Friday, September 28, 2007

Beached In Kochi

After weighing up many pros and cons, and several hours of debate, we decided to stay another night in Kochi. [Surely you just couldn't be arsed to leave... -Ed]

Kochi castle is similar to all the other castles in Japan, of which there are 400. Only 12 of the castles in Japan are original, most of the others were built in the 1960s. Coming from the UK, I find it very hard to get my head round the fact that almost nothing here is over 100 years old. Japanese castles were built of wood, so they often got burnt down several times before finally being built from concrete in the sixties. In the UK, however, we still have stone castles, stone houses, stone computers and even stone people. Everything is built to last, except for stuff you actually want, which tends to break after a few days.

In the afternoon we took the bus to Katsura-Hama beach. Like most beaches in Japan, it sucked. The beaches in Japan are pebble, not sand, and it's usually unwise to swim, either because of dangerous undercurrents, as is the case with Katsura-Hama, or because of pollution. We managed to catch a bit of the sunset, and we saw a Japanese girl practising the tuba, which was fucking hilarious so, in the end, going to the beach was time well spent.

We had an hour to kill before we could get the bus back to Kochi so we bought some Japanese chocolate from a tiny convenience store. Like most chocolate in Japan, it sucked.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Ryugado Caves

Visited a large cave called Ryugado, near the city of Kochi. I doubt the name means anything special, probably something like "sponsored by Disney", or "no dry-cleaning facilities available here". The part that is open to the public is about 1 km long. I've been to hundreds of caves all over Europe, but Ryugado was still very impressive. The only bad thing about the cave was that every 10 metres or so you would come to a Japanese woman sitting on a stool who would shout a bunch of crap in Japanese. This was utterly pointless because everything they said about that particular part of the cave was written in the leaflet anyway.

The cave was discovered about 70 years ago. The people who discovered it decided to leave a vase under a stalactite to see if, over a period of many years, it would become completely covered with limestone. The rather obvious answer to this question is yes, things do get covered in limestone if you leave them for 70 years under a stream of dissolved limestone. Fuckwits.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Decided to take the night bus to Hiroshima. The journey is 12 hours and likely to be very uncomfortable. The ticket is only about 40 quid and at least the passengers of the night bus a young, unlike the high speed Shinkansen train which tends to be full of old people, the kind I hate...

I've never been to Hiroshima, and am looking forward to it as my good friend Megumi lives there. On the other hand, I don't like the idea of being irradiated; I have seen no mention of Hiroshima's background radiation levels in any guidebook etc., presumably the radiation level is still higher than average.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Very Brief Update On Karamoon

1. I've arrived safely in Japan.
2. I've got Internet access at my house.
3. I'm going to be traveling for the next 3 or 4 weeks, and won't have much Internet access on the road.
4. Blog updates will appear as and when, as will podcasts...
5. In October look out for an interview I did with Bicycle Mark at the CCC camp.
6. In the meantime, check out Bicycle Mark's great podcast:
7. Please comment if you are reading this!