I caught the ferry from Shimabara to Kumamoto port for roughly $12. I think I slept the whole trip. When we landed I rode straight in to see the mystical Kumamoto Castle. However, I did not realise how much damage the 2016 earthquake did to the area. Actually as I write this in Kumamoto, I did just feel an earthquake as my screen shook.
The castle once looked like a fearsome black bear, befitting the name Kumamoto (熊本) which actually means like main/true/origin bear.
But now this is all that remains (even after more than 2 years of reconstruction):
I walked around and had some delicious ramen and gyoza nearby then went to the local net cafe to do some work. The next morning I had to go tame a bunch of young kids and teach them some English and manners.
After a quick nap in the park I went to meet my penpal, Michiko-san. We met through a language exchange website italki. It’s a really great tool for learning languages and meeting people. I think I met 3 or 4 people in Japan from that site thus far.
She was really nice and offered to cook some dinner for me and dine with her and her husband before I went to help out at another English class.
I went to the class and they could all speak English really well so I didn’t even have to do much but tell them about all my awkward travel moments like sleeping under bridges and taking showers in local parks.
After class one of the members drove me to my bicycle (where I lost my key without realising until the next morning). I rode my bike to my Warm Showers host: Takuya – Cycling Extraordinaire. We drank some beer and talked about cycling and travelling. The guy wants to do a round the world cycling trip once he graduates. I hope you do mate!
The next morning I freaked out when I couldn’t find my key. So, after checking my bags 17 times I walked back to where I parked my bicycle last night and….
I was happy as a Heracross.