Monday, October 19, 2015

Sakura-jima, the back 40, part 2

Ok, I'm back.
I guess this is why it's important to trim stuff back from power and telephone lines.
This is a pretty common sight here.

I just liked the colors.

Political campaign posters that finally tell the truth.
"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

Starting to get to the east side of the north end of the island. There's a house here with lots of standing rock sculptures and lanterns on both sides of the street.

Another old building.

Notice the sliding door on the side facing the road. It also faces the bay. I assume that the doors would be opened during the hotter parts of the day to allow people inside to relax and look at the water. I saw a number of houses near the road that had these kinds of doors.

Gradually, I'm making the curve southward to the east end of the island. I like the little island out at this part of the bay. It's called Shinjima (New Island) and was formed in the 1779 Annei eruption. I guess the only way to reach it is by private boat. Behind the island and to the left is a phenomenon called "tagiri", or "boiling water". Volcanic gases rise up from the bay floor and cause the surface of the water to churn. I couldn't see anything like that from where I was standing. I assume you need to take a boat out to get closer to that region to see the bubbling.

Kind of sparsely populated, and the one house to the right is more of a hunting cabin than a house...

That looks like some prime bouldering rock... I'm jealous.

Part of the Sakurajima coastline.

There was a sightseeing sign in the area:
"Ash from the Great Eruption reached Edo (Tokyo)
In the early morning of Oct. 1st, 1779 [the Annei eruption], water in the wells began to boil and the sea turned purple. At mid-morning white smoke rose from the southern peak, and at two o'clock there was an eruption of black smoke from the lower part of the peak. The eruptions continued to grow in scale to the accompaniment of ear-splitting explosions and myriad flashes of lightening.

At about four o'clock there was another eruption in the north-east of the island at Kamegake. The rumbling grew, and early the next morning rocks of lava began to fall on Futamata. Ash fell thick on Kagoshima and it is recorded in Sakurajima Nenpei Ezu that "... it was so dark at midday that one needed a candle to see."

Lava flowed from both the north-east and the southern side of the volcano, and it is said that volcanic ash reached as far as Nagasaki and even Edo [ Tokyo]. Over 140 people were killed, and large numbers of fish were found floating dead in Kinko Bay."

Aliens live among us!
Aliens live among us!

Another stupid hawk that kept flying off when I tried to get close enough for a good photo.

It's hard to keep your boat seaworthy. Sometimes it's best to not even try.

I kind of like the flow of the plastic sheeting here.

From the sign:
"A curiosity left by the An'ei Eruption
The eruptions of Sakurajima have been known to bury houses and fields in ash and lava, killing livestock and fish, and driving the inhabitants to the brink of despair. The Great Eruption of 1779 was likewise devastating, but the only evidence that remains now is this curious lake.

200 meters in circumference, it is the only salt water lake on the island and is a haven for a rare type of lichen belonging to the Kokemodoki genus of the Fujimatsumo family, which looks like a velvet of closely packed thin threads covering the surface of the rocks. This lichen is also found in New Zealand and in Sydney, Australia, but Lake Sonoyama is its only habitat in the northern hemisphere. It grows continuously through the year, sinking beneath the water at high tide and rising again at low tide as the water flows out again into Kinko Bay.

This unique lichen was named Takekokemodoki after the late Take Sadatoshi, the former mayor of Sakurajima who encouraged scientific research on the island."

Funny thing is, there's no lake visible from this vantage point, and there's nothing showing up on google maps...

The road veers away from the coast and runs through a small town on the side of the hill. One of the buildings in the town had this "honor system for trash" set up. Take what you want and put what you think it's worth in the lock boxes. Nothing much here I'd want.

Old glass cups and seashells.

And chipped dishes.

Another weirdness
As the road turns further south, there's a long stretch where the right hand side properties are empty and overgrown - no buildings or foundations. But, there's this spot that has a metalwork fence gate that's overgrown with plants. Nothing visible on the other side of the fence, though.

Even when it was new, this place probably looked weird.

One comment. As I was walking along, I kept checking for buses in order to see if I understood the schedules at the bus stops. The stops were spread out pretty far apart, maybe every couple of miles, and I wanted to make sure that when I did want a bus I'd know when it would be coming by, and when to pull up at a specific stop and just wait. I tried identifying vehicle sounds as they approached me, and I failed entirely. The buses would only run once every 90 minutes to 2 hours, and what I kept hearing were dump trucks and water tankers. There are maybe 3-4 construction companies on the east side of the island, and almost all of the traffic came from them. There were some new houses being built, but most of the activity seemed to be digging out dirt from around the coast line. Maybe the dirt was for road construction, or laying down beds for the houses.

I'm now solidly on the east end of the island, and there's very little to look at anymore. The volcano is completely blocked by the trees and the hills to the right, and I can't see the bay to the left. Up ahead of me in the far distance are the hills for the Osumi Penninsula, which neighbors the island. The bridge closer ahead seems to be privately owned, or is property of some government agency. It's not a road or train tracks. There's only one small stairway that runs up from the sidewalk to the top of the hill on the right, but it's chained off with a sign saying "unauthorized personnel keep out." I never did figure out what the bridge was used for. Maybe it's for water pipes to the houses at this end of the island.

Took a while, but not only can I see the east side of the volcano, but I can see the active cone from here! Yay, me!

For the most part, the volcano was quiet. It chuffed once when I arrived on the island by ferry, once more when I was at the north end and couldn't see the cone, and then a final time when I was at the south end of the island and the cone was blocked by trees. I really wanted to record an eruption when I had full view of the cone, but that never happened. At least, when there was ash in the air, the wind was blowing away from me.

When you live next to, and downwind from, a volcano, ash pick-up day never comes often enough.

Construction ducks.
The little brown statue in the background on the side of the driveway is a tanuki, an indication that there's a shop or restaurant in the area. There is indeed a sign nearby indicating that there's a cafe here, but I wasn't sure how far from the road it was, or what the hours are (if it was open or not). I made the mistake of continuing onward from here without a break. It was a mistake in that this was the only cafe I saw on the entire route. Also, I'm now looking straight into the sun. Before, I was mostly protected by trees and hills, so I hadn't bothered with putting on sunscreen. Even though it's in the middle of October and the temps in the shade were about 65 degrees, in direct sunlight it was closer to mid- to high-eighties, and I was getting burned. I wanted to find a place with a mirror so I could sit down and put on screen, but there was nothing like that in the immediate area.

So, I'm going to sleep now and finish up tomorrow.

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