101018During the night (and presumably as we left the shelter of the bay in Kagoshima) the typhoon induced swell rocked the boat around quite violently.  It was moving me around as I was laying on the floor, making sleep a challenge.  The ferry made its first stop (of about seven) at a port at 4:30AM.  At least this gave us a break from the waves and allowed us to get some sleep.

All the motion was making Risa feel quite ill, and even I was starting to feel slightly queasy.  Though, my biggest problem was my empty stomach.  In our rush to get back to the ferry early, we’d forgotten to buy food for today.  We’d also forgotten to buy fuel for the ‘cub (but more on that later).  There is a restaurant and a small convenience store on the boat, but the restaurant was shut until lunch-time (I’m guessing it was open earlier in the morning, but since I was trying my hardest to sleep I don’t know) and the convenience store only opened at erratic times during the journey.  So, I had nothing for breakfast.  I had dinner last night at 4PM, so I was starving.  Since we had no choice, we waited until the restaurant opened at lunch time.

The restaurant was average, and made school lunch seem fancy (and cheap).  I bought a small curry rice (emphasis on small) and Risa bought some soba set.  She wanted the Japanese-style breakfast set, but it had sold out.  Anyway, it was some food in our stomachs.

Amami OshimaThe further south we headed, the worse the sea and skies became.  It wasn’t raining, but the skies certainly looked like it could rain (and heavy rain) at any minute.

We arrived at the port of Motobu (in the north of the main island in Okinawa) about 4:30PM.  We’d made plans to couchsurf with someone nearby, but it didn’t eventuate.  Luckily, the plans that we’d made for tomorrow night could be shuffled forward to tonight.  We headed from the port in Motobu when the sudden realisation that we were nearly empty on fuel.  I was riding as conservatively as possible, but eventually the ‘cub started sputtering.  All that was around us were giant quarries (which, by the way were really, really ugly and sad to see).  It sputtered for a few minutes, then finally stopped.  Conveniently for us, it was right outside of a fuel depot, though it was a diesel/LPG depot.  We spoke to a worker who told us that the nearest station was a little over a kilometre away…  Sure, it’s walkable, but the it was getting dark and I knew it was going to rain at any minute.  But, just as we were about to make our walk-of-shame pushing the fully laden ‘cub, he ran into a shed and emerged with a can of fuel.  He gave us a litre (or two), which was more than enough to get us to the next fuel station. Saviour.

After filling up the ‘cub (and having a convenience store snack) we drove through Nago City towards Japan’s #1 pineapple village, Higashi.  Between Nago and Higashi was a small mountain range, and it was completely different to any we’d travelled on before.  It was tropical.  Even though it was windy, and raining very slightly, we were still warm.

Japan-Road-Trip_-_PKO9652 Japan-Road-Trip_-_PKO9656 Japan-Road-Trip_-_PKO9658We were couchsurfing with an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) in Higashi who was generous enough to let us stay an extra night, even though he already had two other guests booked in for tonight.  He also cooked up an Okinawan-style stir-fry and baked an amazing loaf of sugar/cinnamon bread.  Between gorging on his food, we were also educated in the ways of an Okinawa three-stringed instrument called the sanshin and we all talked travel.

It wasn’t much after this that we started to think about our travel plans, checking when the ferry to the southern islands of Miyako/Ishigaki departed.  It was a little late to be checking, but we were kinda flexible with dates/times.  Turns out, we couldn’t wait for the next ferry, as it had ceased to run some time last year.  Our only option was an extremely last-minute (and therefore expensive) airfare.  If the weather had been better, I would have considered it.  We’d come this far, and as expensive as it was going to be, it would (maybe) be more expensive to do it another time.  But, the typhoon wasn’t looking like it was going to go away.  And just like that, our tropical island beach paradise plans eroded…  Time for bed.