“Your mission, Planetross, should you decide to accept it,
is . . . to go to Shikoku and see if anyone is really there at all.
As always, should you or any member of your P.R.
Force be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow
any knowledge of your actions. This toilet will
auto-flush in five seconds.”
You know Shikoku … one of the 4 main islands of Japan. If Japan was a band, Shikoku would be the bass player.
I freely admit my knowledge of Shikoku is spotty.
I know that: it’s kind of roundy on the map, it’s connected to Honshu by 3 bridges, it has 88 temples that you can visit, if you’ve got loads of time … and really like temples … and I’m not talkin’ ’bout those Shirley type ones … or those ones on your head.
I asked my co-pilot “don’t put me on your blog … unless I’m distorted and yawning” what Shikoku had to offer. She said, “it’s kind of roundy on the map, it’s connected to Honshu by 3 bridges, and it has 88 temples“.
She said she used to work with someone from Shikoku once and they were nice, but sometimes arrived at work 5 minutes late.
After that scary story, I rolled up my window and locked the doors.
On arrival, I could tell these Shikokuites were going to be a sarcastic bunch. I liked them immediately.
They were a bit out of fashion though. But I could live with that because …
they had giant bonsai trees everywhere!!!!
With only one day to see anything, the decision was made to go to Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture.
It was a tough decision about where to go first:
Ritsurin Koen (not in the top 3 parks to visit in Japan, but an edgy contender to nudge out the top 3 and my garden),
Yashimaji Temple (#84 of the 88 big ones),
Shikokumura (old building from around Shikoku).
We went Ritsurin Park first because it was nearest … and the other 2 attractions were close together about 5 km away … and we didn’t really care about them that much other than day fillers.
Ritsurin Park was great: giant bonsai everywhere, little bridges conveniently located in areas between land, and even ice cream vendors!
Next stop was the Temple which was pretty good to wander around. All I remember about it was a surviving apple/cherry tree planted by some monk about 800 years ago. He wrote, “If someone asks ‘What tree is this?”, tell them ‘It is my tree.‘” … selfish bastard.
After that I said stuff like:
“If someone asks whose van is this? Tell them it is Ross’ van.”
” If someone asks whose gum this is? Tell them it is Ross’ gum.”
“If someone asks whose smell this is? Tell them it is the dog’s smell.”
The sleeper attraction was definitely “Shikokumura”.
It started with a cool bridge.
And then went on to produce a sugarcane farm building, a No theatre, old farmhouses, a very old soy sauce factory, ….
old fishing equipment stuff for catching octopuses … or octopi if you are being anal, and even a lighthouse which supposedly was erased from all Japanese maps during WWII because it was very important. I didn’t take a photo of it … because why break tradition.
During the evening I visited the longest covered shopping arcade in Japan; visited a nice bar/restaurant which had great seafood, but pretty crappy chicken, and saw this little “Butaman” (pork dumpling shop) which reminded me of Peter Gabriel’s “Steam“.
The next morning, it was back on the road with only one more stop before back home for rest … and an end to this serialized series.
I’d like to say that I was at highspeeds when I snapped this big rig’s doll collection, but I think my mirror gives me away.
Another traffic jam!
Finally there was the bridge off of Shikoku … and a big Ferris Wheel!
Overall this one day trip to Shikoku was just a teaser. If I’m still blogging next year this time … or this year next time, it will probably be about a return visit to Japan’s secret island and all the amazing stuff that is … Shikoku!
note: the last installment of this series is last … and next! … and then it will be back to little short small tiny quick fast speedy stuff … hopefully.
double note: little short small tiny quick fast speedy stuff actually takes more thinking than these big long tall lothargic gigantic loquatious lengthy big things.