Monday, July 27, 2009

Kakeroma: Cats and Dogs and Wild Boars

Part of the events Masami was organizing included a series of talks by manga artists. While they were here they wanted to see the sights. Everybody seems interested in the neighboring island, Kakeroma. To me Kakeroma always meant being stuck in the middle of nowhere, at Masami's uncle's bachelor pad in Shiba. I mean, nothing going on there at all, ever. I believe there's a law that you have to be over 60 t0 live there, and they're soon raising that requirement to 70. Maybe that's what appeals to Japanese people, that it's about as far away from modern Japanese life you can get and still be in Japan. I got a little different view of it last year, when we actually had a car to get around, and see some of the "sights." (See last year's blog entry.)

We stopped at Arangachi Falls on the way. There's a long staircase to the top. A nice mossy glen.

There's a little pool in front of the ferry building with local reef fish that two kids were harassing. Two years ago there were lots of fish in here. Last year they were all gone. There were a couple this time, including this nice one.

We dropped the comic artists' luggage off at their pension in Shiba (I don't know how they stay in business) and had iced tea and passion fruit. I love the smell of passion fruit in the grocery stores and fruit stands. It's so intoxicating. I put mine in the tea for an experiment. Theo did the same, but didn't like it much. His mom told him the seeds looked like frog eggs, then made him drink the whole thing.

We spent most of the day in the car, driving windy narrow roads, so it was great when we were able to get out and stretch. There are some nice banyan trees on Kakeroma. This one had a rope swing.
This tree is great for climbing, and Theo got way up.

Masami's uncle.
Public toilet. It is socially acceptable to urinate in full view here. But don't blow your nose!

Saneku beach, another beach I'd never been to. But there are so many. We only had a minute to look, anyway, no time to swim. Had to get back in the car.

One of our racing crabs ready at the go.

Some late afternoon sun on dead trees. A lot of pine trees have been dying here due to pest infestation. It's really noticeable all over this island, although I haven't seen it on the main island.

I had to drive this ridiculously huge van all over the island, on these narrow one lane roads, where they have mirrors so that you can see around curves to see if anyone is coming and slam on the brakes. When passing a car going the other way, you just inch by and hold your breath. We managed to come out unscathed.

Another eclipse.

These caterpillars were everywhere, hanging from trees by silken threads, like little SWAT assault teams. You had to be careful not to walk around with your mouth open.
I dropped the artists off at their pension at one end of town, and uncle's house was at the other. There was really no room to turn around, so I just drove through town in reverse. Ok, so I didn't really have to, but I did it because I could. Shiba is that kind of place. Can't do that many other places in Japan.

We always do a barbecue at his house, which used to be Masami's grandmother's house. We always likes to encourage Theo's pyromaniacal tendencies. The meat is catching on fire because it is mostly fat (the way the Japanese like it). It's pork from the wild boar uncle hunts, with his pack of howling dogs that always greet us with a chorus every time we get near them, or they hear us, or smell us. There are also wild cats roaming everywhere, looking for a handout and getting into fights. They were pretty evenly divided into the spots and stripes gangs.
Little drinks for little ones and big drinks for big ones.

Really Japanese style. Uncle is married, but his wife conveniently lives on another island. It's very Japanese. So uncle lives like a bachelor, and you can really tell by looking at his house. Auntie is very nice and comes over from the main island when we visit and helps take care of us.

Masami used to spend the summers here as a girl. This is the old pump where she would get water for her bath in a big iron pot in the yard.

We had to get up early and pay our respects at Masami's grandmother's grave and head back to the city. It was a whirlwind trip, but maybe better that way. Can't say I had much time to be bored. This is the alleyway next to the house with coral walls chock full of poisonous snakes. Always walk in the middle of the road or the habu will get you!

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