Short visit to Kumamoto.. ^^

This post was taken from my Facebook notes on mid July 2010 with some editing and some additional information.. ^^

The 7-hours-trip aaaalll the way to Kumamoto

The trip was some 出張/business trip for my experiment (for my research at lab). This time to Kumamoto in Kyushu.

There is this liposome (with Boron compound in it) that need to be injected to rabbit’s liver tumor for the cancer treatment evaluation. It was supposed to be sent by takyuubin (courier), but the preparation was a bit late that I have to bring it by myself. And since it’s liquid, and I cannot bring that amount of liquid on a plane, I had to take the train for about 7 hours from Tokyo… T_T

So I went and took that 7 hours densha/train trip –> 5 hours Shinkansen and 2 hours Tsubame express train to Kumamoto.

No one was sitting beside me from Tokyo until Shin Yokohama. Kinda relieved though, because sometimes it’d feel a bit awkward if someone unfriendly sat beside me :p But then an obaachan (a grandma) came and sat beside me when the train made a stop at Shin Yokohama-station. Her bag looked a bit heavy when she lifted it up, but when I tried to help her, she said “I’m OK”. While taking the seat she then asked me “do you speak English?”, and we then had a brief talk after I confirmed that I can speak English 😀

She was from Australia and going to Kobe to meet some friends. I guess she was on holiday. I was holding one of my lecture notes (because there were so many reports to do around that week) and then she said “sorry for interrupting your study” even though i didn’t read the notes at all that time.. :p

Then I fell asleep for almost one hour and when I woke up, I saw her reading a Japanese novel, なんで??Australiaから言ったのに?? -how come she can read a Japanese novel? she said she was from Australia??- She even ordered coffee with a very fluent Japanese! I was so curious that I asked her whether she learned Japanese or something, because she read some Japanese novel with the whole KANJI things and even speaks Japanese that fluent. Guess what, she said that her parents are both Japanese!! Well that means she’s actually a Japanese, who now lives in Australia. No wonder she can read that novel 😀

We got into quite long talks after that. She said her whole family moved to Australia about 25 years ago and she just currently got back to Japan to catch up with some friends. And you know what, she told me that she experienced culture shocks here! Her friends she visited was kind of “forcing” her to stay overnight at their house because they were enjoying their talk so much, even though that obaachan already said NO for so many times. She actually could understand that her friends were just trying to be kind, but she told me she already arranged another plan for the next day and cannot stay longer. Sepertinya halnya oma-oma kebanyakan ya, this grandma was very enthusiastic when she told the stories. She said she cannot imagine why Japanese people are always like that. Her friend even seemed to be so surprised of her refusal, a straight NO which is not common for Japanese people. Oh, I often experienced this as well. Culture shocks even happened to a real Japanese people naa.. 😀

Then I was sitting by myself after that grandma took off the train at Shin Kobe-station spending almost all my time sleeping :p

it was really sunny that day.. *photo taken from inside shinkansen*

I reached Kumamoto station around 5.30 p.m. The rain was falling so bad when I went to the hotel and I was thinking of giving up going to Kumamoto-castle. But after I checked in, the rain stopped and the sun was out again. Well, it was summer so 6 p.m. was still quite early 😀 The hotel was very close to Kumamoto castle, so I decided to go for a walk there. Too bad open hours of the castle is 8.30-17.30, so I couldn’t make it inside that afternoon.

So I just strolled around to the shopping area nearby the hotel to spend the time and to get some dinner of course 😀

it was a dog with its own dog-car (?)

mbak-mbak dengan jurus ninjanya di depan restoran Ninja 😀

I was picked up the next morning to go to the jikken/experiment place and watched operation for the usagi-san/rabbit  until around 12.30. Was taken for lunch at まごわやさしい restaurant by the person in charge in the facility. Some unique Japanese restaurant. The name was taken from the first letter of each ingredients they use in their recipe soo lazy to explain about the name of the restaurant because of the KANJI :p

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First floor of the restaurant

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One of the dolls around the tables on the second floor

After lunch, Mizumachi-sensei and Morita-san (the ones who were doing the usagi san‘s operation) gave me some omiyage/souvenir and called the taxi to take me to the airport. Aaaand… Maybe, maybe because they felt pity that I told them i couldn’t make it to Kumamoto-castle the previous day, they told the taxi driver to take me around the castle!! I thought i was just going to see the castle around from inside the taxi but the driver offered me to go inside and he’ll be waiting until 3 p.m! My flight was 4.40 p.m.

LUCKY, LUCKY, LUCKY!!! 😀

The Kumamoto-castle

up and close 😀

So I took one hour to go here and there inside the castle and again experienced loads of interesting things. *dalam hati mikir, mesti banyak-banyak bersyukur lu dek, akhirnya bisa masuk ke dalem castle juga, dari kemaren kesel-kesel aja gara-gara tiket berangkatnya dibeliin yangg rada siang dan jadi nyampe kesorean.. 😀

Kumamoto-castle is said to be one of the three premier castles in Japan along with Himeji-castle and Matsumoto-castle. *went to Himeji-castle already, but not to Matsumoto-castle yet, even though I’ve been to Nagano for three times -_-” will surely visit that castle next time!

According to wikipedia, the castle first fortification was around 1467. Current building is a reconstruction after large scale renovation on its 400th anniversary.

Kumamoto-castle miniature

And there is also a room in Honmaru Goten Palace where the decoration on the wall is made of gold. This room is a bit new compared to the other palace around the castle.

After I finished with the look-around and souvenir-shopping thing, the taxi took me to the airport. Went to the check-in counter but couldn’t get window side seat, guess I’m a bit late for check-in because of the visit to the castle 😀 When I went to the baggage-check counter I saw a girl who looked like an Indonesian, but I’m not the type of person who can a conversation with the person I just met.  So we spent few seconds just by looking at each other, smiling, but didn’t say anything :p Until finally I asked her, or she asked me, I don’t remember :p “dari Indonesia?“, and then we continued talking knowing that we’re from the same country 🙂

She was going to Tokyo for her experiment in Tokaimura, same nuclear reactor where I’m gonna do my experiment end of this month, what a coincidence! It’s good that I had a friend to talk to while waiting for boarding time. She studies Geology and even explained to me that Kumamoto airport is beside (or around, i don’t remember :p) the caldera. I didn’t remember what caldera was, think I’ve heard it somewhere before di pelajaran geografi jaman SMP ato SMA 😀 Found this information about Mt. Aso from Kumamoto prefecture website, guess this is the caldera thing she was talking about 😀

*di ruang tunggu kita malahan sampe gosip-gosip gak penting gitu berasa kayak udah kenal lama aja, hihi..

When we were about to reach Tokyo, I saw great view of Mt. Fuji with red sunset scene as its background. It was really breathtaking and I was sooo depressed that I couldn’t get window seat. Oh well, the camera ran out of battery already after all 😀

I also got an omiyage from Mizumachi-sensei who was doing the experiment there, and it tastes good ^^

Thinking of visiting Kumamoto once again in the future, Kagoshima seems to be quite interesting to be visited. Hope there’d be another experiment around south area of Japan so I can had short trip with free travel cost 😀

Some useful links:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4501.html

http://wikitravel.org/en/Kumamoto

PS: full album is available here

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