My favorite thing to do in Kyushu is to drive. I love driving in rural Kyushu for the following reasons:
*having the roads all to myself
*cutting around curve after curve after curve
*the rush of adrenaline I get from a well executed pass
*the smell of mountain air rushing in from my fully open side windows
*driving those neglected roads that no one else deems worth their time
*pushing my trusty Civic “Formula” Hatchback to its limits and taking care of it in return
*slingshotting out of a curve, pressing on the gas through the exit
*not having to use the break at all, controlling everything with the gas peddle (I do wish that I had a manual transmission, though)
*finding my way by using my compass and intuition, and occasionnaly my Super Mapple Kyushu Edition
*knowing that the music that I am enjoying at any particular moment is almost *certainly the first time anyone has ever enjoyed that particular piece in that *specific area (and most likely the last).
*discovering places that even the locals don’t know about or have forgotten.
*driving behind a skilled driver for a length of time and learning more about *driving by watching and imitating them.
*driving in adverse conditions with full confidence in my abilities and the abilities of my car
*experiencing a sustained runner’s high while driving (Although I have never had one when I was running, go figure).
*achieving a meditative state through driving
*learning kanji and new vocabulary from the roadside
*finding good places to sit down and read, hike, or explore
*seeing how many alternative paths there are to any one location
*looking for a good photographic opportunity
*seeing how many kilometers I can put on the odometer
*only losing traction when I specifically intend to
*splashing through a big puddle, shooting up a wave or rooster tail
*driving fast through a long tunnel
*remembering the location of speed traps and making mental notes of where the cops might be waiting in ambush
*narrowly avoiding running over/ smacking into assorted wildlife (tanuki, weasels, foxes, rabbits, wild boars, birds, caterpillars, frogs, snakes, etc…)
*flashing the hazards for courteous, experienced drivers who let me pass
These pictures were taken today, with the exception of the Roman Aqueduct, during a 4 and a half hour long drive around Aso. There are so many roads to explore around here, and just not enough time.
I found this aqueduct last Friday when driving the 8, south of Taketa (Oita-ken). It’s strange finding works like these in the middle of nowhere.
This is Shiraito-taki, or in English, “white thread waterfall”. In Nishihara, way off the main roads I came across this stunning waterfall. Kyushu is full of beautiful waterfalls, and I often come across them on my wanderings.
This old road is in Ubuyama-mura, and I only just discovered it today! I remember hearing people talk about it, and can only say for certain that 1. it is very old, and 2. this was the road that people used to get from Ubuyama to either/or Kumamoto City and into Oita before the 57 was built. Despite being overgrown with vegetation and covered with humus, you can feel and occasionally see how well built this cobblestone road really is. Time to do some research.
This purple pitcher plant was waiting by the side of the old road. They tend to grow in loosely spread groups, under the shade of the forest.
This X-shaped suspension bridge would really look better painted red, don’t you think. It reminds me of Racer X from Speed Racer for some reason (this is in Nishihara too)?