Getting to Hikimi Gorge proved to be our first problem. On the map things seemed fairly cut and dry, however once we got in the area roadsigns told us that there were in fact at least four different "Hikimi Gorges" and we had no idea which one we wanted.
On our search for "the" Hikimi Gorge we stopped at a little tourist trap. It had things like a gift shop, putt-putt, and giant wooden maze. It also had the Hikimi Mystery House, which was buckets of fun. There are pictures of it along with the entire trip over at my Flickr photostream. Essentially the idea is, you have yourself a crooked house and you experience all the strange optical phenomena that a crooked house presents. It doesn't sound too exciting, but let me assure you, it was awesome. I have video, but I spent all day yesterday trying to rotate it 90 degrees because I shot it with the camera on its side. You wouldn't think that would be too hard but aparently I either have to buy Quicktime Pro, another video editing program, or suck it up and post a crooked video. At least it would be in the spirit of Ye Olde Mysterye Howse.
Anyway, after we escaped the magnetic lure of the Mystery House, we finally made it to the Gorge we were looking for. We spent a little time there hanging out in the water, but it was cold and we were hungry, so we decided to set off for Hiroshima. Let me preface this by saying that had we gone the "correct" way we would have been there in an hour and a half to two hours. We went the "wrong" way. We started up some crazy ass one-lane mountain road and never looked back, mostly because we couldn't, there wasn't much room on the road.
The road led us up the mountain, down into a valley, up a mountain again, and down again before we even reached Hiroshima Prefecture, then we were still about 2 hours from the city. The one lane death trap was terrifying at best, with "watch for falling rocks" signs everywhere and bits of road crumbling off into oblivion. We turned one corner to find a bolder barring our path. I had to jump out and roll it out of the way. Aside from the general terror invovled, it was a very beautiful drive, but it was hard to enjoy when you're starving and running out of gas.
Eventually we made it to Hiroshima...hours since we first left Hamada: eight. We were starved, and Rebecca had been talking up this Indian place so we gave it a try. It was heaven! Some of the best Indian food I've ever had. The rest of the night was dancing and listening to New Zealand pop music. We couldn't find a real hotel room because of the basketball games, so we ended up in a skeezy love hotel for about 5 hours of sleep.
The next day was pretty uneventful, we were only able to secure one ticket to the game as it was technically sold out, so Ed atteneded and the rest of us went off to find some mall. Eventually we found it and it was some mall, let me tell you. This thing was gigantic. We goofed off in the arcade, took some puricuras (photo booth pictures), and did some book shopping. I also experienced my first Freshness Burger. Freshness Burger is this fast food burger joint which makes its burgers fresh to order. The signature burger has a patty, some mayo, some "hot sauce" (aka the Rochester kind, not Tabasco) and a giant slice of tomato! It's freaking delicious and I can't wait to eat there again.
Anyway, that's more or less that. I made it home in one piece, a little tired but no less worse for wear.
On Friday I went in to my school in the morning to talk to my JTEs (Japanese Teachers of English). It was cool because I got to just wonder around school and meet a lot of the kids, who are there for club activities and sports day preparation. Kids hang out at school in the summer in Japan, there's no such thing as summer camp.
I met three really genki girls who love to speak English. They spent about a half an hour grilling me about all kinds of stuff. I'm glad to see that there are some students who are excited, as some of the kids just stared at me blankly, blushed and hid, or ran away entirely.
Today I'm off for 3 days to the capital of Shimane, Matsue, for JET Orientation. See you all later.