Sunday, March 16, 2014

Traveling to a Different Mental Place

Yakushima Island
Life Phase 3 means I get to travel for a few more weeks while Dwight returns to The Cities and Work World.

For the past 10 days we've been with family, vacationing together within an agreed zone of comfort.

Traveling by myself, with 14 pounds on my back, and both arms swinging freely, I can welcome some discomfort; I'm responsible only to myself when spontaneous plans fall short of expectations. I get to constantly solve problems of my own making.

This week I move from an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to an island on the edge of the East China Sea: from Hawaii Big Island to the little island of Yakushima, Southern Japan (195 square miles, population 13,178).

Starting in Yakushima I can travel spontaneously. I'll travel without a specific plan in a country where I do not understand the language and barely understand the culture. It's a safe enough place: the political and legal systems are familiar, and the infrastructure is wonderful.

Getting to Yakushima

I do have a plan for the next few days: it's to get to Yakushima as efficiently as possible. I'll Tweet as I go, which may show gaps between as-planned and as-traveled.

Tuesday March 18, 2014

Morning: KOA (Kona Kailua) to HNL (Honolulu)

Noon: HNL nonstop to Fukuoka, Japan.

The road to the island of Yakushima (bottom arrow)

I was lucky to get a bulkhead seat in Economy, with an empty seat beside me.


Japan time is 19 hours ahead of Hawaii.

6:00 p.m. Arrive Fukuoka

I will then take the subway to the main train station (Hakata).

If I'm still compos mentis (or, perhaps if I'm not!) I will catch the bullet train:

Mid evening: Hakata (Fukuoka) to Kagoshima

This train moves fast, taking about 90 minutes to cover the 160 miles. That includes intermediate stops.
Alternatively, I'll check into a business hotel near Hakata train station and take the train Thursday morning.


Jetfoil from Kagoshima to the island of Yakushima.

I'll probably just spend a couple nights on Yakushima. I'm attracted to its good hiking trails and its isolation from the rest of Japan.  Each journey is a prototype for the next one so I'm expecting I'll want to return for a longer stay. Yakumonkey has been a trove of information. I recently enjoyed reading David Mitchell's novel, Number9Dream, which is partially set in Yakushima.

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