Monday, March 10, 2008

A Trip Down South

For some time now my friend Neil, (translator extraordinaire, MJ player, surfer and travelling Wilbury) has been issuing invitations for visits to his various homes that have been scattered across Japan. With the missus being off for a week and dropping liberal unsubtle hints about “enjoying some downtime” (US TV for you!), I decided that some R&R with a mate down in Kyushu would be very good timing…

So I headed down on a Wednesday for a 5 hour 30 min journey from Hiroshima to Miyazaki. The only downside, being the total lack of service on the last leg of the journey, resulting in 3 hrs longing for any kind of snack. If only someone could have let me know.

It was great to hang out with Neil as when he came up for my wedding as I hardly saw him and he doesn’t often venture north to Hiroshima (Rumours abound as to why). Sadly no waves of any statue existed for us to do much damage to the sea, our bodies or pride.

So with no waves to surf we filled in the days (and nights) with a spot of sight-seeing, watching some classic British movies, eating the local fried chicken, going to shrines and temples (and in only
4 attempts at throwing small stones into a spiritual rock pool below!) trekking on (tiny) sub-tropical islands, blackening food on the BBQ, failing at attempts to make a tasteful mojito, experiencing the night life of Miyazaki, walking across the longest pedestrian suspension bridge and of course imbibing the odd beer or two.

My thanks to Neil for putting me up with me and driving around Miyazaki! Next time hopefully we will actually get in to surf!

Udo-Jingu Shrine and some "wild" horses...munching on a snack

Not a lot of surf and a Tardis letter box - Miyazaki style...
Neil looking for shells on the Giants backbone and the view from Neil's deck

The Longest Suspension bridge in the world...allegedly: Aya Teruha Bridge

A Bit of Pre-Wedding Golf Including Some Great Shots

Before the little happening of my wedding, a welcome return to the golf course was also combined with a visit from a friend from England and the first ever 18 holes for a new member of the golfing fraternity.

It was a rather chilly, snow flecked Thursday when the four-ball party started their round, consisting of my friend Tim from Barnsley, David, my 12 year old nephew Flynn and myself. Flynn was playing his first 18 holes with a set of ladies clubs that were about 3 sizes too large for him. That did not prevent him from easily playing the 3 best shots of the entire day!

Flynn started with a real peach of chip from just off the 8th green. It was best summed up by Tim, who told Flynn that most golfers wait years rather than just over 2 hours before pulling that shot off. 50 feet, a tricky downhill green and Flynn put just the right amount of power for the ball to caress the flag before plopping in.

The second and third shots were both on the same hole, and words really do not do justice to how brilliantly Flynn played the hole. The 13th is a short 167 yard hole with a nasty pond nestling to the left and encroaching horribly on a third of the green. My ball was over hit, saved from a trek through the cops by slumping into the back bunker. Tim’s was also over-hit, but less so leaving a speedy downhill chip and run. Dave’s ball went MIA. So that left only Flynn…

As Flynn’s club made contact with ball, the three “experienced” golfers all quickly looked to the pond waiting to hear the depressing plonk of a drowned ball. We looked…and we couldn’t see anything. Ahh the ball must have joined Dave’s in the Viet-Cong wilderness. I turned to offer some consoling advice and also to inquire where his ball had ended up. With a look of complete calm I was informed that his ball was in fact at that very moment resting rather snuggly on the bottom of the green. Flynn had hit a grass-cutter 145 odd yards sending his ball through a 2 metre gap between pond on one-side and snow covered excavation on the other.

Amazing! But that was not the end of his brilliance; he then played a 35 feet put, uphill and against the wind to within 3 feet of the hole. His very first par was achieved a few minutes later and after playing only 13 holes of his inaugural round. Jaime bogeyed and Dave hit something just shy of double digits.
For the remaining of the round Flynn’s attention was fixed on finishing ahead of Dave, which he duly did and it was probably the happiest 132 anybody has ever hit.

A 6 Month Hiatus

Well, there are a number of excuses I could provide for not keeping this blog up-to-date; marriage, writing a book, a computer crash, the depression of watching any English national team….but in truth laziness is the only valid excuse. So, from now on I will attempt to keep this blog looking less like an unwanted bizarre Christmas present and more like a beloved family heirloom. Hopefully.