees with nothing to do but worry about whats going to happen when
they die like to take tours that take you to some or all of the
Apparently there is some sort of way to document your visit at each
temple too, so you can prove that you really did ALLLL of them...
Another local custom is to throw clay discs off the side of this hill,
it brings you good luck or makes a wish or something like that...
anyway for $2 we got 10 of them and let them rip. I found that frisbee
like spinning helped it go much further, especially if you catch the
A horrible picture of me. this was before my 1000 yen QB hair cut. :-P
After that we went to
(click for fancy description and photos), which used to be the private
estate of the ruling Shogun in the area. Now its a park with a nicely
tended Japanese style garden.
We visited the tea house to get some Japanese green tea (which I can't
say I like the taste of), but we got to chill in a 300 year old house
and stare at this rock garden... good for chilling! ;-)
Apparently when the Emperor came to Takamatsu last time, he was allowed to sit there.
Apparently most of the koi in this pond were donated by an award winning koi breader. Yes... they have awards for koi...
As we were leaving a crew showed up to take some wedding photos for a
couple. Thats the guy in his white kimono. I wasn't able to get a
picture of the bride, but she looked really nice, very colorful kimono
(I usually only get to see old ladies in Kimonos... so it was a nice
Some kind of crane. There were also a lot of ducks and a few turtles too.
Apparently they like to use this park for filming TV dramas and what
not set in the feudal period, especially since from most angles, there
are no modern buildings in sight (actually as you can see in the first
picture from the park, recently a few real estate companies broke a
long standing agreement to not build anything that was visible from the
pond... the local govt is trying to tear down the buildings... but
still, not too bad).
A Koi feeding frenzy...
Ume trees are blooming, especially after all the warm weather this week. Sakura are coming in another few weeks I guess.
Thats a lot of pics all at once, hope you enjoyed them. probably for
friday I got pictures from my visit to the Sharp research HQ and the
train.. and a few other random things... probably.
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