From Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four big islands, we took a ferry out to the small chain of islands called Goto for a week of camping. You may remember it from the Kamigoto surfing post a while ago.
Driving onto car ferries is one of our favourite parts of travel. It’s as close as we’ll get in our lifetime to putting a little private flying ship inside a giant interplanetary craft and taking a trip across the stars to explore other worlds.
Sasebo is a busy Naval port, and we saw many unusual ships on the way out of port. (Click on the gallery below to see larger images).
Sailors on deck of a Japanese Navy ship.
Japanese Navy ships.
Leaving Sasebo port, with many Navy ships, including an aircraft carrier.
Bizarre ship we passed on the way out of Sasebo.
Small Navy cutter on the way out of Sasebo.
One of the US Navy patrol boats showed off their speed and maneuverability by catching air from the ferry’s big wake.
Looked like a lot of fun. Note the big machine gun on the bow!
Goto Islands appeared out of grey, rainy skies.
The local weather was actually quite lovely, changing frequently.
We followed whatever road seemed interesting, often ending up in situations that were unexpected.
Eventually we found our way back to the coastal roads and went looking for a seafood snack. Click through to see what we found.
Tonkotsu ramen is a specialty from Fukuoka, Kyushu. It is famous for its thick, pale broth made from pork bones and its rich flavour. Back in another life, Keith used to refer to it as “dog breath ramen” when passing by the kitchen vents in Kyoto. (He doesn’t call it that any more, as you’ll read in a post to come later.)
The chef at Gonta Nagahama-Style Ramen makes it his daily mission to serve the best, most authentic tonkotsu ramen in south Osaka. He wouldn’t let us take a photo of his broth pot, but we can tell you it was filled with big bones and murky liquid and had clearly been cooking for a long time.
Click through to see the chef make his signature dish, served with diced green onions, ginger and a couple of slices of fatty pork. Continue reading “Tonkotsu Ramen”
The local surf club on Nakatoorijima is really the hobby of one very friendly fellow, Kyo Nagai. He could not have been more helpful in getting Keith set up with a board and even came along for an hour of surfing on small but glassy beach break.
He also posted two nice pics of Keith’s surfing adventure on his surf blog. The first action photo is Keith, and the second a local hotshot named Mori Junior.
A good friend in Japan is mad for manatees, but hasn’t managed a trip to Florida yet. So we went looking for some on her behalf. We found a place in Crystal River on the west coast of Florida that knows where the manatees hang out and they let us swim around with them. Big grey sausages with elephant skin and half the energy of a tired sloth (the manatees, not us).
As amazing as it was to snorkel with these world champion nappers, it turns out that manatees are not that hard to come by in Florida. They love shallow canals, and if there is one out back of your b&b you can just walk down after breakfast and see ’em.
A manatee in Crystal River.
Manatees love a canal.
These were steps from our b&b.
This bunch joined the others, slowly.
Click through for video of manatees frolicking most un-slothfully.