Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sado Island

This past weekend was a special holiday for the likes of people like me (old). On the 15th of September it's 'Respect for the Aged Day' in Japan. We had off school on Monday so Bridget and I thought we should go to Sado since we hadn't been there yet. We reserved our ferry tickets about two weeks ago. Saturday morning I left my apartment at around 6:05, took a train to Yoshida to meet Bridget and headed south along the west coast of the prefecture to Teradomari. Now, neither of us had been here so we didn't have bus schedules and such and were a little lost at first. We walked out of the bus station determined that perhaps we could ask someone or ask a bus that stoped at the station next. Just then a very kind woman whom grew up around Tokyo, and was here for the fish market stopped to help us. She spoke wonderful English and told us that she was headed near the ferry port to get to the famous fish market of Teradomari (sashimi so fresh it's caught that day and served, like Wendy's burgers, never frozen). We got on the bus when it came 15 min later and chatted a little until it was time to get off. We walked up to the port to claim our tickets and get things settled so we'd be on time. We also meandered around a little. There was a strange dollop looking sculpture and took refuge there during a sudden rain.

We boarded with the rest of the tourists being the only gaijin. ^___^ The ferry took us to a port on Sado Island called Akadomari (south end of the east coast).

Once we got to Akadomari we found a bus schedule to find that they buses are really sporatic. It turned out we had two hours and fortyfive minutes till the next bus came to take us north west to our hostel or at least to the 'city'. (Sado isn't a very developed island.) So as we where figuring that out a nice Japanese couple appoached us and asked us where we were going. We told them that we where headed up to the Niibo or Sawata area. They stated that they where on their way up to Sawata too if we wanted a ride so that we wouldn't have to wait for the bus. WOOOOT!!! So we hoped into the car with out a second glance behind us at the port. The view was amazing!!!! Sado is so green and lush and the coast had a beautiful blue sea. We stopped at a few points along the way to take pictures.

Then the couple took us to a music festival going on for Sado Island resident. There's a special kind of music and cultural song from Sado and different age groups where competeing and sharing their Sado musical talent. It was really rad, wow, some of those kids can really wail!! Then they took us to a sushi restaurant near Mano Bay before dropping us off at our hostel. We stayed at a place called Green Village. It was cute.

Our land-lady at Green Village was nice she took us and another girl that was staying there to a Toki bird refuge and the Niibo Dam.

Then she took us to the Seisui-ji Temple: "Seisui-ji Temple was established in 808 when a Buddhist monk named Kenno visited Sado. Kenno pitied the local people for not being able to visit Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto, and thus decided to build Seisui-ji Temple in it's image. Its stage, a replica of that at Kiyomizu, was constructed in 1622. while Kiyomizu is afflicted with the hustle and bustle of Kyoto tourism, Sisui-ji's perpetual quietness makes for a peaceful visit. A lofty, tree-lined set of steps awaits your entry." (Sado tourism map)
This was actually my favorite place we went to on the whole island. Its wonder blew me away the pictures I notice hardly did it justice. If there where ever a place to be that seriously felt magical this was it. Actually in the graveyard the ground was covered with lush green spongey moss, the whole place reminded me of the forest in 'Princess Mononoke'.

It was amazing! Then she took us to...I think it's Nashinoki Jizo Shrine. (It's hard to tell now by my map)"A jizo is a stone image of a guardian deity for children. The principal image kept here is said to protect children from illness and to help recovery. Many parents bring jizo statues here for their children as these jizo undertake sufferings on their children's behalf. The number of jizo statues continues to rise into the ground".

There were zillions of these little jizo statues. Some of them with scarves or hood and others with bibs and such. Some of the jizo statues weren't of stone but simply a hello kitty doll or another character loved by children.
After our visits we headed in for the night after a really yummy dinner of tempura veggies. The next morning we decided to head out early. We got our bus schedule and where feeling pretty good and got there and where waiting and here comes the bus and there it goes. We where right there and it passed right by us! What! Later we found out you have to wave at the bus while you are at the stop so that it knows you want on. Well we where a little upset but decided to start walking toward Mano and hoped we'd catch another bus on it's way there. So on the way we took a few interesting pictures. Is this a crossing for a male and female penguin or for blind people?

Then we saw a house with a totaly blue blue blue roof. It was rad!

Then just as Bridget was taking a picture of a cat a car pulls up to us. A man pops his head out of the passenger side of the car and asks where we are going and if we want a ride. We tell him we are on our way to the fruit festival in Mano and they tell us to hope in. Again, without looking back at that hot road we were walking we jumped in. This guy was awesome, a total bohemian and knew like 6 languages it was great and we talked about traveling. He had been alll over the place it was cool to hear about his journeys. ^___^ He dropped us right off at the Fruit Festival.
There where apple contests and tastings and some kids from the local elementary where doing surveys so we took one in exchange for pictures. Cute Japanese kids!

After a little visit at the Fruit Festival we headed south to the Ogi Port to go on a Tarai-bune (wooden tub boat) The kind of wooden tub in Spirited Away that they use to get from the bathouse to the train station.

It was so fun. Rub a dub dub two gaijins in a tub! The cute little lady that drove our boat let me try and drive too, it's not as easy as it looks but it was so cool to ride one.

We finished off the day at the beach on Mano Bay. We headed back to Niibo where we were staying and at yummmy food there. The kind you cook on your own little grill thing. It was sooooo good and the place was soo cute and personal. They brought out meats and veggies to grill, it was yummmalicious. OISHI!!!

We polished off the day with a few treats and hit the sack.
The next morning we where ready with hands waving and caught the bus this time back into town to the beach at Sawata. This was the 'Respect for the Aged Day' so we thought we'd have fun and play at the beach like kids. ^__^ We also went out for a swim in the water and there where trillions of holes in the sand where the thin worm looking fish swim in and out of. We where out in the water about to our shoulders when a gazillion of them jumped up out of the water and back down into their holes. It was sooooo cool like this one moment amazing experience! Then we made sand stuff and played with Screamin' Me-me.

Whelp, after all that fun we headed back down to Akadomari. From there we got back to Teradomari by the ferry and took the bus to the station and then to Yoshida for a really yummy one last final delicious oishi meal.

After this weekend we decided that we like being old and that it was fun to celebrate it! ^____^