A Travellerspoint blog

October 2010

Where Do We Go... From Here?

Understand, we'll go hand in hand, but we'll walk alone in fear.

Drone, that is how to describe how I felt the next morning. It may also describe how I looked. Joe calls it my "Yoda eyes," the way they poof up around their tear ducts after I have cried myself to sleep. It was our last day at the hostel in Hiroshima, so we had to be out by 11am. But where were we going? I was supposed to have already planned that. I had vague plans of where I wanted to hit, but at the moment, I couldn't think of any of them. Joe took over, not out of want, but necessity. Beppu was on my list of maybes. It was on the southern "island" from this one, but in the north, so it was the next closest place. Mochan! told me to get a hold of his friend in the city next to Beppu and we could stay with her a few nights. However, we were doing this very last minute. We sent her an email asking not for tonight, but maybe tomorrow night. Tonight, maybe we would stay in Beppu. That city was known for its hot springs, one of the top three cities in all of Japan for its hot springs. The ride was going to be long however, maybe around 5 or 6 hours by
the bullet train, Shinkansen. We of course got a late start, leaving exactly as they were kicking us out, and then we waited a long while for the bus to come and pick us up. We had to let many busses pass us because we needed to pick up the JR bus, as our JR passes would get us on for no additional charge, or "free" as Joe puts it.

At the train station we discovered that we wouldn't be hitting Beppu until late in the afternoon, and by then many of the hot springs would be closed. "Well then, we better hurry." Was all I could think of to say. I didn't want to spend another hour working out where we should go. I just wanted out of this city.

On the train we sat in... normal conversation? I want to put silence here, because that was my mood. I didn't want to talk. I felt like shit. I felt that Joe felt that I was shit. But here we were, talking as if the past 3 days never happened. I hated that Joe could do that. I hated that I hated that Joe could do that. Why couldn't I just let it go? Holding onto it wasn't doing my mood any favors. But isn't he just brushing it under the rug? Won't that come back to bite us in the end? Did I care? Right now, I needed to worry about right now. The future could crash, burn, blow up, implode, whatever, just as long as right now I was taken care of. And right now, I needed a friend to talk to.

Once on the island of Kyushu we had to get off of the Shinkansen in Fukuoka and switch to the regular line. This train traveled gut wrenchingly slow. It stopped every few minutes, and slowly let passengers on and off. We were really not going to make it. But, eventually, as the sun began to set, we made it to Beppu. Joe actually led the way to the information desk, and he hurriedly looked to me and asked me to tell him how to say this that and the other thing. I was complacent, but I wasn't completely unhelpful. I turned to the woman and asked her what we should do in Beppu if we only had the afternoon to do it. She told me that we had to see the Red and Blue Hell hot springs. She showed us pictures, and one hot spring looked like someone pored blue Poweraid into it, and the other truly looked like Hell. "Demo..." she began, and then said something else, and then "Go-ji han desu." "But I think she said they cose at 5:30." We only had time for one, and even then, we would only get in maybe a half hour before it closed. "Arigato-goziimasu." I thanked the woman and we headed back out to the train. She informed us that the springs were actually closer to the stop before downtown Beppu, so we had to backtrack.

Once off the train again, we decided to buy a locker and ditch our luggage while we waited for the bus. "You can't miss it!" The train station operators told us after we asked which bus to catch to the hot spring. "Get off at the stop where you see the plum of smoke near the top of the hill!" It sounded easy enough, and it was. We made it to the Red Hell spring with just about a half hour to view it. We decided on the red hot one since we had seen things similar to the Blue Hell in Yellowstone.


We paid about $5 to get in...


But you couldn't actually "get into" the hot spring. It was a look only spring (bummer) because it is so hot, that it actually boils the red clay, which give it the red coloration.


You could however, dip your feet in the natural hot spring pool they had going next to the hot spring. It was cute, they had the little hot spring demon sitting there with you while you boiled your feet in the cooler water.


And from there you can look out at the hot spring and the demon table and chair set.


They also had gardens and coy fish and waterfalls all around the hot spring, so the whole area was very beautiful.


You can see Joe over there in the background, meditation between the hot spring and the waterfall.

And here is a video of Joe interacting with the Japanese tourist business men who apparently know the secrets of the magic fire.

