We met the school in the morning, loaded up the bus with equipment, bags, and children, and left about 8:30. It was really clear morning, the drive down the coast was really nice. Mt. Unzen was clearly visible across the Ariake Sea. We arrived in Amakawa and took a short hike up Mt. Shibao. It was a nice walk through the forest with really nice views from the observation tower at the top. We could see Misumi Port and the five bridges of Amakusa. We had a snack of rice balls, before heading back down to the bus to continue on our way. We stopped at Hondo beach to have lunch. It was really hot and sunny, so we sat in the shade to eat our food. Afterwards, we played with balls on the beach, and collected sand to use later for Rinchan’s sand art. After a total of about three hours of driving, we arrived at our accommodation in Satsuki. Rinchan made pretty colored sand art in glass bottles with some of the kids, while the other teachers took the rest of the children fishing off the pier out front. It was fun, though some people were more comfortable than others handling the chuugoku-mushi we used as bait. We caught a few small garakabu, and a kisu, but unfortunately they managed to escape our bucket! Benchan cooked a lot of yummy food on the barbecue which we all at together. We finished with some delicious fruit for dessert, thanks to Taro’s parents. We ate so much! After dinner, we enjoyed fireworks including senko-hanabi and sparklers. All the kids had lots of turns. One group of kids stayed at the bed & breakfast with Gyabachan and Rinchan. The rest, eight in total, went to as nearby park to camp for the night. The children were really helpful putting up the tent, we got it done pretty fast. Everyone fell asleep nearly immediately after turning off the lights, they must have been tired!
The tent group woke up not long after sunrise, packed up the tent and headed back to the bed & breakfast to join the others. We all had a delicious breakfast prepared by the minshuku staff, packed up our things and got on the bus again. Once we arrived in Mogushi, we walked around the rocky shore to reach nice sandy beach a little down the coastline. It was a really clear but hot day, so we brought plenty of water, sun cream, and parasols. Mogushi beach is flat and shallow with beautiful golden sand. The tide was going out and the sea was pretty calm so the waves were quite small. We all spent a lot of time splashing around in the water playing with balls. Mio used her snorkel and mask to look at fish and found a sea urchin. We also played in the sand, one group making a sandy version of Kumamoto Castle. Another group dug a deep hole in the wet sand and let fill with water warmed by the sun – bath time! After about three hours of fun at the beach, we were starting to get hungry. It was time to clean up and take the bus to Yasuraginoyu for a bath and some lunch. The onsen at Yasuraginoyu are very nice, with indoor, outdoor, hot, cold and spa baths. After having spent so long at the beach in the hot sun, many people preferred the cold baths! We then all enjoyed a hot Japanese-style lunch before getting back on the bus for Kumamoto. The drive back to Kumamoto was long, and most kids fell asleep at some point – tired out from playing at the beach. We stopped in Matsushima for one last break, and to get some ice cream, yummy! The final leg of the bus ride was filled with songs provided by DJ Rinchan until we finally arrived at Shirakawa Park to meet the parents. We all had a lot of fun, and we hope to see you all again next year!