Monday, July 09, 2007

Kumamoto: Onsen, rice-fields, rainy season

I've just finished what must be the busiest period of concerts in my life (maybe closely followed by Taro's tour last December). From my round of my concerts in Kansai last week, until my final Kyushu concert on Sunday night, in 11 nights I had 9 concerts, 1 overnight bus trip, and 1 night off. I was pretty tired in the last couple of concerts, but that probably had more to do with post-concert socialising than any energy spent playing music. :-)

My host and concert organiser, sitar player Hide Iwai has all the good concert photos on his camera, so I'll post them when I get a chance in a day or two. For now here are some photos from our trip into countryside Kumamoto on Sunday:

The onsen in Gekkatei Ryokan (click on the link to see their official photos) - really beautiful onsen, this one. The water was a bit slippery and very soft, beautiful garden, nice sauna with tasteful koto music, towels provided and all for 500 yen (A$5) - bloody marvellous!

Outdoor bath at Gekkatei Ryokan

While talking about onsens I should mention a couple of other onsens we've been to this week. First up the Hiagari Onsen in Kita Kyushu - bit expensive at 900 yen, but pretty lush. Very big outdoor area with about 5 different baths, plus another 5 or so baths inside. But the unique thing at Hiagari was the salt-sauna - a big tray of sea-salt in the middle of the sauna, which you rub all over your body. Then yesterday we went to another onsen on the way back from Annapurna Farm (see below), which had a "Penguin Sauna" - a cold sauna! Refrigerated!

Annapurna Farm, where we performed in the farmhouse (peeking out from behind a tree in this photo) as part of a organic farming community activity weekend. Thanks to Ravi-san for inviting us!

It's been raining non-stop since I got to Kyushu - rainy season has come. The long-distance scenery is a bit drab (no mountain views), but the river was pretty powerful. Taken on the drive down from Annapurna Farm.




Excellent photos! Did you take them all yourself? Very well exposed and composed...

Shen said...

Thanks Chris!
Yes I took these photos and most of the photos on my blog, with my cheap digital camera. I know nothing about exposure etc, but I do enjoy trying to get the framing just right.