Then the place was closing, and we had to leave without ever getting to strip down naked and take a really hot bath. This was upsetting to us, and some of the Japanese people there picked up on our vibe, and told us that there was a very nice Onsen just up the road that uses pretty much the same water that flows through this hot spring. Its not red of course, but its not a tourist place either, so it is very cheep and a good way to get to see the real Japan. Okay, we were sold.


We basically followed this creek all the way up the road, and it was just beautiful. The Japanese really did know who to work some fung sue.


Then, hidden off the side of the road, a temple gate:


(The building behind the water shed is the Onsen: )


And now, of course, I don't have any photos. Joe went into the man's side, and I the women's, and we stayed there for one hour, and it only cot $1.5 each. There were several baths inside, and one bath outside. I preferred to sit in the outside one b/c I was alone in the outdoor one, I could see the tops of the forest trees all golden and green, and did I really need any more reason than that? I almost passed out in the sauna (real log sauna outside next to the hot spring), a place I ducked into after 2 old women had entered about 5 minutes earlier, and they still stayed in there after I fumbled my way out. I was glad they were still in there when I left however, because I would be nervous to be left in there alone. I fumbled with the handle a bit, as the wood was held together quite firmly, but I managed.

Joe was bout 5 minutes late meeting me outside, even after he promised he would leave the Onsen early to make sure he was on time, but I told him I didn't care, and I didn't. It was behind me. Caring about making it to places, about not walking the streets at night, about anything, was beyond me at this point. I was back to being a drone, which was apparently better than who I was when I had a decent personality.

On the way back down to the bus stop Joe found a fruit tree (they are everywhere in Japan), and stopped for dinner.


And, I can't forget to mention that there is always a vending machine selling drinks, even in the middle of nowhere.


You'll never find one with candy bars or chips, but no matter where you are, you can always get a tea, coffee, juice, soda, or water, and yes, most of the time you can choose if you want the heated can or the chilled one.

Back at the bus stop we made a solemn pledge to each other to always check when the last bus was going to be running past our stop as we were about 10 minutes away from the last bus to head back to the train station, and we were up in the hills some where with no idea how to get back to the station with all of our things locked inside its lockers.

Luckily everything worked out, and we made it back to the train station with no problem. We got our stuff out of the lockers, and then decided to head back to downtown Beppu where we might be able to find a cheep hotel or hostel easier.

Posted by - Rain 17:03 Comments (0)

War Criminals

Nothing like heavy a dose of mass torture to make your troubles pale in comparison.

Today we headed out into the morning overcast to tour around the Hiroshima memorial sights. First off we made our way to the Atomic Bomb Dome, the symbol for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.


Here they had free tour guides walking around with booklets of information and pictures that you could be taken through. Joe and I joined a group from Australia listing to one man speak. He was a survivor of the blast, a mere child at the time, but his mother was a survivor as well. He told us her story of how she was at home, outside the main city, and how she was waiting in desperate hope for her husband to come home as they watched their city burn. Here is a link to her memoir:

My Father's Sixth of August, 1945 in Hiroshima, Japan

Hiroshima story -- Mito Kosei and his family

In February, 2009 our guide at the Hiroshima Peace Park, Mr. Mito Kosei received an award from the Hiroshima International Cultural Foundation. The Foundation presented awards to two groups and two individuals to honor their efforts to promote international relations.

Because of his strong belief that everyone should know what happened in Hiroshima, Mr. Mito became a volunteer guide in the Hiroshima Peace Park in 2006, when he retired as a high school English teacher. He has guided 46,300 visitors (including 9,500 foreign visitors from 115 countries). He is now teaching trainee guides how to guide in Japanese and English.

Mr. Mito sent us the story that his mother, Mrs. Mito Tomie, had written about that fateful day when the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Mr. Mito said, "Please read her story and remember Hiroshima."

