Tsushima 2012

Long weekend in Japan

So the main topic this week has already been revealed, but it is worth mentioning that we went biking Wednesday after work whereafter Håvard and Tyson came over for lunch, that our company signed a contract with HHI for a semi-submersible platform for delivery in March 2015 and that Paula and I got new sunglasses!

The sunglasses I had bought on Ebay after extensive internet research. I had bought a pair for me and another as a surprise for Paula. So at the Spring Festival last weekend I had seen Tyson wearing the same pair I had bought, so I asked if I could try them as I had just bought a pair myself. Unfortunately Paula heard this and immediately burst out "where" and "when" ! When I told her that I had bought them on the internet, she was somewhat sceptical and claimed that only I could do something like that .....

Well, it took her two days to ask me to buy some for her as well. So I told her to wait a few days. So of course she figured out that a surprise was on the way. And when the package arrived she opened it, checked the sunglasses then packed them down again so I wouldn't notice anything ! But she cracked before I could open the package when i arrived home after work ... full confession :-)

At least she liked the shades ...

Friday we went down to the club house for a drink. We had been the emergency call center for Jamie and Pietro the previous days. Pietro had been ill with high fever and Jamie had been hit by a truck while driving and was suffering from whiplash effect in the neck, nausea and dizziness, so both had asked for us to check up on them to see if they were OK. Friday they were both better and were down by the clubhouse for a coffee.

Saturday morning we drove down to Busan International Ferry terminal for a 9am departure to Tsushima - the island located in between Korea and Japan. Pietro had visited the island the week before and had given us a few good tips, so we had decided to copy his trip on this long weekend (Monday was a national holiday in Korea - Buddha's birthday). We had an amazing trip. The island is beautiful with many quaint fishing villages, lots of bird song, eagles constantly soaring overhead, the food amazing and people very friendly. There are no big cities on the island - just small sleepy villages.

We had booked a room at the Tachibana homestay in Izumi. Tachibana-san picked us up at the Hitakatsu ferry terminal after the hour-long trip from Busan. With his three-word English vocabulary and our 3-word Japanese vocabulary we got along brilliantly ! After settling in he drove us back down to Hitakatsu so we could rent some bicycles. After some initial problems adjusting to the size of the bicycles, we set off on our super-small bicycles! We did a 20km circuit from coast to coast and ended up back in Izumi with sore butts !

At the Tachibana house we met the other guests - a couple from Washington State, US. Great was our surprise when we found out that they live just 500m from us in Ulsan! So we had lots to talk about...

Next day Tachibana-san took us out for a spin in his fishing boat. We thought he was going out to tend to his nets, but as it turned out he was just taking us out for the ride. The weather was beautiful, the sea calm and the flying fish aplenty. After this pleasant surprise we went biked down to the beach, where we met a group of New Zeeland English teachers from Gunsan, Korea. Also interesting, as the new Fred Olsen semi-submersible will be built in Gunsan, so we tried to get as much info on the place as possible, in case we end up there later on. The beach itself was amazing. Full of Korean tour groups, but the crystal clear water I had for myself. And it wasn't even cold !

The rest of the day was spent cruising around Hitakatsu and Izumi - just relaxing and taking in the atmosphere. Pretty much the same song on the Monday - our last day there.

Both Paula and I love Japan and this trip did nothing to change that. The Tachibanas were just such a lovely couple .... always laughing and trying to make us feel at home. The food was exceptionally good at their house and we were even lucky with the weather - warm during the daytime and cool at night. Loved it !!!

See below for a slideshow from our trip or follow the Picasa link to see the photos in larger size: