Saturday, September 15, 2012

Roundabout 3

Continuing up the hill - it's a BIG hill. At the very top is the Magio DS driving school. Along the way, there are quite a few houses that have concrete shelters used for car parking.  This is one of the interesting things about Kagoshima housing design - there's no room for regular garages beside or in front of the house, so the car port is placed under the house. Except that houses don't have basements, so there's no stairs from inside the port up to the inside of the house.  Instead, the port is a simple concrete box.  One good thing is that if the Sakurajima volcano erupts again, people have a place to take shelter (assuming they're willing to sacrifice their cars first...)

Imagine doing grocery shopping, and having to carry your shopping bags from the garage up the stairs to your house every day...

Finally, I got to the top of this particular hill and came out the other side.  There's a very nice view of Sakurajima from here (oddly enough, there's no plume of ash right now) and of part of Kinko Bay.

Close-up of the ferry running across the bay to Sakurajima.

Some of the houses here.

Looking north towards Senganen. The baseball field in the upper left third of the photo may be the one looming over the Christian Cemetery.  Or, it is probably too far inland for that.  This is the direction of the Christian Cemetery, anyway.

Going back down the hill in the direction of The Arena.  I can't tell if this is the house of someone trying to make a living as a recycler, or if they just collect junk.  Can't be making the neighbors happy either way.

Near the main road that runs along the Kotsuki River and stretches between my apartment and the expressway, there's a big shrine, along the lines of Terukuni Jinja. It didn't have anything that specifically stood out for making a good photo.  However, a block north there's a sign for a "zen meditation stone", and this is probably related to the shrine.

"The Stone of Ambition
Saigo and Okubo Meditation Stone
... Saigo, Okubo and the Seichu-gumi in their youth...
Musan Enryo, the priest of Seikoji Temple here in Somuta always helped Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi when they were young. Musan was also the priest of Nanri and Fukushoji, the Shimadzu family temple.
In those days the Nariakira faction, of which Saigo and Okubo were members, were fighting with the Hisamitsu faction for the headship of the Satsuman clan, and they planned to kill Hisamitsu's mother, Yura. The ringleaders were punished and one of them, Akayama Yukie, who was particularly fond of Saigo, committed harakiri and left Saigo his blood stained shirt. Okubo's father was banished to a distant island. These were the first real hardships for these two young men. Meditation on this stone in Saikoji Temple helped them to see clearly through their own hardships and through the political disturbances of the time.
The young men who like Saigo and Okubo studied here under Musan formed a group called the Yushi-gumi, which later became the Seichu-gumi, an organization instrumental in bringing about the Meiji Restoration.
This meditation stone, which fostered their sense of purpose, may thus be considered the "cornerstone" of the restoration."

The marker sign includes a list of famous people associated with the shrine. Saigo and Okubo are the first two names.  At the time they were alive, towards the middle of the 1800's, getting to this shrine from their homes would have been a 1-2 hour walk.  Saigo's childhood home is marked at being a couple blocks east of the Kagoshima-chuo station, half a mile from my apartment.  The temple is maybe two miles west of my apartment. But, the roads would have been packed dirt and the children would either be barefoot or wearing geta (wood sandals).  This is not a trek you'd want to make daily.

Anyway, once back at river level, I was a couple of blocks west of The Arena.  Continuing west would take me to the expressway, but there's really nothing there and the street turns into a little winding path through the hills with no sidewalk.  So I returned east.  Took about an hour to get home.  Over all trip time was 4 hours in a big circle, starting at the Reimeikan at the north end of Shiroyama and ending at the southern foot of the Shiroyama hotel area..

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