What Do Caves and Babies Have in Common?…

I don’t know, but they’ve come together in Udo Jingu. This is the most incredible place I have been to so far; a bright orange shrine hidden in a huge cave by the ocean. The shrine is supposed to bless expectant parents with a healthy long-lived child. It’s about a 10 minute drive around an oceanside mountain on the Nichinan coast and another 10-minute walk to get to Udo Jingu, and the view is spectacular the whole way. With only one week left in Miyazaki, I hope to make it back here:

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If you look closely at that last picture, you’ll see a ring on “Turtle Rock” with a small pool inside. For a dollar (100 yen), you buy 5 little round red stones and attempt to throw them into the turtle pool (women with the right hand, men with the left). If you get one in, I guess you’re blessed (hmmmm, these gods seem fickle…). Mayumi and Toshi got one in. I didn’t. Unfortunately, I can not count on a long healthy life for my eventual son.

By the end of our oceanside drive/walk, we were all rather hungry, so the next stop was Nichinoeki park in Nango Cho (town) for a picnic. Once again, if you look closely at the first picture, you’ll see Toshi sleeping on the bench and Mayumi and Gramma lazing on the grass. This was after our delicious lunchbox picnic, when I decided to brave the full park hike whilst the rest braved a nap in the sun. There were some pretty incredible views, so I’m glad I chose the more adventurous option.

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After Nango, it was back to Aoshima, one of my first tourist visits in Japan, but this time with a twist. We ended up at Kodomonokuni park, which basically translates as “kids (kodomo) country (kuni)”. It was a big play area with plenty of rides and flowers, perfect for lazing around on a Japanese holiday. The Japanese holiday happened to be Shunbunohi, ie the spring equinox. I ended up getting some shut-eye in the much-appreciated hammocks located throughout the garden area, while the rest of the crew scavenged the flowerbeds and trees for signs of Hanami (TBA, future post).

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After Aoshima, it was back home for a break, then out for dinner at a local favourite. Okazaki Bokujou restaurant has really good Miyazaki beef, a dish I have come to love. The tables have a burner in the middle, so they slack off and make you cook your own meal. We ended up with endless plates of raw cow…and pig and chicken and veggies…and had the pleasure of cooking each piece to our own desired tenderness. Mmmmmmmmm, I love Miyazaki beef!

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Clockwise; Hana, Kana, Gramma, Toshi, Mayumi, Mikel’s spot (with plenty of Miyazaki beef in front of it).

We filled our bellies with beef and beer, and it was good.

After a delicious sleep-in, we picked up Hana’s Victoria-met friend, Jinko, from the Miyazaki airport the following morning around 11:00am. We then proceeded back to Aoshima Jingu, since Jinko has never seen blue (ao) island (shima). I let the girls check out the shurin whilst I walked the circumference of the island looking for the perfect rock to bring back for Dad’s garden. I found it. Here it is in it’s natural habitat, closely followed by it’s removal:

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It’s small, yes, but it has to come back in a suitcase. Anyways, the girls enjoyed the shurin, and the flowers in Saito town later on that afternoon.

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But my mind was still stuck on Udo Jingo, the shrine in the cave. It was amazing, and I really can’t capture it in a picture, you need the full 360. I know this doesn’t do it justice, but here it is, one last time:

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~ by The Running Emu on March 26, 2007.

4 Responses to “What Do Caves and Babies Have in Common?…”

  1. Hey Mikey, looks like you’re really enjoying yourself over there for your last hurrah before you head back. You’re right, the pictures don’t do it justice because it almost looks like you should be picking up lunch at the shrine or maybe I’ve been eating too much sushi lately…

    Talk to you soon.

    Unfortunately, there was no sushi available in the cave…plenty in the water out front though…

  2. Hello Mikey..
    Just a quick note..It’s 12:30 am and I really should be sleeping !!FIRST..Luongo got you another 7 points tonite !!The Clapton concert was awesome..most grey-haired hippy rockers I’ve ever seen in one place !!And the “smoke” confirmed it.Excellent pictures. I want you to finish my garden just like the one with the steps and cactii !! I’m alreddy formulating a position for my rock. Nothing to formal…an open sandy area similar to the beach to which it is accustomed !!Weren’t you a little nervous {allergies} in that field of yellow flowers ? Time for sleep..ttfn..pops

    Grey-haired hippy rockers…so you fit right in 😉
    I’m sure your Aoshima rock will enjoy it’s new sandy home; nice of you to be so thoughtful and provide it with a familiar environment.

  3. Hi Mike, Enjoy your final week. I’m going to miss your great photos and stories but we’ll have you in person! Bruins game tonite. Have a safe trip. Luv, Mom

    Thanks ma, lookin forward to 4 days in Okinawa, then being back amongst English speakers…

  4. Mike… I seriously almost cried when I looked at that picture with you and Hana in the flowers… I am tearing up right now as I write this with Matt as my witness (Yes he is laughing at me). I absolutely think that is such a wonderful depiction of the two of you… you both look so content and happy and free.

    That’s all. xoxo

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