My final few days in Ibusuki before I set out on my travels.

(Photo courtesy of the Ibusuki Royal Hotel.)

Yoga class with a view of the ocean, followed by a soak in a natural hot spring overlooking Kagoshima Bay. There are worse ways to spend a morning.

Not pictured: Kim listening in on the women’s side and shaking her head in dismay.

100 YEN SUSHI OH LORD HOW I’VE MISSED YOU. (I’m aware this particular plate is ¥130, but that still makes it about a quarter of the price of what I’m now forced to pay for inferior sushi back home.)

Coin Laundry adventures.

Rectifying my run-in with a bog the previous day: the miraculous coin sneaker laundry!

The Crambs do, of course, have a washing machine at home. It was, however, in the process of being cleaned at this exact moment because someone had left a towel in the laundry covered in onsen mud which subsequently made every load which came out of it reek of sulphur. Not naming any names.

Lunch at 梅里 (Bairi), a café housed inside a 100-year-old farmhouse.

Every design element is self-consciously, gorgeously Japanese. Even the tabletops are made from sliding doors.

Mochi waffles with adzuki beans and green tea ice-cream. There are no words.

こだわりケーキ – a sesame Mont Blanc shaped like a snow-capped mountain.

The café is, appropriately enough, housed in this beautiful lane full of traditional old houses.

I’d almost forgotten about the bottom-shelf, convenience store anime porn. Oh, Japan.

¥100 store!

Kim: You do realise that some of my students are in here?

Yes. Yes, we do.

Post-lunch, we’d run into Karin who informed us that there was an event on that very night where we’d have the opportunity to see some of Ibusuki’s more colourful insect life.

We set up camp in the field to await the sunset…

…whereupon the sky became alive with phosphorescent beauty in one of the most magical sights I witnessed on this trip.

(Or, as John just so charmingly pointed out, syphilis under a microscope.)

Purikura from the zoo. I was pretty excited about that red panda sticker.

I’ve had some hilariously mistranslated lesson plans in my time (Mr Mark Lididdle Teacher being a personal highlight), but this pretty much blows all of them out of the water.

Kim skyping the family back home while her mum got a churro in her the size of a forearm. (Apparently her dad could hear Colin and I laughing all the way from the other end of the house.)

The fireflies were actually a week-long event, so we went back again the following evening. This time, I made a friend.

It’s too cold for them here in Scotland so Japan is actually the only place I’ve ever seen fireflies in real life. And, because I lived in the one of the coldest areas of Japan, I’d only ever encountered one prior to this trip. Seeing a whole field of them was pretty exciting!

(Many thanks to Karin for letting me borrow a tripod to capture these shots!)

And onwards to karaoke: because no trip would be complete without Colin’s and my now-requisite rendition of Colours of the Wind.

All the classics.

My final day in Ibusuki. Golden Week having ended, it was just me and Colin, and so I forced him to make his first bus journey since arriving in Kagoshima. We began at the train station, where I was able to christen my soon-to-be-active Japan Rail Pass and book the next day’s journey up to Nagasaki. I realised almost immediately that the Rail Pass would pay for itself in no time when the very first journey I booked cost half the price of what I’d paid in total (and I still had 2 weeks of unlimited journeys to go).

Ibusuki Station also happens to have a naturally heated foot spa out front, which we took full advantage of.

I had no idea this was a global phenomenon!

Somebody got a little lazy taking down the koinobori, Children’s Day having come and gone a good week ago.

I do love a good Japanese manhole – different in every city!

Kokoro no Yu: my final onsen in Ibusuki, this time with electrified water. It was exactly as pleasant as it sounds. (The rest of facilities were, however, magnificent.)

Kim met us afterwards for dinner.

スイカ広場 – the Watermelon Plaza.

…aka a public toilet shaped like a slice of watermelon. Because why the hell not.

One final eikaiwa class.

Ibusuki – thank you for having me!

The following morning, the time had come to say goodbye to Colin and Kim…

…but at least I knew I’d left my mark.

  1. Markus McD says:

    Eee so many fun adventures! Thanks for letting us be a part of it!
    Now… to find some money to make a trip to Japan myself…!

  2. J K SHARMA says:

    sir, I want to purchase one shoes laundry machine for business purpose . kindly give me its price dealer and how to use it.

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