Japan is famous for its loosely themed islands. From the Bunny Island, to Ghost Island, to Cat Island, Japan has a wide variety of interesting islands that many people never see. As I am no fan of furry things (I enjoy breathing and not having itchy eyes), Naoshima, or the Art Island, seemed like the only one I could visit. As such, when I reached out to Jen about our bi-annual get together, we decided that a trip to Naoshima would be the perfect thing. As an added benefit, Naoshima also happens to be in Kagawa, a prefecture I had yet to visit. Before we went to Naoshima, I had to make to Jen’s prefecture, Ehime.
After work on Friday, I hopped on a train up to Usuki, the port to the north of me. The train ride was uneventful, but I did finally see “Star Wars: Rogue One” on the way up, which was nice. I can’t let myself become too disconnected from Western Pop culture.
I arrived at the port, grabbed some udon for dinner, and waited to board the ferry. Japanese ferries can be set up very differently from one another depending on how long they take to get where they are going. Under an hour and they’ll probably look like the kinds of ferries we see in America: the kinds of seats you would find on a bus, or wooden benches. Two hours and you get the kind of ferry I rode to get to Ehime.
There are a few seats for people willing to pay for an upgraded seat. There is also a hotel-like room or two for people who for some reason can’t stand to not be in a bed, or those who are on the last ride of the evening. People can spend the night on the last ferry of the day so they don’t have to pay for a night in a hotel. For the people who want the absolute cheapest ticket, your ticket allows you to basically sit wherever you can find space. That might mean camping out in the café area, sitting on a bench outside, or, more likely, finding your own bit of carpet in the lowest class passenger area. This area is divided into what can best be described as “pens.” Ten people could probably lay flat in a pen. Each pen is surrounded by a waist-high wall of cabinets containing life jackets and foam blocks covered in pleather that count as pillows.
I always make sure to grab a bit of carpet by the window. I also rarely get sick on the boat (except for the one time I rode it during a typhoon), which is nice, because it means I can pass the time reading. I arrived at the port, disembarked with the other three passengers who didn’t bring their cars along, and was picked up by Jen. On the way back to Jen’s place, we stopped at her boyfriend’s apartment so I could drop off some puzzles and things I’ve been meaning to ship to him and Jen and kept forgetting.
Then we headed to Jen’s. The next morning we were going to be out bright and early, so we tried to get to bed as soon as possible.