Year in Japan

The whole house (I guess it’s just 4 of us at the moment) were free on Sunday, so we decided to go for a road trip, Matsuda-san suggested Mt. Aso, so off we went!

Turns out that Mt. Aso is in a totally different prefecture, like 3 hours away. Yayyyyyy!

On the way we stopped off at a hot-spring town in Oita that had these colourful windsocks on display:

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They’re fish windsocks (well technically reverse-windsocks), some Koi, and some other fish. It turns out they’re for Children’s Day, which even though it’s celebrated in May, these are hung out to signify the parent’s hopes for their children to be determined and strong, trying with all the vigour of the swimming koi. Which is pretty neat.

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So, after a brief snack of hot-spring boiled egg (it just tasted like a normal egg), we were back on the road.

After a couple of hours were finally started climbing (not literally, in a car) Mt. Aso, and we were watching the thermometer in the car gradually drop from around 17°C to 3°C. The roads were delightfully twisty and turny (first of all that’s not word, and secondly I can say ‘delightfully’ because I wasn’t driving), and there was plenty of snow and ice to be seen.

We finally got to good viewpoint, and in the background you can see the volcanic gas being spewed out from Mt. Aso.

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Anyway, we kept on going, and got the path to crater…unfortunately as you can probably guess from the fact that the mountain was spewing volcanic gas, we couldn’t go any further 😦 not a problem, as it was still a lovely view

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So we descended the mountain (once again, not literally, in a car) and headed over to a marshland that had recently been burned to clear out the old dying plants and clear the way for new plants.

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I’m reliably informed that after the burning, in like 2-3 weeks it starts to look really lush and green – I guess we were too early!!

Anyway, after a snack of Beef Tendon Croquette (so goddamn tasty), we headed over to another mountain for some further sightseeing

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Turns out there’s like 5 mountains around the Aso region – I don’t think we have time today to climb them all!!

So on to the next stage of the whirlwind daytrip – fishing!

Well I say fishing, it’s a bit of a cheat: you pay some money, they give you some bait and a rod, and then you go to fish at their pond where the fish are so densely packed you’d be hard pressed to not catch something

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Case in point: never fished before.

And after you’ve done your fishing, and caught plenty of fish – I think between the 3 of us we caught like 14 fish – they will clean them out for you and cook however many you want to eat now

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Delicious!

So after such an action-packed day it was time to go home, but not before a couple of pit stops.

Stop #1 – this lovely waterfall next to a rest stop

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Stop #2 – The Sapporo beer factory. Funny story, we were going to do a tour, but we got there like 20 mins before closing, so we basically just said “Can just buy a beer?”, and they were surprisingly ok with it – though I think it was that kind of ‘ok’ where you really can’t tell the customer ‘No’ because that’s just a thing you don’t do in Japan, so you just say ‘ok’. Nonetheless

I didn’t buy the cute little Sapporo beers because I doubt they’d survive a) being mailed home or b) not being drunk by me over the course of the year.

Phew. What. A. Day.

So much fun, and at the end of it all, we still had a shit ton of delicious fish to eat:

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