Kumamoto Volunteer Guide

Kumamoto Volunteer Guide

Kano-san – Kumamoto Volunteer Guide

Some of what my last trip to Japan was about was exploring some places where American tourists don’t generally go (well, at least not on their first trip).   Kumamoto is a small city located on the western edge of Japan, about halfway down the west coast of Kyushu island.   My visit here included the first time I’ve had a chance to use the volunteer guides that are often found throughout Japan.   We had a wonderful day exploring Kumamoto Castle and Reigando Cave with Kano-san.   Despite the dreary wet weather that day, the castle was wonderful – very accessible, featured lots of information and exhibits, was very picturesque and is well worth the visit, even if it’s out of the way.   Here is a picture of our guide – Kano-san, showing us his name on the small wooden placques that honored donors to the castle’s restoration fund.   Kano-san was a fabulously enthusiastic guide who clearly loved his city and the castle.  One of our fond memories, though, is about our lunch encounter.  We ate lunch in a Chinese restaurant that, for some totally unexplainable reason has olive oil on the table.  Since I normally eat olive oil on rice, and after days of traveling really missed it, I took the liberty of dousing my perfectly fine Japanese rice with olive oil.  “Unbelievable!” exclaimed Kano-san.   He was truly dumbfounded that these crazy Americans would put olive oil on rice.   Soy sauce is considered quite gauche, so you can imagine how olive oil seemed.   Probably about the same as putting motor oil on it.  Oh well…   I wasn’t eating like the Japanese that day.   Here are some nice pictures of the castle (Hokosawa Family; original about 1607; this is reconstruction.   More about Japanese castles at http://www.jcastle.info/):

Back entrance to Kumamoto Castle

View from the Top

Intimidating Castle Walls

Underground Entrance

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