The next morning, Kim dropped Colin and me off at the Flower Park Kagoshima, with her final day of work ahead before the Golden Week holidays began.

We were both appropriately (though unintentionally) attired in our best florals.

I think it was here, looking out over the lush, tropical landscape and the blue sea beyond it that I realised how vastly different Kyushu was from the frozen tundra of Japan that I knew.

I had no idea bamboo came in red.

Any of you familiar with the Tekken series will share my amusement at the various Mokujin dotted throughout the park.

(Mokujin is, incidentally, one of those words that makes perfect sense once you’re familiar with the language – it literally means “wood person”.) This guy got off lightly, however…

…compared to his unfortunately-positioned companion deeper in the trail.

Human Centipede: Ibusuki Sequence.

And, washing that fresh horror from your mind: the beautiful tranquillity of the 蝶の館 (Butterfly House).

Easily my favourite part of the entire park.

Chrysalises on pegs.

Excuse my beauty.

Kim returned to pick us up just after lunch, where we proceeded to our next destination:

…Nishi Ibusuki Junior High School! I can’t adequately explain how happy I was to be back in a Japanese classroom. We were only there for one class, but this was still one of the highlights of my entire trip.

Afterwards, we took a drive down to Ikeda-ko: the largest lake in the whole of Kyushu, and purported site of a legendary lake monster named “Issie”. Not to be confused with Nessie, of whom it is in no way a total rip-off.

(It says “Giant Eel”. What can I say – I’m easily amused.)

A view of Lake Ikeda with the local volcano in the background from a vantage point on the surrounding hills.

Rounding out the day’s excitement: my first (but by no means last) onigiri of the trip! There was one stretch of the journey where I was travelling by myself for a week, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that I pretty much lived on them. And (though I only have a crappy phone picture to show for it) my first experience with Ibusuki’s famous sunamushi – an onsen where the staff bury you alive in burning hot sand. Surprisingly relaxing.

  1. Angela G. says:

    Beautiful photographs! What a lovely adventure! 🙂

  2. Markus McD says:

    Amaze-balls! That poor Mokujin though… dealing with that “giant eel” hahahaha

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