Camp Bad Luck
Posted by Heliocentrism on December 19, 2014
August 4-7 & August 25 – September 2, 2014
The link above will play the Law & Order sound effect. I put it there because that is how traumatic this trip and the next one was. But before I go into my story I just need to clarify one thing.
The Gonokawa Canoe Park in Sakugi is a great place to go camping, swimming, and canoeing. (I guess; I never tried the canoeing.) I would recommend this place without hesitation. It’s just that I personally never want to go back. Mark and I just had too many bad things happen to us there. I almost died! But other than that, it’s great!
Before we booked the campsite we checked the weather report. It said there would be rain on Monday, but nothing but sunshine the rest of the week. We packed up all our stuff and headed to the campsite on Monday.
We were not surprised to see no one else there. Like I said, it was to rain on Monday. The guy who showed us to our spot told me that the place would get very crowded on Tuesday. We were placed in the lot farthest from the bathrooms because all the other lots were reserved for the next day.
Although it hadn’t started to rain when we first arrived, it looked like it would soon. So, Mark and I quickly put up our tent. We got it up in time to have it shelter us from the rain. We had a barbeque and just as we were done, the rain stopped.
It wasn’t quite hot enough to go swimming, but it also wasn’t quite cold enough to not go swimming. So, we went swimming. There was a path that went up towards the mountain. The water flowed down this path with several pools or steps along the way. The path ended at the campsite and emptied into the river.
This placed seemed so perfect. All we needed now was for it to be hot and sunny the next day so we could follow the path as far as it went of the mountain. As for that day, it was getting dark and we were getting cold. We headed back to camp, put on dry clothes, and slept during the rainy night dreaming of clear skies that would never come.
The next day everything was damp. The whole night it was either raining or drizzling. I hoped that the sun would come out and dry everything out. I looked up at the sky. There was not an inch of sky to be seen, just a huge blanket of fluffy cloud covering everything.
By noon the rain and drizzling stopped. Even though there was still no sun, I put everything out to dry. There was a strong breeze blowing that would dry our stuff. I clamped, clipped, and weighed everything down in the wind. After a few hours, everything was dry. I took in all the stuff in time to save them when it started to rain again.
We also took down our tarp and put it back up correctly. This made all the difference. We stayed drier through lunch and dinner. We sat under the tarp all afternoon enjoying the time despite the rain, but wanting the rain to stop so we could go explore the water trail.
But we were okay with another rainy day. We still had hopes for sunshine that Wednesday. As we ate dinner it started to rain harder, but we did not notice. The tarp kept us nicely dry and the picnic blanket is waterproof on the bottom. So we did not notice the flooding around us, until one of us had to use the bathroom.
“No big deal,” we thought. We just put everything in waterproof containers or on the table under the tarp. Then we went into the tent. It was a bit early to go to bed, but it was getting cold outside.
In the tent the flooding was even more noticeable. The tent itself was dry, but we could feel the water under the tent. It felt like we were walking on a waterbed. This still did not bother us. We got into bed and tried to sleep.
Then, I felt it. It was a drip on my head, then another. I looked up. Mark felt it too. “Are we leaking?” I asked Mark.
“No, the water is coming down so hard, it makes the fly touch the tent.”
Inside a tent on a rainy day, you will have condensation on the underside of your fly. If the tent is put up correctly and your tent and fly are not touching, the water will roll down the fly and fall outside the tent. If your fly and your tent are touching, it will start to rain inside your tent. That is what happened to us.
This was a big deal. I hate being cold and wet while I sleep. I can take one or the other, but not both. Then Mark came up with a genius plan. “Let’s just go home, sleep in our bed, and come back tomorrow when everything has dried out.” You see, we still thought that the sun would come out the next day.
The drive back home was almost impossible. We could not see very far ahead of us. I think it started to rain harder and harder. A semi passed us going the opposite direction and nearly washed us out to sea in it’s wake. But, we did get home safely. We dried off and went to bed.
Wednesday August 6: Take the Weather with You
Mark and I woke up early the next morning. We lay in bed listening to the heavy down pour outside. Six o’clock turned to seven o’clock then eight and nine, still the rain didn’t let up. Around ten that morning we decided to just go to the campsite, get our things, and cancel our last camping night.
