Portal Hunting with Blair and John

Once again my Sunday was spent hunting portals for Ingress.  I’ve mentioned this game a few times, but in case you missed those posts, a quick summary: Ingress is an augmented reality massively multiplayer online game.  You must use your phone as a scanner and explore the world around you, looking for portals.  Portals tend to be located at religious sites (like temples, shrines, and churches), train stations, and convenience stores.  For example, just about every Lawsons (a well known convenience store) is a portal.  Once you find a portal you can interact with the portal in various ways.  If it belongs to your team, then you basically do maintenance on the portal to keep it strong against the other team.  Maintenance includes making sure shields are in place and fixing them when they’re weak.

If the portal belongs to the opposing team, you can attack the portal and try to flip it to your team.  When you are a low level player (like I am) it is best to go out in teams because you cannot do much damage on your own.  That’s why (for three Sundays in a row) John, Blair, and I have gone portal hunting.  There are a lot more portals up in Nobeoka where John and Blair are, but we have a few scattered around Hyuga and the surrounding towns.  This time we decided to meet in Hyuga to hunt instead of meeting in Nobeoka.

The coolest thing about the game, I think, (besides hanging out with friends) is that you end up stopping at a lot of really interesting places that you did not even know existed.  For instance, I have biked past my neighborhood shrine for over two years now, but I did not go inside for the first time until I started playing Ingress and found that there was a portal that could only be accessed from inside.  Blair drove us around on Sunday so we could cover a lot more ground.  While trying to get a portal at Hyuga’s community center, we noticed a fair going on.  Seeing that my students were working (and never one to pass up an opportunity to surprise and bother them) we decided to go check it out.  We ended up spending at least half an hour at the fair (which turned out to be a fundraiser for special Olympics events), eating and generally exploring.

After that we hit the road again, got lunch, and drove to Southern Hyuga  to destroy a bunch of portals that belonged to the other team.  The temple/shrine complex was from at least 1936 (that was what it said on the only date marker we could find, but everything could have been older).  It was great way to spend a Sunday and we are already planning our next “hunting” trip.  Next time we might head down to the capital for a day trip.

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