And here is a picture of Joe and Mito:


He guided us through photos of the buildings, and drawings made by children of people who resemble bloody zombies more than citizens of Hiroshima. He also told us about the experiments done on the survivors of Hiroshima. Of how they had control groups much grater in number to the treated groups not due to lack of treatment facilities or medicines, but simply out of scientific curiosity. "What happens next?" They would continue bringing in survivors to check how their growths were forming, how their pain was increasing, how their health was depredating, while stock piles of aid were stacking up. They did this because the effects of being hit by the nuclear blast were so vast, that almost every person exhibited different reactions depending on the dosage they received, their age, their genetics, the list goes on and on. But maybe worst of all, a fact I never knew, the United Stated of America has yet to submit an apology to Japan for committing this wartime atrocity. How can we stand tall, take the moral high ground, and say we are the land of the free, home of the brave, and yet drop 2 nuclear bombs on civilian cities, torturing / killing almost 200,000 people, and never, not even 65 years later, admit that doing so was wrong.

And here is my Hiroshima rant, feel free to skip down to the next part

International law that expressly forbids targeting the civilian population. But I guess that doesn't matter since the Geneva Convection was signed after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So it was okay? Right?

I think you will have to agree with me that it is not okay, and so why have we not apologized for this yet? If Americans were living in Japan, and they forced them to live in internment camps, and if they nuked Honolulu and Seattle, would we have ever forgiven them? They attacked navy bases, and we retaliated by attacking their civilian populated cities.

But here is the key: they have forgiven us without our apology.

This is why I assumed that we had apologized for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They have forgiven us, so we think that everything must be okay. Japan has very good relations with the USA, so we must have apologized. But we have not. We would never forgive them if they did to us what we did to them, plain and simple. Not even if they submitted a formal apology. But they have forgiven us, and I think that is why we are off the hook. I think that if the Japanese weren't so Buddhist about what happened, then the international community, if not the American people themselves, would have a huge outcry for the USA to atone for this unspeakable evil. We are a Christian nation (apologies for everyone who disagrees), so shouldn't we repent?

And here is my last point on this rant I'm having: We did not bomb the Japanese because of what they did to us, or to the Chinese, or to end the war with them. We bombed them to show Soviet Russia what we can do if they cross us.

Winston Churchill:
"It would be a mistake to suppose that the fate of Japan was settled by the atomic bomb. Her defeat was certain before the bomb fell."

It was not necessary for the war with Japan to drop the atomic bomb. Not even once. But we did it twice. Why? To prove to Russia that we could. This wasn't a one time deal. We have this weapon, and we can use it again and again. Now how many people want to argue that Japan should apologize for Pearl Harbor before we apologize for doing something to them because we are worried about Russia? We didn't attack their cities because of anything they had done, we did it to prevent the Russians from becoming aggressive towards us. The Japanese just gave us the excuse we needed to do what we wanted to do in the first place. In all fairness, Germany would have been the better choice for the bombs, but they never gave us the excuse. They never attacked our soil. And so, it was the Japanese who suffered and died at our self righteous hands, and we still cannot say we are sorry.

End of Hiroshima rant


The above memorial is for all of the children who died in Hiroshima, and for all of the ones who survived, either mutilated, diseased, or healthy but whose futures were cut down, and dashed into so many little peaces as it was up to them to clean up the dead, to scrape for food, to become the head of so many broken households. These children never had a chance to be children, so this is their memorial. Hung from it are so many colorful origami swans that children string up to this day to honor these brave children.


Here you can see Joe touching concrete that survived the blast. Since the bomb exploded in the air, and not on the ground, most everything was struck by the energy blast, hence why the city was caught on fire more than disintegrated.


It was raining hard now, and so Joe and I stayed inside this memorial. It takes you down a circling ramp with writings on the walls, taking you slowly back in time. At the base you enter the room you have been circling, and in the middle is another clock, like the above one, but eerily lit with a lime green light, and a blue hue around its base where water pools from the fountain that runs down its sides. Then as you walk around the room, you can see a panorama of the city after the bombing. It is hard to pick out any buildings other than the Atomic Dome. Most others are so far beyond destroyed. Then beneath the photographs of the city, are the names of the families who lived in those areas. They had benches in this room where you can just sit and take it all in. Joe and I did this as we mimicked so many other people who walked into this room with us. We held each other. Nobody walked through this room like so many other museums, hands either held behind their back as they observed, or pointing out areas of interest. Everyone held onto someone else. This was not a room to be alone in. It was a room to hold onto the person next to you, and let them know that you are glad to be alive with them in this moment in time, forever paused at 8:15am.

