Devastated to hear the news from Kumamoto Prefecture.
The few days we spent there in 2012 – especially around Aso – was some of the best time we’ve ever had in Japan. The people there are disarmingly friendly and helpful, the landscapes overwhelm in scale and beauty, and the food – strawberries and milk from Aso! Kumamoto fish! – haunts my tastebuds to these days. And of course, as my readers will know, it’s the land that inspired Chinzei, the main setting of The Year of the Dragon.
So the news of the series of earthquakes that brought so much sorrow to the area is heart-breaking. My thoughts go out to the people of Kumamoto Prefecture. Hopefully yesterday’s shock was the last one of such strength, and the casualty count will stay relatively low. I know people of Kyushu will recover in no time, and I hope we can visit them again in a not too distant future.
You can find information of donating to the earthquake relief here.
Another photo gallery today, from my “research trip” to Kyushu. This time it’s various places that show up in the books from all around the island.
It was a strange feeling, to visit the places I wrote about – still, largely, unchanged and recognizable. There really is a hot spring and guesthouse in front of Aso shrine in Hitoyoshi; the forests around Kirishima Shrine are dark and mysterious; Jochibyo stairs are terrifyingly creepy.
There were a few more monuments of famous persons around: the Japanese love putting bronze statues of anyone even remotely famous. And of course, the entire journey took only a few days on fast trains, instead of walking on foot for weeks 🙂