We woke up early-ish this morning and had breakfast at the minshuku. We were rewarded with my all-time favorite Japanese breakfast item – salted salmon. Oh, and there were a bunch of other delicious things, too. After that we hopped in the car and headed for Yakusugi Land, where we opted to take walk the longest of the three routes. 150 minutes doesn’t sound like a very long time (well actually it does, when you consider that few of us would want to sit through a movie that long), but the trail was pretty rough-going, all covered in roots and rocks and deadwood. It was good exercise, but I felt like I didn’t have enough time to look around since I was concentrating so hard on the ground. We did see some cool trees and at one point we saw some bright orange mushrooms growing off a fallen log. They were definitely the coolest mushrooms I’ve seen. We were blessed with clear weather the entire way and were definitely ready to eat by the end of our hike.
We had lunch at Ose, where the food was delicious and the owner was crazy. I had the lunch special, which was uber-tender pork ribs, balsamic vinegar braised pumpkin and potatoes and a salad with basil dressing. Eddie had the pasta special (tomato and shrimp) and for dessert I had two scoops of ice cream – goma and cassis – and Eddie had cheesecake (we shared of course). At one point the owner came up to us and asked us if we spoke any Japanese. When we answered in the affirmative, he launched into a rapid-fire infomercial about his uncle, who is an orthopedic surgeon, and in America did we have back problems like they do in Japan, and if we ever needed back surgery, we should go to his uncle. We thought that was the end of it, but on our way out, he made us stand on something flat so he could assess whether or not we were “crooked” in any way. Eddie was fine once he took his keys out of his pocket, but I’m apparently uneven with a slightly off-center nose.
On the way back to the minshuku, we took a really windy road around the island where we saw monkeys and were nearly killed by a tour bus. The Yakushima monkeys are kind of outrageous – they don’t move for cars and they just sit in the middle of the street grooming each other. Of course, I was also mildly afraid that they were going to attack us (because monkeys are bastards), but we escaped unscathed.
After that, our final stop was at this really pretty waterfall, which I forget the name of. Then we made a trip to one of the many souvenir shops and picked up some gifts and headed back to the minshuku to return the car and make our way back to the ferry port.