After we left the room it was still raining really hard, so we spent maybe an hour in the memorial library, sitting at the computers, watching documentaries, looking through photos, and listening to people talk about how they were there, how they remember how their clothes clung to their skin, and they couldn't tell where their clothes stopped, and their body started. It was horribly depressing, and the rain pounded on the tin roof as a constant reminder that it ain't any better outside of this tomb.

When I finally couldn't take it anymore, we hid through the trees for the museum.


At the museum Joe bought us some chocolate, and I got us a hot, thick, sweet green tea.


That is the peace drum given to Japan from Korea. It was all we really had time to see since the museum was closing in 5 minutes, and we both agreed that it was probably better that way. We had seen and heard enough for the day, and it was nice to end on that note.


Next to the Peace Park was an out door/ in door shopping mall, so we walked around and searched for some new shoes for Joe, some vegetables for dinner, and cookies. I decided that we needed cookies. Joe was really hungry at this point, but I couldn't really think of lunch, and then we found a happy compromise, something that we both really needed that day. We found our first Japanese Subway! Joe got his foot long sub, and I got my 3 cookies and a juice box of milk.

Then, as the rain was letting up, we walked back to our hostel, and we held each other. He kept rubbing his hands up and down my arm as I shivered because of the cold, or at least that is what I told myself it was because of. The wind bit through me that day, and my body had no defenses to it, none other than Joe's warm body curled around my own. I was grateful for our civility. Even though Joe hadn't made a formal break up, in my mind, we may as well have been. Thats just the way I operated. But I still could take in small pleasures, tiny comforts that made me not go screaming into the night, and right now, Joe's arm around my shoulder was all that was stopping me from doing just that.

We popped open the lap top at the hostel in the cafeteria since we couldn't use it together as we had male and female separated dorms. But we were the only ones at the hostel at the time, so we camped out on the long cushioned benches, lying down on our sides, Joe holding me from behind, and we watched several episodes of Castle.

That evening while Joe was continuing his financial brawl with his bank/ credit card he skyped with my mom, and this is when I lost that lingering warmth I had inside from our day of holding and mourning. "No Vanessa, I'm serious!" Joe was talking to my mom about the money from his account that was supposed to be transferred into my Key Bank. Japan had hit my bank account hard as we were planning on using some of Joe's money when we got to Japan, but his bank has apparently shut his account down b/c someone keeps trying to get into it from all these different Asian countries (strange, right?). We finally had my mom scrounge up some blank checks we each made before leaving, and had her fill one out to me from Joe's account. This seemed to have worked, as my bank accepted the check, and the funds were being processed. So we couldn't use his ATM card, but we could just transfer funds from his bank to mine, and then transfer those funds into the AAA travel Visa card for us to use at ATM's. My bank account was below 1,000 dollars, so we couldn't use any of those funds to reload our AAA card b/c I needed money in there to pay my credit card bill that was getting sizable since we didn't have any money on the AAA card. But, my mom had transferred almost all the money I had in my account into the AAA card while Joe's check processed, and normally that would be fine, but I had a credit card being paid at the exact time that the money would be gone from my Key Bank, and Joe's money would yet to be transferred into it! "Mom, you needed to transfer the money from Joe's account into the AAA!" Joe stopped me again. He would not let me go in front of the computer. "She's my mother!" "Yes, and your upsetting her!" We had a hushed argument away from the computer that even if I talked calmly and rationally, it would only make matters worse, and that he was handling it. He said that me talking with her would only upset her, and that just by hearing my voice for those few sentences I got off before he silenced me, she was sent into a teary panic. "You are just like your father!" Something caught in my throat, I couldn't breath, as if the wind had been knocked out of me. This was not the first time I had heard those words spoken to me. All defiance in me wilted and died.

My voice, just the sound of my voice, for those few moments before Joe leaped out of his chair and hushed me up, caused my mother to crumble apart. What kind of a monster was I? Who am I? What was I?

I am a self righteous, bully.

I am an American.

I am Rain, no, I am Vanessa.

Why wasn't I Rain yet? Or better yet, why was Rain seeming like worse of a person than Vanessa ever was? Whats in a name? Something deeper, something more core needed altering, I needed to be someone else. Who I was, wasn't a person. Joe didn't want to even look at me anymore, my mom didn't want to hear me anymore, I was all alone.

