Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kakeromans and Countryfolks

Well, looks like it's going to rain all day, so I'll do a post. We rented a car over the weekend and took Masami's mom to Kakeroma (see 2009's post), where we go every year to visit her uncle and aunt (see also 2008's post). In this view from Amami Oshima, you can sort of see that the island is one long skinny chain of mountains (it's the first island). It seems small compared to Amami, like a footnote to the main island. So I'm always surprised at how long it takes to drive the winding mountain roads. At least we had a tiny K car this time and not the bus we had last year. A Kei car is one with a smaller than 660 cc engine and less than 63 horsepower (according to Wikipedia) so you can imagine what a powerhouse it is on the hills. We drove the back roads this time, saw more fabulous beaches and scenery, and Masami's beach, Tokuhama. It was a total shock coming back home to Naze, the big city (40,000 pop.), with the traffic jams and clutter after a couple of days in Kakeroma.

Before we took the ferry to Kakeroma, we stopped at Honohoshi, a beach with these big rocks that get pummeled by ferocious waves. We came here during a typhoon once, and it was pretty savage. The seas are mostly calm around Amami, I imagine due to the coral reefs that act as breakers, so this place is unusual for the island.

A nice arch at Honohoshi.

We did the usual stuff, a barbecue, fireworks, snorkeling, and driving. The island is pretty quiet, mostly really old folks. We drove across the island on the main road for an hour and passed 5 cars.

More fun with fireworks.

Masami's mom even enjoyed playing with the sparklers, although, when I showed her the pictures I had just taken of her, she didn't remember doing it.

There's a nice waterfall on the island, which I haven't seen before. Masami calls me Takiokun, Mr. Waterfall, because I like them so much. See last year's Waterfall Tour.

What a cute kid!

After being warned for years about the omnipresent habu, the much vilified local poisonous snake, I saw my first one. Unfortunately, it was dead in the road. Some attribute the lack of development in the islands to the fear of the habu (although it hasn't seemed to help Okinawa much). Thanks, habu-san.

I really wanted to go back to Kakeroma and snorkel at Surihama, which has the healthiest coral reef I've seen in the two islands. The water was a little cloudy, but here are some pictures.

Clammy lips

Masami's mom even got in on the snorkeling. It was a little too much of a challenge for her, but she tried.

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