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Day Four: The day it all fell apart - Salvador Dali in a lawn chair.
I'm invisible without 3D glasses.
Day Four: The day it all fell apart
I really like Kagoshima. It's the heart of the Satsuma area which for some reason really strikes me as my favorite part of Japan with its history of political activity and culture and ideology. The home of samurai that defied and fought the shogun bring about the Meiji Restoration of the Emperor and who then defied that new government because of its martial force in Korea and bureaucratic corruption. Kagoshima sits across the water from Sakurajima, an active volcano that has erupted at least twice a week since 1955. Went to the Museum of the Meiji Restoration and learned about the role of the Satsuma region in a number of areas. The men of Satsuma defied the order of isolationism and sent young men to Europe to study science, math, language, etc. A Satsuma woman was the first to graduate from a Tokyo University, the Meiji museum had an entire section devoted to honoring the role of several women in the Meiji Restoration. I saw several cool pieces of armor and scrolls and lots of things I couldn't read. There was a robot-starring, theatre-lit history show that we watched but could barely understand, interesting though.

Walked halfway then took a streetcar the rest of the way. Kagoshima reminded me a lot of San Francisco and New Orleans with its street cars that run down the center of the road and run more frequently than the buses, all the monuments and statues, the cool breezes coming off the bay (well it's never breezy/cool in New Orleans, just Frisco). The historic nature of the Kagoshima and Satsuma is so apparent. The leaders of the Meiji Restoration and the Satsuma Rebellion were born and lived so close to each other. Looking at the map, it's easier to understand how these people felt so united and much like comrades that they shared the same ideology (well from what I know) and were able to die with fighting together. I could see Sakurajima, the volcano, very clearly on the way to the ferry. It stood so monstrously above the city, smoking from its latest eruption.

Found out the ferry was way more expensive than we thought, so Chris and Joe went to the island and the rest of the others agreed to meet at the train station at 9:00 PM. John and I took a cab (tired of walking with heavy bags) to the remains of the castle wall and bridge that now encloses a new museum. The castle was built without a large keep because the daimyo who built it said that Satsuma's strong hold was her people. Therefore the samurai lived very closely to their lord. The museum inside was awesome, covering everything from prehistoric to modern history. Unfortunately, nothing was in English and we only had 30 minutes to race through before it closed. There were many wonderful artifacts and armor and old clothes and pottery and old glassware and vases and models of daily life and such. It was truly wonderful and informative. I felt like I was learning more because I had to figure out what these things meant, why they were significant instead of having a pamphlet or display to spell it all out for me.

Ran into Loru and Camino where we were looking at the bullet holes on the wall from another rebellion. Walked to a memorial for men who died while following orders from the Shogun to build bridges and protect from floods. They lord of Satsuma order the memorial for the men who died. There was also a little path that led up to a strolling park and gave a great view of the city and Sakurajima. Found an "Italian" restaurant and had dinner. Ran into some girls from Israel selling jewelry in an open-air mall (perhaps dodging the draft) then went to wait for ages at the train station for the night train to Fukuoka. Talked about life and love and silly things. Met a girl from Canada who's been teaching English at a Japanese Catholic private school for two years. She was quite open with personal information, like about how slack her love life has been since she came to Japan and how she had to hide her tattoos and her entire story about how she wound up in the more geographically extreme areas of Japan. I could tell she was very excited about talking to people from back home. Caught the shinkanzen in Fukuoka and arrived in Osaka in less than three hours. At one point we were going 285 km/hour. Slept the whole way. Am disappointed that our trip was cut short but am completely exhausted and don't think I could have done much more. Will perhaps make a quick run to Tokyo to visit Kirk or just visit some castles around here.

mood: drained drained

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