All alone, due to no other fault, than who I am, what I am. Is it to late to say I'm sorry? Would the people in my life be like Japan? I think they already have been. How many times can I be forgiven without apologizing? I think Joe may have a number, or at least he has a time. 4 years.

Posted by - Rain 16:06 Comments (2)

Happy Birthday, I Hate You

What is it about adult birthdays?

I woke up today and decided that I was finally ready, I want to write about this.

The morning had a strange taste of bitter sweet feelings, twangy mixture that you could sometimes get a hint of in your birthday cakes loaded with too many candles as your parents attempt to make it a magical cake like it once was when you were a child. But now, you know its just a cake, and something about it both depresses you, and makes you feel loved, supported, and special all at the same time. Do we ever really realize that there is more magic in a cake made with love than that "etherial" magic that is indescribable and unknowable which you experienced as a chid? I think we all hope that, and say that in our heads, but do we really, truefully, FEEL that?

"Do you want some grapes?"
I got up to get some coffee, then sat back down.
"Where did you get that?"
"Over there." I pointed to the machine.
"You know, we have instant coffee packets, and free hot water, you should really use those."
"... I know, I just wanted something with milk in it, I'm tired of bad black coffee."
"I could have made you something, we have sugar, and I'm sure we could borrow some cream from the kitchen."
I just nodded. I didn't want to fight. It was his birthday. FUCK! I should have already said that shouldn't I? SHIT! Now it was going to be awkward when I said it. Do I say it with a smile? Do I mean it? Did I want him to have a happy birthday? Yes, of course I did. But did I particularly care if today, it if wasn't for it being his birthday, was happy? No, I really didn't give a rats ass. I was mad at him, irritated by him, and I think he feels the same way about me, but just won't allow himself to know. He is "always happy," whatever that means. I am so cynical at this point, I can't wrap my mind around anything he says. We get up and clean our bags of food.

"So... Happy Birthday?"

Joe and I walked in silence to the bus stop, and then I sat there waiting for the bus while he walked off somewhere to do Kung Fu. The exhaust from the road was bothering him, so he disappeared behind some bushes. "God Damn IT" I thought to myself as I watched bus after bus pass me by. It was 7:30am, 30 min later than I wanted to catch the bus. We were told to get to the Miyajima island around 8am to have the magic of having the whole place to ourselves for an hour or so. This was exactly what Joe has said he wanted for his birthday, a beautiful old Japanese village that acted like pre-industrial Japan. With no other tourists in the streets, it would just be us wondering throughout this old preserved town on a small island covered in beautiful mountains. Supposedly, Miyajima was one of the 3 most romantic places in Japan. 3, being the number of places always associated with something famous.

I was already irritated though, it was barely sunrise, and I already knew that this place was going to be waisted on our mood. Then the bus came. "JOE!" I had no idea how to tell the driver to wait for my friend. "Choto mate, watashi no tomodachi..." "One moment, my friend..." I pointed out of the bus to the sidewalk. Then Joe appeared in a jog. "Okay" The bus driver told me holding his first finger to his thumb, lifting the three others behind. I showed him my JR pass, and then I took a seat while Joe fumbled to get his secret pouch out, and then slowly work the pass out from that. "Okay, Okay, Okay," the bus driver said as he waved Joe not to bother getting the pass all the way out.

I sighed loudly, and Joe sat in the seat across from me. "Okay," I said, obviously hurt. "Okay what?" he asked, obviously hurt as well. "Look I know you don't want to sit with me b/c I'm annoyed, but come on! You could have done Kung Fu at least somewhere where you could see me and I could easily see you, and then you could have already had your bus pass out since you knew you were going to need it, you just make everything so..." I couldn't think of the word. Joe took that as a sign that I didn't mean what I was going to say. It was just the opposite. I meant it so much, that I couldn't even think straight. He explained to me how everything was "Okay," and how I was stressing out over nothing, and how he is just being himself, and on and on and on. I told him "Okay, Okay, Okay!" And we both let it go... or did we?

We took a train a few stops over to the ferry. The morning was beautiful.


