[personal profile] cycleboy1957
7 Dec. After a few dull, wet and positively chilly days, today was a complete contrast. The sun was out, I did not need to wear a coat and the scenery was fantastic.

We took our little hire car over the bridge from Hirado island to Ikitsukishima, which is an even smaller one just off the NW corner. Once we got through the one town on the island, I could fancy myself pottering around one of the Western Isles. Heading north, we decided to stop at what was, quite frankly, a rather shabby looking cafe. Entering the door we were presented with a scene I had not expected. Most Japanese places are very neat and tidy, almost to the point of being clinical. This wasn't.To our right was a log burner with some rickety old sofas covered with drapes of cloth, behind which was a piano. On the piano was half a clarinet and various records and CDs. Then, just beyond the sofas was a small stage, with a drum kit, a genuine, but battered, Rickenbacker guitar, various acoustics and a bass. Behind the guitars was a VOX AC30. Near the tables were various scrap books and Beatles memorabilia. The owner was clearly an ageing 60s rocker who was not going to grow old gracefully. I did chat to him briefly, as he did have some English, having played for American bases in his past. They have a music might on the last Saturday of every month, sadly we won't be here to witness it.

From there we found a footpath, so decided to walk the 3-4km to the northern point of the island. The island was so narrow at this point, in some places we could see both coasts. Barely 50m from where we'd parked the car was a rock formation that mimicked the Giant's Causeway, in that it was made of vertical hexagonal basalt rocks. Walking along this path, which was actually well paved with flat stones most of the way, we saw evidence of some serious digging, with fresh soil strewn across the path. We concluded that it was probably wild boar. A short while later I heard a distinct grunt and the sound of something crashing through the undergrowth. Fortunately, there was a dry stone wall beside me because the beast couldn't have been more than 10m away. Sadly (or maybe luckily) I didn't see it. The path was not often used, it seemed, because we came across a huge web across the path and a magnificent multicoloured occupant in its centre. Its leg-span must have been almost the size of my hand. By some careful ducking under threads, we were able to pass by without causing it any disturbance.

On our return to the car - along the road this time - a local woman shook her head at our intention to walk back to our car. It's getting dark, she informed us, and the wild boar will become active. Do be careful. Fortunately, it didn't take us long, it was still light and we saw nothing to alarm us.

But, what a day. With the sun on our backs, it felt like a nice summer's day in Britain. The sea was clear enough to see the sea bed, there were lots of kite-like birds circling lazily overhead and with the other close encounters with the local life, wild and otherwise, it was possibly the best day of the trip thus far.

I loaded some pictures into Facebook;



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