While we’d been in Okinawa being rained on and generally annoyed by the approaching typhoon, one island, Amami-jima, in the south of Kagoshima was absolutely destroyed by heavy rains and strong winds that caused flooding and large scale landslides. It was declared a national disaster zone, and large numbers of construction workers and members of the Japan Self Defence Force were sent to help in the clean up.
We stopped at Amami-jima during the evening and had noticed a few contractors/soldiers on the boat but didn’t think much of it until it was time to leave. When we parked the ‘cub there were maybe two or three other vehicles on the ferry. When we were trying to leave, there were close to 60 vehicles from small kei-trucks through to giant Humvees, and we were the last…
The next thing we’d realised that it had suddenly become very, very cold. The ride back to where we left the Delica under Sakurajima (via a ferry) was an exercise in tolerance. The wind was frigid and chilled me to my core. Risa used me as a wind-block. Lucky her.
Even luckier was that our Delica was exactly where we left it over a week ago, although under a thin film of volcanic ash. We entered the carpark and collected a new ticket using the ‘cub. Using this new ticket, we were able to leave within the free hour time period. So, free parking!
There wasn’t much (actually, there wasn’t anything) that we wanted to see today. We just wanted to get as close to Aso-zan as quickly as possible. It was another long day of driving, not really stopping for anything along the way other than food/toilet breaks. A little boring, but we didn’t have the time (nor the money) anymore.
We decided to spend the night at Takachiho, which was about an hour from Aso-zan and would be pretty easy to get to early tomorrow morning.
It was absolutely freezing at night, I had bought a beanie as a joke while we were in Kansai, and tonight I actually needed to wear it. Cooking outside the van was an effort, it seemed that we were losing heat as quick as the little burner was making it. I hadn’t packed much in the way of warm bedding, so I had to sleep wearing my thermals under two thin (and rubbish) sleeping bags. Risa, who feels the cold a lot easier than I do, had the down blanket that she’d had all trip and was warm enough. It was only a few days ago that we were sweating in Okinawa…
We later found out that it wasn’t just here that was cold, all of Japan was having a cold snap. Quite a lot of snow fell in Hokkaido that night.