Japan 2008 Trip

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Thum 09

In the morning we got up early to arrive at Kagoshima Airport around sunrise. But as the weather forecast has been right the day before, it predicted the low clouds and rain showers for that day also very well. Unfortunately. But

Thum 10

nonetheless the drive down from Kirishima to Kagoshima was very nice, with the forest remembering the colourful autumn back home some months earlier.

Kagoshima airport would have offered excellent photo positions in the early morning. Even the Sakurajima, an active volcano that last erupted in 1941, can be seen on clear days, but we were not lucky. It was only gray this day and photography did not make fun. Nevertheless we stayed around for a while, checking the photo spots and taking some photos of the rare regional airliners there.

Kagoshima Airport

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In the Terminal we later found a telephone, called back home, had a look in the internet to get a reliable forecast for the next days, and had a nice coffee. Back in the car it was somehow smelling quiet strange, and it did not take long until we found out that one of us stepped 'into something' at one of the spots that we explored in the morning. Fortunately it was raining outside and we could clean the stepladder and the shoes...

Before starting the drive to Kanoya we completed the tour around the airport and wanted to see the Coast Guard Saab 340, which we already saw from the other side. Arriving near the hanger the aircraft was unfortunately pulled inside yet, but now a Police helicopter appeared and flew away. Shortly afterwards it was also possible to get a photo of another Coast Guard helicopter and we then even saw one of the only very recently bought AW139! With a special coloured Saab 340 and the Golden ANA B737 the stay for half a day was not too bad then.

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Coast Guard at Kagoshima & rainy impressions from Kanoya

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The trip to Kanoya should lead us around the bay, where the Sakurajima volcano is majestically sitting in. After it's latest big eruption in 1914 "thousands of small explosions occur each year, throwing ash to heights of up to a few kilometers above the mountain." At least that is was Wikipedia is telling us about it. We did not see any, though there was always some smoke (or steam due to the cold weather) coming out from the top. Several scenic stops along the way were made, but the weather was just too bad to enjoy the view. All along the road 'Japanese Oranges' were sold, and we got one net of them which should last until we returned the car four days later.

overview of Kirishima - the Sakurajima vulcano

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Driving to Kanoya was nothing special, and the weather did not change. Taking photos in the fog of the P-3 Orions was also did not make any sense as their camouflage is perfectly adapted to these conditions. We thus preferred to have a look around the airfield to find a nice photo spot for the next day. It took some time, but we found an excellent point where you can see the runway and nothing but trees in the background. How great, if there would only be some sun shining!

Of course the base security noticed us walking around the airfield and when we returned to our car they just arrived in their minivan. After replying to their questions we filled out the questionnaire, which was written in Japanese, English, and ... Dutch ;) The photo they wanted to take from us had to be postponed to the next day as they had only taken their camera, but left the memory card back in the office.

Thum 12

After this check, the foggy and gray weather, and the dawn coming in we decided to have a look in the museum shop, which we knew from last time. But besides some pins they selection of souvenirs was not that good, but we had a nice experience: while looking at all the funny – mainly food – things that were being offered for sale a Japanese coach tour literally raided the shop and it became very difficult for us to even approach the shelves. We therefore preferred to escape this crush and look for a hotel.

Unfortunately no Love Hotel could be found anywhere (if you know one in Kanoya, please drop me a line for my next visit there!), but fatally we bumped into a model shop. Though it was difficult to spot from the outside, we nearly missed it and it was already quite late we decided to give it a try anyway. And it was worth it, as inside the shop it was paradise! But not for the holiday cash after we left the shop some time later with several model kits in our hands!

Naviagting aroung - THE model shop - fish at the supermarket - Christmas decoration

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Once again the further search for a hotel was troublesome, but we finally found one in the city. The advantage of this location was that we were close to the city centre, but the streets were already dead at around 19h, and the restaurant that we saw earlier was also closed. But we did see many nice Christmas decorations along the way. Fortunately we found a restaurant in a side street and got something to eat once again with the help of our language guide. Later in the hotel room we had some Sake and were watching a movie about the napalm raids on Tokyo in WWII.

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