Monday, 24 May 2010

屋久島 Yakushima

Man, I've been so damn busy recently, packing up my house, seeing buddies for last drinks, getting ready to go back to Blighty: hardly any time to myself. Deciding then to go on a hiking holiday last week to Yakushima was probably not such a great idea. Writing this blog entry, even, kind of makes me feel guilty. Boxes don't pack themselves. The gas company won't cut my gas if I don't tell them to (well, except those times I kept forgetting to pay the bills...). And somebody has to dump my mama-chari somewhere, before it's too late.

But anyway, back to the topic of Yakushima. What a fan-dabby-doozy place. Really beautiful island, sweet people, and superb food. Without going into details (and I really could, it was such a cool place, so many memorable encounters, mini-adventures, monkeys...) I post below some photos from the trip. Enjoy, and if you have the time, go yourself.

Some flying fish tempura, a local delicacy. All gravy, baby.

Old G Dawg is not just a pretty face. He hiked for a day just to get to this tree. A lover of mankind, he benevolently flashed a peace sign to the crowds, and then hiked all the way back. The tree in question is called the Jomon Sugi, so called because it is believed to be super old, dating from the Jomon period. It's 25 meters tall, and 16 meters around. It has a soul, too, according to locals.
Some more pictures of Old Jomon, sans Old G Dawg. They do little justice to the majesty of the real thing. You should go and see it for yourself.
Mrs G Dawg made claim of everything she saw.

According to travel guides, Yakushima and its primaeval forests gave Hayao Miyazaki the inspiration for the settings in his movie Princess Mononoke. Certainly, that is plain to see. The hiking trail he sites in particular is the Shiratani trail, and it is perhaps the most beautiful on the island. I can't help but feel, however, that though he may have found Shiratani more beautiful, he may have been influenced more by the path leading to the Jomon Sugi. A good half of the trail follows an abandoned railway, used in its day by a forestry company, who still, incidentally, own the area. It occurred to me that this plain evidence of man's activity, and his abandoned attempt to subdue nature, may have struck a chord with Miyazaki. Also, too, half-way along the tracks, are the remains of a school, deserted in 1970. All that is left is an ivy-covered staircase leading to nowhere. Ghostly, indeed, and beautiful. No doubt I am jumping to conclusions, but I find it hard to believe something so Miyazakiesque (otherworldly ancient remains, signs of a now gone culture and age (Spirited Away, Laputa, Princess Mononoke...)) would not have made an impression on him. I wish I had taken photographs, but the rain prevented me at the time.


  1. Thanks for these photos,looks like a truly amazing place,hope you continue the blog!.

  2. Thanks, dude. The blog's here to stay.