Lucky Number 7

Today’s adventures were a whirlwind of sightseeing stops to the North of Miyazaki, a direction I hadn’t previously ventured via armoured beast.  As any good day does, this one started with McKenna pancakes…maybe not the family recipe, but grilled to McKenna perfection nonetheless.

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After filling our bellies, the whirlwind began (whirlwind is a very accurate descriptive word for this day’s adventures, since the sky was gurgling and passing water like a drunk man after midnight).

Sight #1: Maizuru Park and the Ruins of Takanabe Castle

This slightly damp park had a shurin and a huge 500 year old tree held up with anchored steel cables. It was originally the sight of Takanabe Castle, but after searching the site, the only remnant we found was 1 lousy weed-ridden wall.

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Toshi accidentally got a bamboo pole stuck in his ear, but Mayumi thankfully supplied some pretty floating flowers to calm him down while I yanked it out. Ouch!

Sight #2: Takanabe Marsh

This quiet and lonely bog will be flourishing with swamp-life in another 2 months, including the world’s smallest dragonflies. Unfortunately, the only movement we saw was small droplets of water in the downward direction.

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Now I know the curvature of this bridge suggests a sagging suspension bridge, but this guy was pure concrete. I don’t understand why this bridge has any structural integrity whatsoever…maybe one of my engineering friends would like to explain that to us in the comments.

Sight #3: Takanabe Taishi

This was the highlight of the day. These huge grinning statues were very funny and intimidating at the same time (odd combo, I know). They were perched on a hilltop with a view of rural Takanabe; I particularly enjoyed the 8-armed whitey with the multi-head hat.

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I really wish I had taken a picture with someone (or somefoot) in front for perspective…you can’t tell from the shots but they were tall, around 20 feet for the big guys.

Sight #4: Lupinus Park

Huge open space and plenty of flowers make this a favourite summer hangout for the residents of Kawaminami. Mayumi was silly enough to get on the merry-go-round while Mike was within twirling distance. Two minutes and 200 rotations later, I finally let her dismount to stumble and collapse on the ground in a bitter dizzy haze.

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After playing in the park like a bunch of school kids, we stopped at a traditional Japanese restaurant for a late lunch of udon soup and boiled veggie patties. Then it was back to the sights.

Sight #5: Takajo Castle

Another rebuilt castle in a small town called Kijo. This was just a cute little baby castle, but cool nonetheless, with a nice view of the town. There was a time when all the hilltops around contained a string of castles, a defensive network held by the reigning samurai clan of the time. Unfortunately, all but a handfull have been burned down…one of the downfalls of wooden castles, I suppose. You’d think they would have learned…

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By this time, the sun was beginning it’s descent behind the hills. A long day of sights, but not quite over yet.

Sight(less) #6 & #7: The Ruins of Hyuga-Kokubunji Temple & the Ruins of Tonokori Castle

Unfortunately, by the time we reached our 6th destination, the light of dusk was just strong enough to see the 5 remaining stones from the 1200 year old temple, but not quite strong enough for a decent picture (no worries, you’re not missing much). Needless to say, by the time we reached sight #7, it was pitch black. Stumbling around the Tonokari Castle park, we did come to the blind conclusion that “castle ruins”=”grassy knolls where castle structures used to stand”. Seemed like a nice grassy park, but not high on the priority list for a revisit.

And so ends our damp day of sightseeing. Being the warriors that we are, the weather didn’t scare us away…but this guy sure did:

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~ by The Running Emu on April 5, 2007.

One Response to “Lucky Number 7”

  1. Hey Mike, I bet Toshi was sure glad you took your first aid for that one. That last statue reminds me of WonderBoy…maybe the programmers lived nearby.

    See you very soon over some beer and whiskey to hear all your adventures retold!

    I’m bringing some Kirin Whiskey for you to try out Timmy…call me in the Wack.

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