Joe and I were both smiling once the ferry started. "Get that!" We kept saying to one another depending on who had the camera at the time. We were happy. Pain and sorrow washed away by the boat ride to this magical island. The morning breeze whisked through our hair, and the day was starting out clean of every worry or expectation. We made it, and it was great.


And getting off the ferry, we realized that we really did have the place almost entirely to ourselves.


Well, us, and the deer.


We were taking pictures of the red shrine in the water, when another couple came up to us. "Picture?" they asked us as they held out their hand, indicating that they would take a picture of the two of us. I faltered just then. Do we take a picture together? Do we pose, holding each other as we so often did? I looked to Joe, and he shrugged his shoulders, nodded, eyebrows raised and lower lip puffed out. He handed them the camera, and then wrapped himself around me. I melted. Would we really be okay? Was that all it took? Was this all we needed?


This temple is also supposed to be in the water, but it was low tide.


You had to pay to get in, so we decided to come back to this one later when the water was a bit higher.


We aimlessly hicked up a stone path and we found this beautiful old looking temple with plane, unpainted wood. Admittance opened in 2 minutes, so we were the first, and only ones in line.


Inside the ceiling was lined with all sorts of wooden carvings and paintings.


Joe and I wondered around, heads towards the sky, pointing out all the daemons we recognized from Inuyasha, one of our favorite anime shows.


Then other people started showing up, and I felt the push to move on before the island was swarming with tourists.
"Are you ready to move on?"
"Not yet."
I explained to him that we really needed to move on b/c while we did pay to get in, I would rather get to see more of the island by ourselves than see more of this place to get "our moneys worth" b/c remember, money doesn't matter. I thought I would really get him on my side with that one, and he told me not to rush him, and he started wondering around, looking at things we've already looked at. I hate you so much! Surprise attacked my seances. I could actually see the physical signs of hatred in the furrowing of my eyebrows, the hunch of my shoulders, the balling of my fists. I hated him, I really truly, deathly hated him! Why? Why did I feel this way? I don't want this! I don't want to hate him! I don't want to hate anyone! Why do I have this inside of me! I want it out! "JOE!" He looked at me intently. I was about to cry, and he knew it, even though no tears were forming, he could see the look of pure desperation in my eyes. I told him everything that just happened in that past minute. "I don't want to hate you!" Tears should have been flowing down my cheeks at that point... by they weren't. I grabbed his arms and tucked myself into his chest, a move that I do when I can't bear to have him look at me anymore, because looking at him, looking at me, is one of the worst mirrors in the world when I am like this. I hold him like I might die if I let go, and he, if it is possible, seemed to be motionless. Not a breath taken, not a mussel moved. I pulled away from him. I know how much he hates it when I bury my head into his chest when we are fighting. Its comforting for me, but an isolating move from him, with his head and eyes free to look around the world above me and wonder "what am I doing here?"
"Thats not normal." He told me, and began walking again. I walked beside him and tried to explain myself, and tell him how I wanted to change, and how I don't really hate him, but that I just hear myself saying it under my breath a lot recently.
"You've done this before?"
The shock in his face hurt me somewhere I think may have once been my heart. I wasn't thinking, at least not about him, I was just saying how I've felt, and how that makes me feel, and how I wish... I wish... I wish I could take it all back. But, it was too late.

We left the temple in silence, neither of us able to speak. He was that angry/ upset/ shocked/ I don't know b/c he wouldn't talk to me. I started out scared, then I turned to angry. My body warmed to the though. Angry was better than afraid. "Can I have the camera?" I asked at one point, completely void of emotion. The words even sounded tired to me. Great. I moved from angry straight into exhaustion, and it wasn't even 10 am yet.


"Wait one sec." I told him as we walked by a shop with little Russian dolls. At least they seamed like Russian dolls, you know, the ones that unscrew to reveal another doll shaped container, then another, and another, etc. It was a beautiful purple, and I thought that maybe Jessica would like it. She always liked it when my parents would wrap something small in several larger boxes. I found it irritating, but she seemed to enjoy the charade. But these dolls weren't openable, they were just shaped funny. I could tell that Joe was anxious to keep walking, so I hurried up away from the store.

