Quit our jobs, sold our home, riding around the world!!!


This lady walking by us was funny. She had no control over her dog. It was walking her!

Laughing out loud, Neda says to me, "Our dog is *never* going to behave like that!"


A bit further down the road, we see people in the waters. Not just any people... surfers!
 
I'm not a big surfer, but I've never heard of Japan being a great surf spot. I guess it shouldn't have been a surprise that there is surfing here in Shikoku with all the tsunamis and typhoons that hit the south-eastern shore of the island.


A surfer crosses the highway to get from the town to the beach


Surfers enjoy themselves on the rivermouth swells, in front of a wall of concrete tetrapods

At first I thought these concrete blocks were a form of tsunami countermeasures, but then I read that these giant tiddlywink-shaped concrete blocks are called "Tetrapods". They're piled up on the beach to prevent erosion of the sand by the pounding waves. It's a very artificial design, not found in nature, its special shape forces the water to flow around them, dissipating the wave impact and preserving the sands beneath them from washing out into the ocean.
 

Walking down to the water

The south-east coast of Shikoku has a unique geography and climate contributing to excellent surf conditions. Because of the abundant rainfall, rivers from the mountains in the middle of the island create sandbanks on the shore when they spill out into the sea. Then during typhoon season, the huge waves break on these sandbanks creating what's known as "rivermouth swells".

Typhoon season is normally July-November, which makes it the best time for surfing. It's still too early for the good swells, these must be all the locals in the area that surf year-round.


Hangin' Ten on the baby waves in Shikoku
 

Parked beneath a statue of Kukai, the Buddhist monk at the center of the Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage.
Beneath the statue is a temple where they train new priests.


By the time we've reached the tip of Cape Muroto, it's well past lunchtime. There's a visitor centre off the road and when we peer inside, we find a cafeteria with a marvelous view of the coastline. Score!


We're lucky they are still serving food this late in the afternoon.
We order the classic chicken donkatsu (breaded chicken with curry and rice). So Japanese!!!
 

The sun comes out while we eat lunch. The rocky shore is too enticing for Neda to pass up. After lunch, she drags me out for a hike


So windy at the tip of the Cape! Large waves slam into the rocks around us

We love the isolation of Shikoku! What a peaceful, laid back island, especially when compared to Honshu. Pilgrims hiking along the side of the road, surf bums out on the beach, virtually no traffic on the road... perfect!
 
Updated from Getting All Dressed Up... To Get Undressed



After our long day on Cape Muroto, we spent the night in an AirBnB in the town of Kitatakamicho, about half-way through Shikoku island.


Once again, our bikes have a roof over their heads. Back on the road westwards, we see a cavalcade of sidecars!

The weather is getting warmer. Perhaps it's a combination of us heading further south or the spring season coming into full swing, but we're seeing more motorcycles on the road now. We all wave to each other enthusiastically, happy that we're all able to enjoy being back on two again.


Continuing westbound, skirting the southern shores of Shikoku
 

After a couple of hours, we end up at the port town of Yawatahama. It's ferry time once again!

Shikoku is the smallest of the four Japanese islands, we were able to traverse it comfortably in a day and a half, mainly because of No Traffic! So nice. Now we're hopping over to the next island: Kyushu! Island hopping is fun!


Oooh, this ferry is fancy, they have wheel chocks for our motorcycles! Neda assumes the Japanese rest position for the two hour crossing

The ferry spits us out in the city of Beppu, and we are starving! So before checking into our hotel, we ride around town until we find our favorite food. It doesn't take us very long to find...
 

Sushi! Seems we are off the Gaijin Trail once again, because: no English. Also, everything is automated
so Neda has to use Google Translate to decipher the menu.


There are some languages that Google Translate does well with. Japanese and other Asian languages are a terrible fail. The poor Translation Apps only serve to confuse you even more. At least some of the translations are entertaining... Thankfully the tablet-driven menu has pictures, so we are at least able to select what we want to eat. Confirming the order and paying are a different matter entirely, and we throw the whole automation system out of whack by having to call someone over to help us with the buttons on the tablet.

Unfortunately, this sushi was not the best we've had in the country. I didn't know you could order bad sushi in Japan... Oh well.
 
At least we're not hungry anymore, so we find our hotel and check in.


Our hotel is very comfortable and they seem to cater to Gaijin as well, because some of the signs are in English... or maybe they're in Jamaican...

One of the selling features of this hotel, and the main reason why we booked here, is because it has an onsen! An onsen is a hot spring bath. Nobody in Japan takes showers, they all go to the public hot baths, it's a social thing. There is a shower in our washroom, but it's probably just for gaijin. So we're not doing that. Instead, we find these folded up neatly in the closet:


These are the Japanese equivalent of terrycloth bath robes, to wear before and after visiting an onsen.
They're called Yukata. So cool!


We had to Google the proper way to wear them. Like all things Japanese, there's a right way to do things and a wrong way, and plenty of people around to judge you if you're doing it wrong! These robes are called Ryokan Yukata (Ryokan is a Japanese Inn), even though we're not really staying at a true ryokan, more of a hotel.

Neda is sporting the Chabaori, which is a half-jacket you wear over a yakuta during the colder months.

The Yukata is meant to be worn while you are staying in the Ryokan or hotel, walking the halls, at meals, etc. If the town you are staying in is an onsen town, it's even acceptable to wear it outside in public. Although Beppu is a pretty well-known spa resort town (over 2000 onsens here!), it's also a fairly large city, so we'd look pretty silly wearing these outside...
 

Neda is off to her onsen!

I've read so much about onsens, and the ones I've seen have all been these outdoors natural hot spring pools, but the one in the hotel was just a swimming pool. Well, actually two pools, one hot and the other one VERY HOT! I was the only one in the onsen, so I totally could have brought my camera in and taken some pictures. I might do that next time. Don't get too excited guys, onsens are segregated by sex...

So much to describe about the onsen experience, but I'll do that later when I have some pictures to share. Since Kyushu is actually known for its hot springs, I'm sure all of the places we're going to stay in while on this island will have an onsen. Hmmm... Sneaking a camera into a public bath house... what could possibly go wrong?
 
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