Sunday, 21 July 2019

Japanese Adventure, Chapter 4 - Day 14. More from Shodoshima

For breakfast this morning we toasted a slice of the freshly baked bread and had a poached egg on one half and jam on the other. The mushrooms were the ones bought from the soy sauce shop yesterday, so delicious!

After breakfast we jumped on the bikes and made our way around to the other side of the bay. As I'm writing this I'm remembering just how magical this journey was each day, especially the final downhill section.

The shrine hike we'd taken the other day was still incomplete as we'd missed one of the shrines. This morning we tracked it down though, it was just behind Sakate Port.

Ella got out her sketchbook and pencil and captured the moment. I decided to capture her capturing the moment when I noticed a lady on the steps behind was watching Ella.

It turned out the lady was an artist too and after chatting with her for a while she showed us her beautiful paintings.

Next we cycled to a soy sauce factory where a member of staff gave us a short tour. He showed us the barrels used for making soy sauce and explained the lengthy process to us. The giant barrels have been used to make soy sauce for 150 years, the soy beans ferment in here for 3 years.

We then sampled some of the soy sauce produced here which was available to buy. We didn't buy any though as we were travelling with hand luggage and the 100ml liquid rule made bringing a bottle home difficult.

We did try some ice cream though which is served with a bottle of soy sauce.

Just a few drops of soy sauce added to this vanilla ice cream transformed it into the best flavoured ice cream ever!

It was such a hot day so we sat in the shade outside 7-Eleven with an iced coffee. As I sat there I noticed how you never see a dirty vehicle in Japan and the tiny vehicles seem to make much more sense too. I also thought about how the double white line separating the cars in the car park was such a simple but effective idea, I can't see it catching on at Tesco anytime soon though.

Fully refreshed by iced coffee and time in the shade, we went in search of a noodle restaurant that had been recommended to us by Matt at the guesthouse. Finding it was an absolute nightmare though as a map in the restaurant car park seemed to direct us away from it. Eventually we asked someone though and they pointed us in the right direction.

These noodles were served cold with ice cubes, there was also a cold broth you could dip the noodles in. Initially I wasn't too sure about eating ice cold noodles but they tasted great and were so refreshing. At one point though I dropped a big cluster of the noodles down my shorts!

There were signs around the island directing you to Setouchi Triennale exhibits. We decided to track one down and in Kusakabe Port we found an exhibit by Xiang Yang called The shore where we can reach. 

You could open a door on the giant tower and take a look inside.

I don't actually recall buying this cake.

I do remember eating it though and it was pure custard cream heaven!

Not far from our guesthouse was the Twenty Four Eyes Movie Village, it pays tribute to both the novel and movie of Twenty Four Eyes, with a reconstructed film set for visitors to meander around at leisure. We hadn't seen the movie but decided to take a look around inside.

There was plenty to look at inside although having never seen the film it was difficult to identify what the relevance of some of the items were. A vintage movie theatre plays the film on loop, while one of the restaurants offers a retro Japanese school lunch from the Showa Era (1926-89).

The classroom set where moments later Ella posed as the teacher and I got behind the camera.

There was plenty to explore outside as well including these statues, a small canal and many gift shops. Definitely worth a look if you're visiting Shodoshima but I'd recommend watching the film first though.

As always we made our way down to the beach to enjoy a beer and the sunset.

The rocks on the beach were fascinating to study and home to some incredible things. 

After sunset we feasted on some 7-Eleven supplies we'd picked up earlier.

This condensed milk roll was pretty tasty, especially when warmed up in the microwave.

Coming soon... Day 15
Yokai Art Museum and onto Takamatsu

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Japanese Adventure, Chapter 4 - Day 13. Tonosho Port

I started the day with onigiri made at the guesthouse. As I ate them all I could think about was the abandoned Hotel Kankakeiso that we'd visited yesterday.

Straight after breakfast we cycled there to further explore it, this time visiting the 2nd and 3rd floors. The air inside was quite damp and making it slightly difficult to breath but here's the areas we took a look at.

First floor lift lobby.

Staff lift behind reception.

Hotel reception desk.

A room behind the reception desk where the room keys hung on the wall. It was pitch black in here so our phone torches were needed, a pretty spooky area!

A model train left in the reception area.

Vending machines on second floor lobby.

Karaoke machine on second floor corridor. The ceiling panels were all hanging off up here and the air was even damper.

Third floor guestroom with a sea view.

The bedding lay neatly folded in the guestroom wardrobes. After visiting this room we decided to leave the hotel as the damp air was getting too much. Such a fascinating place to explore though and I'm so glad we returned again to take a proper look.

Our plan for today was to catch a bus to Tonosho Port. Whilst cycling to the bus stop we noticed this signage outside a shop so decided to look inside.

The shop sold a vast range of products containing soy sauce. There were samples to try and the best thing we found here were mushrooms pickled in soy sauce.

We locked our bikes up outside the Olive Park and went inside to look at the Greek Windmill there which is featured in the film Kiki's Delivery Service. 

Next we jumped on a bus to Tonosho Port. We had hoped to visit some exhibitions here that were part of the Setouchi Triennale but didn't realise the exhibitions were closed on a Wednesday. This was a disappointment but as we'd be leaving the island from this port later in the week we figured we could take a look then. There were still temples and pagodas to visit in the town and the famous Angel Road where we headed next.

There are only two times per day that the tide goes out far enough to allow people to  cross Angel Road which leads to a tiny island. We had another 20 minutes to wait but Ella decided to paddle across and I followed her.

This turned out to be an excellent plan as the other tourists were waiting patiently to cross whilst we enjoyed a picnic with the entire island to ourselves. This was a beautiful spot to enjoy an ice cold can of Sapporo.

I enjoyed a bento box I picked up from a nearby Daiso store. 

For dessert a Taiyaki.

After our picnic we crossed Angel road which was now completely passable. On the other side we climbed the steps to a lookout point overlooking the Angel Road called Yakusoku no Oka, or the Hill of Promise.

A bakery in Tonosho Port lured us inside with it's display of cakes. The owner insisted we try their best seller, a custard filled cake. I can definitely understand why it was so popular!

I also tried a blueberry and cream cheese ice cream from 7-Eleven. Really big and so delicious, I loved the cream cheese element making it a bit like eating cheesecake.

Back at the guesthouse we hit the beach with some beers. Something we'd noticed each day was the music (shichōson bōsai gyōsei musen hōsō) which was played across the island at 5pm and again at 6pm. We found out that it was the islands emergency PA system being tested. The thinking is that as long as there’s going to be a daily test, it may as well be timed so it serves some other purpose, and reminding kids to head home before dark is a popular one.

We spotted lots of Sea Hares in the water and sometimes washed up on the beach. They lay eggs in long pink threads, which are deposited on seaweed and look a bit like pink spaghetti.

Once again we were treated to a beautiful sunset!

I bought an okonomiyaki from 7-Eleven which I heated up. It was surprisingly good and contained pork and shrimps.

Click here for Day 14
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