Mistakes were made.
I started out the day with breakfast! I didn’t sleep as well as last night because early on I was getting up a lot to go to the bathroom. (TMI section: why is it that when I wake up at night I actually have to go to the bathroom, but during the day it seems like I want to go but there’s no volume?) I thought back and realized I tried not to drink anything after dinner, but I did get sobayu after I finished eating and drink all of the soba tsuyu. (You can google that if you want, it’s not TMI.) Oh, and as I packed up i noticed this by my garbage:
No wonder I was getting up all the time.
Anyway, the Daiwa Roynet buffet was fantastic, in a huge room, and had an omelet bar! You can see from the selection that I am Japanese-American. I kind of loaded up because I kind of knew I wouldn’t get lunch.
It was another beautiful day and the first thing I did was got a taxi to the ferry. Then an hour wait for a two-and-a-half hour ferry ride that was hot and quite boring. Once I looked out and thought, hey, I know some of those landmarks, we’re almost there but my watch showed we had another hour to go. The only excitement was during my hour-long wait to get onto the ferry. One of the workers was wearing Hanshin gear. I wondered if he is a megafan or if he lost a bet.
Once I got off the ferry it was a long bus ride to the train station and the Hotel Sunroute Tokushima. I dropped off my bag and limped myself over to the tourist information bureau to ask about seeing the whirlpools at Naruto where the ocean meets the inland sea. They told me to get on the bus right away so I could get on one of the last boats out to the whirlpools. I had to get a all-day ticket, and the bus took AN HOUR. Remember when I said it was a long bus ride to the train station? That was only about 15 minutes.
I asked the driver about where to get off for the boat ride into the whirlpools and the guy told me about the two boats from one dock but didn’t really say which stop it was. Then after I sat back down the bus made several English announcements telling me to get off at the Otsuka Museum of Art. When I got off I saw a big sign for cars that said THIS WAY TO THE BOAT RIDE. Well, it said something in Japanese but it translated to something similar to that. So I started walking. And walking. It was another 20 minutes, often down a narrow (and sometimes busy) Japanese road. And then I hit construction! One of the flaggers had to walk me through the construction area where they were repaving the road. Once I saw the boats I jogged over to the ticketing area because it looked like they were getting ready to leave.
At the ticketing booth they told me the small boat was about to leave and the big boat would leave later, but I was about an hour late for the peak whirlpools and sooner was better than later.
I was one of the last ones on board, but there were only about five other people on board. We had to sit to leave port, then we walked around while we motored quite quickly over to the area under the bridge, which is where the whirlpools form. Then they made us go below decks and we watched the whirlpools from below! I don’t have a good picture but here’s looking out while we were under way.
And then we went back through a couple of times while we were on the upper deck. It was kind of fun to watch the water swirl around.
You could see the step where the inland sea met the ocean.
I think it was worth it. After we headed back to port I had nearly an hour to wait for the bus. There’s nothing to do there other than the boat so I had some ice cream out of a machine. I’ve seen this machine at a lot of the ferry terminals and I finally tried it because I was getting hungry.
It was a tiny freezer ice cream and it wasn’t bad.
I looked around the souvenir shop and the boat schedules and realized if I had a choice I would’ve taken the faster, smaller boat (which I did). I really lucked into that one.
Then it was another hour back to the hotel.
When I got to the hotel it was full of women who looked like they were on a pilgrimmage of at least part of the 88 temples of Kyushu. When I checked in and asked the woman at the counter said something like, “I’m not sure they’re that serious.” But I put my stuff in my room and immediately went looking for dinner because I was starving.
OK, so for dinner I made even more mistakes. I went to a restaurant that served the local specialty of chicken. One famous dish is the chicken leg served on a hot plate and cut up with scissors. Well, YOU cut it up with scissors. Anyway, I always spend too much money at these places and never know what to order. I overdid it and one of the things kind of made me queasy.
In case you’re wondering, it was the chicken namban that made me queasy. Too much sauce. It wasn’t even hot when it came out. Honestly, though, it was all just oversalted chicken that needed pepper or some other seasoning. They should also give up on the local chicken namban and get the recipe from Miyazaki. I’m sure I could get used to it but I think I’d rather make a special trip to Nagoya for roast chicken and Miyazaki for chicken namban.
Oh, and you can’t tell but that chicken leg is giant. I ate way too much. So much chicken grease and salt.
After that it was drizzling out and while I did make a stop at the Can Do for more cables (which they didn’t have) I got back to the hotel and went to the onsen on the floor above me. (I’m on the 20th floor.) The TV kept telling me the men’s bath was full so I did wait in the room for a bit but eventually I just gave up and went. It wasn’t packed but goddamn the old Chinese guys were loud. I was mad until I realized they were OLD KOREAN GUYS. They were of the age that usually hates Japan, but whatever. I gave them a pass, which shows that I am a racist Asian (and don’t any of you other Asians tell me you’re any different.) I just wished they would keep it down a bit in the bath.
Oh, and speaking of which, while I was bored waiting for the bus I asked one of the drivers where the bus was from. He said, this bus? It’s all Taiwanese people. Just got off the plane, then off to see the whirlpools and then onto a five day tour of Shikoku. Sounds like fun. And Taiwan is the one Asian country that seems to really like Japan. They get a pass too. Yes, I am an awful person.