Thursday, December 2, 2010


I was dying for a cup of coffee this morning. Unfortunately, the two Starbucks in the airport were closed at 6AM. Back at the hotel, I asked where I could get a cup of coffee and he pointed to a small store around the corner. I looked everywhere for a coffeemaker. Not finding one, I asked and the woman who pointed to a case on the back wall with lots of little cans. I said, No Hot. She said, Yes Hot! Well I’ll be, they are hot, quite hot. I grabbed a Tully’s and another one in case the Tully’s wasn’t so good. This is part of the fun, not being able to read labels and taking chances on new things. The Tully’s was fairly good. The one called Boss, not so much.

So far all the people have been very helpful and they laugh at my in ability to communicate and my lack of bowing etiquette. Other than the moments of panic from not being to read or understand anything, and the periodic thoughts of why I’m here, it’s been pretty enjoyable. I kind of like it.

I grabbed an earlier shuttle out of Kansai Airport than the woman at the JR office suggested. I thought the additional time would be helpful in Hineno. It just made it more confusing. Hineno is very small with 4 tracks and no Starbucks. With a little help and lots more bowing, I was able to find my track and was told several times where to stand. I think they like order here and having an XXL American wandering around instead of standing on his #5 is a little too much for them. All is made better with more bowing and smiling.

The Ocean Arrow

The train from Hineno to Kii- Katsuura cuts through some very beautiful country. I love the terraced farms and ocean views. Unfortunately, the locals have seen it all before and draw the curtains so I have to peak here and there. I’m looking forward to being away from the relentless recorded voices of the airport and hotel giving me instructions I can’t understand everywhere I went. With about an hour left on my train ride, I found an empty ocean side window seat. The views are fabulous. We passed many fisherman fishing for fish. I saw a large dark cloud ahead. As soon as we pulled into the Taiji Station it started to rain. The happy, sunny train ride was over.

The next stop was Kii-Katsura. I was cursing myself for packing too much. But, it got lighter when I saw Thomas’s smiling face at the entrance of the station. Outside, Martyn and Mia were waiting. If you make this trip and wonder how you’ll recognize the cove guardians, don’t worry, they all look alike.

I got “the tour”. The happiness I felt from the train ride and helpful people along the way was gone. This is place a of death, a place without compassion.

For the souls of the ocean


  1. Thanks for coming to Japan. Sorry to have to welcome you under these circumstances. You are all heroes.

  2. Mike, I'm enjoying reading these blogs. I will be traveling (from Seattle) to Taiji in about a week. I know everyone (so far) has gone through the ordeal of traveling alone to an unknown country and survived, but it's calming my nerves getting to read about it. :)

  3. Heather, I'm sorry I didn't see this before you left. I'm glad you found some comfort in it but I would have answered any questions you might have had. It looks like you are finding your way and taking great photos. It seems that you have a good group there. If you see Martyn, tell him to bugger off for me. I don't know what that means but he said it to me all the time. :)

    Thank you for going and sharing it with the world.