When we went outside we saw that the drains on the sides of the streets were flooded. Here in Japan the drains are deep, wide ditches of death. If you drive too close to one and fall in, well… that would be the end of your car. Honestly, I don’t know why no one covers them up with a grate or something.
We got to the campsite to find the swimming area completely flooded. The cheaper camping spots, the ones with no electricity, were underwater. If we had been camping there all our stuff would have been washed away. We had no problems getting a full refund for the remainder of our stay.
We packed up our camping gear and dried them out at home. This was easy to do, because once our tent went down, it stopped raining. The next day the sun shone lovingly on the dry earth. It was perfect camping weather. I cursed the sun all that day.
Instead of going straight home we stopped at a sushi place for lunch. On our way there, we thought we’d have a look at our own river that is not too far from our home. This is where I exercise every morning. Well, you can’t see where I walk because that path is underwater. There are also trees and a little island that you also cannot see.
One of Mark’s coworkers told him about a farmer who chased after his pregnant cow as she floated down this river for miles. The cow fell into the river and got washed away. The farmer and a couple of firefighters worked for hours trying to get the cow back on land. The cow and calf are fine now.
Another Monday, a few weeks later, we tried it again. Despite the rain, the campsite seem really nice and we still had not explored that water trail up the mountain. We knew that it would rain on Monday, the day we were to begin our stay, but by Tuesday there would be clear skies and sunshine.
We stopped off at Yumeland Funo for some locally grown vegetables and carrot ice cream. Yumeland is known for its unusual flavors of ice cream. So far I’ve tried: asparagus, tomato, carrot, and almond. Carrot and almond are the only flavors I would try again.
We did manage to get to the campsite and set up the tent and tarp just before the rain started. It wasn’t heavy rain this time. In fact there were enough pauses in the showers that we were able to use the bathroom throughout the day without getting wet. After the last rain camping experience, this was downright pleasant!
Sunshine and a Butterfly
The next day around 14:00 the rain stopped and the sun came out. I hung everything that was wet out to dry. Once everything was dry Mark and I relaxed under the tarp. Along came a butterfly and it flew around our camp; a good omen. It seemed like it was going to be a great camping trip.
After dinner I wanted to get something cold to drink from the nearest vending machines. so, Mark and I took the path along the road towards the main building of the camp. This was a paved road where cars drive, not a trail. There was a spot on the road between two street lights where we could see out to where we were going, but not down where we were stepping.
I was wearing flip-flops and I felt two simultaneous pricks on my foot. At first I thought I had stepped on something, but the wound was not on the bottom of my foot. It was on the top. I turned on my flashlight to see a snake slithering away. I told Mark that I might have been bitten by a snake.
At first he thought I was joking. I shone the flashlight on the snake as it slithered into the grass. “Are you sure it bit you?” Then I aimed the light on my foot. Sure enough, there were two puncture wounds on my foot. “It was either a snake or a really short vampire…”
I turned around to continue to the vending machine. “Where are you going?” Mark asked. “Go to the car!” He ran to the campsite. I was surprised at how much pain I was not in. It felt like I was bitten, but that was all. I don’t know what I expected being poisoned by a snake would feel like, but I felt fine. No foaming at the mouth, no fever, no seizures. Or maybe that’s for rabies.
Mark was in the Boy Scouts as a kid so I asked him what he knew about snakes. “Did that snake look venomous?” “I have no idea,” he said, “I learned about snakes in Michigan, not about Japanese snakes.” “Well then, what did you learn about treating a snake bite?” I was expecting advice like, “suck out the venom,” “pour hot water on the wound,” or “drink this magic potion.”
But instead Mark said, “They taught us to get the person to the hospital as soon as possible.” So, that’s what we did. Mark drove as fast as he could on the road. We ran a couple red lights after stopping to make sure nothing was coming. I sat in the car wondering what would happen to me. Was I going to die? Was I going to lose my leg? I wasn’t in any serious pain, so I figured that maybe I’d be okay.
We got the the emergency room and I walked in while Mark parked the car. There were two nurses talking behind the admittance counter. “Snake bite!” I said. “Hebi!” The nurses looked at each other in amazement. “Hebi?” they said. Now, my Japanese isn’t that great. I know the word for “snake” and the word for “shrimp”. One is “hebi” the other is “ebi”. Because of their slow reactions I began to worry that I had just walked into this emergency room and announced that I was bitten by a shrimp.
