Thursday, February 4, 2010

Winter Vacation - Usuki

Our second day in Beppu we decided to skip the marathon baths and take a day trip out to Usuki, a nearby town that is famous for its ancient buddha statues carved into the nearby cliffs. There are around 50 buddhas and they were only restored in the last ten years or so. I wish I had more information on them but the English explanations in the brochure were not very enlightening. We did see some fierce looking non-buddha statues that were buried up to the waist by soil after a typhoon. I believe they were protectors of a sort. Either way it was a cold but clear day and unlike some places in Beppu there were very few people about so it was worth the trip.

On the train ride there though I was accosted by an older Japanese gentlemen who wanted to show me his vacation pictures. He even gave me some of the doubles to keep. This has happened before. Erin and I left Meiji Shrine back in May with vacation pictures AND cake last May from an elderly Japanese man who talked our ear off. That guy at least spoke English. This one didn't and because of the noise from the train and his weak voice it was almost impossible to understand him so I just smiled and nodded. Danielle thought the whole thing was hilarious and was very unhelpful since in her words, "he wasn't talking to me." I promised to look more unapproachable on the train ride back to Beppu but even reading a book I still was approached by another man who wanted to know if I was from America and could he take my picture. When I go out to tourist attractions in Japan I have to be careful not to become one myself!

My new friend.

Once in Usuki, we visited the buddha statues and then grabbed lunch. I ordered the tori-ten or tempura chicken, which sounds like it would just be fried chicken but it was so so much more.







Next is our last day in Beppu and New Year's in Fukuoka.

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