"Okay, never mind," but he was already about 10 paces ahead of me.
"I'll just see you this afternoon then. Lets meet at the ferry at 4?" He was so stern, it was my turn to be shocked.
"You want to go shopping, and I want to explore the rest of the island, so we should split up, you don't seem to want to hang out with me today anyways, so lets meet at the docks sometime this afternoon."

Again, so stern, so out right bold, I couldn't breath. I didn't know what to say. I started walking over to a bench past the sidewalk near the water, and I just collapsed. He wanted to split up? That would be okay on any other day, strange for us b/c we seem to have this sick need to spend every waking and not waking moment together this trip, but okay. But today was his birthday, and I had all these little things planned. We were going to actually go to a restaurant together, and I already knew how to ask the waitress to put a candle in green tea ice-cream for his birthday, and it was going to be great b/c he wouldn't be able to understand a word I said to her. These were the things floating around in my head. I couldn't even think about what he had said. I just kept thinking about the rest of the day I had planned, and how it was never going to happen, not even if we decided to stick together.

"Let me get this straight," I decided to say.
"You want to spend your birthday alone b/c I took a few seconds to look in a shop for a souvenir for my sister?" I was getting pissed again, bully for me.
"No, thats not what I said..." and he continued a long riddle of reasons that he would rather spend his birthday alone than spend it with me. Ouch. Ouch in so many ways. And then, the big one.

"I don't think we should be together anymore. I'm not saying I want to break up now, b/c now isn't the right time, but we don't fit anymore, and I think that we should break up in the future."

Now, finally, after hours of building, the tears finally came. I broke down in a huge mess of sobbing. I can't remember what I said, or what he said, or what color the sky is or what food tastes like. Lost, lost was all I could describe the next 30 minutes of my life. Questions thrown from both sides about what does this mean, what does that mean, how could you do this after all we have been through, how can you keep treating me like this after all we've been through, can we really keep going through all of this, are we right for each other, have we ever been right for each other, was this trip a huge mistake, I love you, but I can't stand to be with you, I love you so much, I can't take being around you anymore, why can't we just start over, how many tries do we get, why can't I stop crying, why don't you care, gasp gasp gasp, then a sigh from a breath that was only recently discovered as being held. People were beginning to trickle past us on the side walk. I wonder how much of it they understood, or if they even needed to understand english to know what we were talking about, if talking is what you could describe our actions as.

"I don't want you to go."
"... then walk with me."

And simple as that, we got up, and started walking.


Then we passed a shop making Takoyaki, and we were very tempted to come back here and buy some when they opened. (We needed a sweet breakfast treat.)



We stumbled upon the most beautiful and our favorite temple of the trip. I think that you may have had to pay to get in, but Joe and I had been wondering through the forests for so long and far, that I think we just appeared onto the temple from a place that nobody would think tourists would come, so we just entered and walked around.


Inside this temple they were holding a ceremony, similar to the one we went to in Hawaii. It was some form of Shinto Zen, as they were changing each syllable of the prayer to the beet of the drum. I did not want to go in at first, so I agreed to wait outside while Joe sat in on the ceremony. Then after about 5 minutes, I sat down in back on a square pillow and joined in on the bowing as well.


Here we ran into the Australian girls who were taking up all the info desks time yesterday when we needed to book a place to stay as well. We made nice with them for a minute, and then moved on.


As we were hiking up the river next to the temple, Joe brought up one of the reasons he had been moody with me lately. "I was hurt when you told Eelke that she was your spiritual guru."
"What? Why?"
"Because when she tells you the same things that I've told you,"
"She didn't"
"You treat her like she is something amazing, and you treat me like everything I say is bull shit."
"You know thats not true,"
"It is True!"
<arguing ensues>
"But my point is, that I don't feel bad about it anymore b/c I figured out that she is simply just what you needed."
"I do need a guru, and it can't be you, you can't always be my teacher,"
"I know that now, and I know why too. You need someone you can respect, and Eelke is older than you, and I am younger, so that makes sense, and she is also a woman, and you can connect with her better and take her advice more b/c its not a man telling you, which is fine, and I am not upset."
"You aren't upset?!?! You have basically boiled down what was probably one of the most spiritually important moments of my life into, 'Its because she is older than you and a woman' and you have the nerve to reassure me that you aren't upset? As if I could give a shit?!"

