Well, Jillsty arrived on Monday night! And how! It was so wonderful to see them, and be able to show them around. They have arrived right at the start of the good weather: our temperatures now are the very highest that Scotland would see in summer.
After a couple of days kicking it around Miyoshi, we jumped in our funky-ass hire car on Thursday morning, and headed for Iya. At Oboke, we met James, who generously offered us his car and chauffeuring skills for the day (accepted!), and got on the road proper. As expected, Iya was crawling with tourists who couldn’t drive (bloody Kagawans!), but no matter. We arrived at the remote Okuiya vine bridges, and spent a happy 45 minutes playing on them and chewing the fat. After a nice lunch where James and I introduced Jillsty to some more traditional Japanese cuisine, we hopped up to Chiiori to pick someone up, and then hit the onsen. Jillsty LOVED the onsen, although being Golden Week and Iya’s Hikyonoyuu, it was pretty busy. After the onsen, we headed to Happy Raft, struck camp, had some BBQ, went for walks, and finally crashed about 2am. It was a really fun day. I learned about Australia’s political system, listened to Van Halen’s ‘Jump’, which immediately made me feel like I was 5 and dancing with Dad, and had my hiccups cured by listening to people debate abortion.
On Friday, it was time, once again, to climb into our rafts and take on the Yoshinogawa. As always, it was a total blast. Although Jill had a nasty fall while climbing up a rock she had intended to jump off. She gave herself a bad knock on the elbow, enough to send her back to base for the rest of the day. Her new name is Rockfall. The day once again reinforced my intention to do some time on the river before I find myself a ‘career’. The river wasn’t as big as I’d have hoped for, but I think that for first timers in our crew, it was quite big enough. It was a beautiful sunny day, though, and we all got the sun rather a lot.
Saturday and Sunday saw us three in Kyoto taking in the sights. This was my third time in the city, and I think I saw more this time than I have ever done before. I enjoyed myself a lot, but we were all really tired. Going to the city is a lot of fun. But when I get off the bus in Miyoshi, smell the heavy wet air, and hear all the frogs and insects, I know that I really belong in the country.
Back at school today, longing to be outside, in the mountains or on the river with friends. Jillsty heading up to Tokyo today, giving me a chance to tidy the apartment up, and gather my thoughts a little. I feel like I haven’t stopped for a week. Which is pretty accurate really.
I have pictures to post, but they aren’t ready yet.