No, this post is not about ‘the Ghibli guy’.
So after Takachiho, I made my way towards the Kirishima Mountain range for a hike. After a buffet and 2 days of 120+ km riding (with over 3,000m total elevation) I was more than pleased when people stopped me on the side of the road and gave me some cold drinks and invited me back to his friends house to hang out.
Most notably this legend who calls himself ‘D’.
D waved me down from the side of the road and gave me one of his signed CD’s (not sure what’s on it yet), a big smile and promises of chilling out for the rest of the day. So of course I follow him the extra 1km to his friend Izumi’s house.
D is somewhat of a legend, he’s a man of many talents: farmer, father, DJ, snowboarder, skateboarder, general handyman and soul searcher. He also has some great life advice and some funny quotes like “Infinite Frequency” and “One soul love”.
After I meet his ‘soul friend’ Izumi, we quickly got along like best mates and headed off to the local onsen. The onsen was called 極楽のゆ Gokuraku no Yu – I like to interpret it as ‘The Onsen of Heavenly Relaxation’.
At the onsen they have natural sparkling water which you can drink straight from the tap. I don’t usually like sparkling water but this stuff was delicious! On the way back we grabbed a few drinks and talked into the night. I hit the hay early as I was bloody exhausted.
The next morning Izumi and D drove me around to a few local shrines and rivers. The area has that local feel that you’re not going to find on TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet and I really appreciate their efforts in showing me around.
They left me at the foot of Mount Takachiho where I climbed up to 1,600m to where I wielded the legendary Amano-Sakahoko.
This mountain was actually a really awesome hike, near the top they had like a small gate to show ‘you’re near the top, just a little further’ which really kicks the motivation into gear.
I was attacked a few times by leeches (ひる) on the mountain but nothing serious.
That night Izumi, her family and her sister had a few friends over and we all had a BBQ together. Man, good stuff and there was plenty of beer and wine to go around too. Izumi also made the most amazing Onigiri (those rice triangles) that I’ve ever eaten!
Her dad lit the BBQ with a bloody flamethrower too!
Izumi is like a health therapist. She runs shops where she gives ‘healing massages’ and other things to help people. She offered me one of these massages and during it I was thinking “man, I’m such a softie, this hurts like a m*f*” as I tensed through the whole ordeal. However I noticed the next night some dirt on my back when I looked in the mirror. Thinking I must’ve leaned against something dirty I tried to rub it off, then realised it was all bruising.
Even though I am all bruised she really knew where my tender spots were and easily pointed them out as she carved out the creases in my back.
I really had a great time with D and Izumi, especially because of how unexpected it all was. But as the saying goes 一期一会 – once in a lifetime opportunity.