Now we have a huge, large, enormous fight where neither one of us raises our voice, and in fact, we have to ask each other what the other said sometimes because the tones we were speaking in were so hushed and erie I can hardly think about it without getting goosebumps. And this was the moment I knew, I was not going to fight for us. We were not the people we were at the beginning of this relationship. The Joe I fell in love with is not this same person. We have been holding onto a dream. I cannot be in love with this person any more. I will not fight for us. It is all up to him now. Fate will decide. If he fights for us, if he changes his mind, then we may work this out yet, but if he doesn't, then we are over, finished, broken up. I cannot love this person anymore, and yet I will love him for the rest of my life. I knew, right then, that maybe he felt the same, and so for the next how every many days or weeks it would take for it to be the "right time" for us to break up, we would wait for the other one to make a move. We would hold our battle formation at the ready, and the fight for our relationship would never begin. How long can we wait on this battlefield before these opposing forces get tired of waiting, and need to go home? Where is home for my forces? Home has been defined for so long as the place where Joe and I were... that now I don't know if I have a home to go to... now, am I truly homeless?

These questions were tiring, but we move on and up the stairs along the river of boulders to the waterfall near the top.


Up this path we hopped the fence and crossed over the boulders to this immensely powerful waterfall. It was narrow, like a large shower, but it came from quite high, so the crash seemed to be from a much larger waterfall. There was also a section of it that fanned out over a large flat stone that created this curtain of water at about head height. Joe climbed up on top of one of the boulders near the top of the waterfall, and I climbed down into the base of the waterfall and dunked my feet into the river. We were both exhausted from getting up at 6:30 this morning after getting in so late the night before, and from the emotional baggage we had just been through again, that we both fell asleep for almost 2 hours.

Afterwards, it was time to get some food. But first, I had to get out from the base of these boulders, and my rock climbing skills are much better on the way down then they are on the way up. I slipped, and rocks crumbled from beneath my hands and my feet, the higher I climbed, the further from the other side of the boulders I would get. I needed to get onto this one, long, steep angled smooth rock, but every time I'd get near it I would slide in some way. Joe eventually helped navigate me towards it, and when I almost had my body on it, I started to slip. "Get the weight of your whole body on it!" He called to me, but that would mean I would have to talk my leg off the side of the rock where I had an almost decent foot hold... but then that broke, and I began to slide. "Nooo!" I pulled my leg onto the rock beside my other leg, just to act as weight so friction could keep me from sliding off. Joe eventually made his way over and by pressuring beside and below me, I was able to stabilize and get down from the rocks and across the river. You would think this experience would bring us closer, the clinging and holding of each other would light some sexual feelings, but it didn't. I was going to be okay with or without getting down safely. Just one way involved getting wet and possibly some bruises and scrapes I could live without. And Joe was just doing his thing, that he would do with any friend, he was helping them with athletics. He was a rock climbing instructor. Platonic, friendly, and that was that. Acceptance.

Now, time for food. We walked to a restaurant that had plastic representations of their food outside, and we ordered Chicken Katsu curry with rice and a large crushed ice green tea and red bean desert.


So much yum.


BTW, this next picture is posed b/c we kept making this face as we would take a scoop and and avalanche would fall onto the table.


Then we went around and looked at some of the neat shops they had.


Joe particularly liked this wood carving shop.


Then we went hiking some more on our way back to the main temple by the red shrine in the water.



It was getting late, and if we were in a romantic mood, I would have pushed to stay until night fall b/c this place supposedly lights up like some Italian villages at night, but we weren't so we caught the next ferry into town, and then took the train back into Hiroshima where we searched for a place to get dinner... and Joe found what he absolutely had to have for his 25th birthday...


I don't know if you can tell, but there are 10 beef patties on that thing! I helped out by eating one and a half of them, and yes, I did get yelled at for that half b/c I ate more than one, and I ate it with bread. "I need that bread! I have 5 more patties to go and thats all the bread I have left!" He ate it open faced four patties on one side and four and a half on the other. I bought him some spinach at the grocery store that was next to the restaurant as well as some juice to drink that sucker down with. It took him a while to eat the monstrosity, but he did it, and now he had all the energy in the world to convert all of that "protean" into mussel as we waited for the bus back to the hostel.

Posted by - Rain 18:06 Comments (2)

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