Thousands of Miles from Home



Today was so packed that I don't think I can accurately describe it in one entry. Tom, Shoko, Shun, Masatoshi and I woke up very early to drive to Okayama and catch a ferry to Shodoshima island. Shun was a little late getting up so we left without him and he took a ferry from Uno port to meet us in Shodoshima later. I was very tired so I slept through most of the car ride, but when we got on the ferry the view was very nice so I stood on deck for a while. It wasn't too hot or humid which was fortunate because the weather can be very punishing in the summer. We drove our car onto the ferry so we would have a ride when we got to the island.

Shodoshima island, whose name means "Island of Small Beans," is the second largest in the Seto Inland Sea, and is located 28Km off the coast of Shikoku. It is famous for it's olives, wild monkeys, and, sticking with the japanese theme of "smaller is better", the narrowest canal in the world, connecting the Seto Inland Sea. After we got off the ferry we shopped for a little while in some nearby stores, then headed out for the day's journey.

There is a famous movie in Japan called "Twelve Students and Twenty-Four Eyes" which has been remade twice throughout the years and was shot on location on Shodoshima Island. Since the movie is based in "the old days," an old Japanese town had been constructed on the island so we toured the schoolhouse and grounds. I saw a very old abacus as well as some original schoolbooks. In the reconstructed town Tom and I tried on Kimonos and walked around the grounds and aside from looking Australian and American we would have fit right in.

Next we went to a Somen noodle factory, which was closed, but we peeked in through the windows and saw a bunch of noodles being made. We also went to a Shouyu (soysauce) factory. First we walked into the main factory area, and as soon as Shoko opened the door we were blasted in the face with an overpowering salt mist. All I could think of was Kenley's mom's report of the buttered popcorn flavoring factory, and how I really wanted a glass of water. The main tour was not in the factory, however, so we weren't a-salt-ed for too long (haha a pun!) But the factory was really neat and we had the opportunity to eat soy sauce ice cream but decided to leave that for another day. We did however get souvenier Kinkoman soy sauce.

After the factory we drove up the large mountains surrounding the town to an overlook that was breathtaking, with low clouds hanging around green mountains and blue sea. Shoko, Tom, Shun, and I (Masatoshi didn't want to go) then went to "Monkey world," which as the name describes is a place to see the wild monkeys of Shodoshima. When we arrived on the side of a mountain and walked along the forest path I didn't expect to see too many monkeys, because they aren't kept in cages but roam free over the countryside. As we came to a ridge I saw a bunch of low fences and as we approached about 200 monkeys running over rock and playing in trees. It was amazing. My mind shot back to the movie "congo" and I was a bit worried that somehow the monkeys had laser beams. I also remembered Mrs. Yakim's recount of her trip to The Congo (or amazon I can't remember) and how all the monkeys threw poop at her. However, sadly, none of these things happened, and in fact I got a monkey to sit on my lap (it was trained to do this).

We drove around the island for a little longer, looking at more sights, then drove back to the ferry. I yet again slept for most of the car ride as I am rather inclined to do. We had a wonderful dinner for Tom's last evening and now I am very full and sleepy.


  • hahaha...that might be the first pun I've heard from you thats understandable and made me laugh. :D Sounds like an exciting day, although the whole ferry ride to an island evokes parts of "the ring".

    hope you are monkey-disease free :)


    By Anonymous, at 10:56 PM  

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