The nurses slowly made their way around the counter to where I was standing. They had collected about 3 doctors on their walk towards me. Now my foot was beginning to hurt. I could see the horror on the doctor’s faces and they muttered things to themselves in Japanese. “Oh shit, this is serious,” I began to think.
I could no longer stand up. My legs started to give out as a doctor poked at my foot. As I was going down I felt some hands guiding me and I landed in a wheelchair. Right on cue, Mark came in. Suddenly it became an emergency and I was being wheeled to a back room at top speed. I almost expected to hear someone yell, “stat!”
We got to some other area of the emergency room. There was another patient laying in a bed with several IVs in his arm. As they pulled the curtains to give him privacy, I wondered which one of us was in the worse situation.
Before anything else happen a nurse came it to start me on an IV drip. I guessed that every patient got one. She asked, miming, if I was left or right-handed. I’m right-handed, so she put the needle in my left arm. Well, actually it went into the back of my left hand. Fun, right?
No one spoke English and neither Mark nor I knew the Japanese words for this situation. I had many bug bites all along my legs and the nurse asked me about them. “Mushi” I told her. “Bugs.” I focused on the bug bites. They grew increasingly itchy. In fact the more nervous and scared I got the itchier those bug bites were. The pain in my foot felt like nothing compared to those bug bites.
A doctor came in and asked a couple questions in Japanese, but we could not answer him. He stood there repeating his questions in Japanese at various speeds and with different gestures, but I was too freaked out to communicate with him.
An older doctor walked in the room. He pulled up a chair near my foot and stuck it with a needle then he looked at me. He said nothing. I looked at him looking at me. After a while he opened a package that had a scalpel inside. “Jesus Christ, Mark, what is he going to do with that!?” I tried to get him to stop. “Let’s talk about this first!” But the doctor paid me no mind. I pulled back my foot, but he held on to it with a very strong grip.
“Look at me,” Mark said. He held my face in place so I could not look at the doctor. “What is he doing!?” I thought that maybe he was cutting out a huge chunk of my foot to get the poison out. I had no idea what was going on. My view of my foot was blocked by a sheet or towel and it was numb so I could not see or feel anything. “I don’t know what he’s doing, but he is a doctor and he is doing what needs to be done,” Mark reassured me.
I felt nothing from the bite on my foot, but my toes were really itchy. My legs were itchy. My arms, head, face… everything was itchy. I pleaded with the doctor to give me my foot back so I could scratch my toes. I scratched at my arms and legs like a crazy person.
The doctor put a simple bandage on my foot and left. The other doctor stood there ready to ask his questions again. This time he tried to speak in English.
“Hospital…” He said this word a couple times and mumbled for about 2 minutes. “Another…” Again there was a couple minutes of mumbling. “I think they want to take you to another hospital, Josie,” Mark said solemnly. Is it that bad? I cannot be treated here… I have to go to a special snake bite hospital!?
“Will I lose the leg?” I asked the doctor. He looked at me and smiled. “Yes,” he said confidently. “Yes!”
“Will I die?”
Not skipping a beat or noticing the fear in my voice, he showered me with yeses. I looked at Mark. “He says I’m going to die!”
“I don’t think this guy even understood what you asked him. Even the most stupid doctor would not smile and tell a patient she is going to die. I think that his smile means you’ll be okay.”
The nurse waved at me to get my attention. I think she realized that whatever the younger doctor was doing was freaking me out, so she wanted me to ignore him. She held up a bag filled with little bottles and a giant syringe. I let out a gasp imagining the size of the needle that would go to the syringe. The nurse waved her hands as if to say, “No. No needle.” Then she pointed to the IV tubes to show that the syringe would go in there.
Then she put her syringe cocktail together. Every time I looked at the younger doctor, she waved at me to look at her. She held up the syringe with everything mixed inside it and said something in Japanese. She spoke slowly, clearly, and repeated herself 3 times. “Hebi no blah blah blah desu.” It was something for the snake poison. It went into one of the many ports along the IV line.
Then the nurse pulled out a picture book. She opened to a page and pointed to a drawing. There was a gender neutral humanoid with welts all over it’s body scratching itself. The caption said, “My body is itchy.” “Hai, so desu!” I replied.
The nurse turned around and picked up an IV bag from her cart. She showed it to me and put it back. Then opened her book again and gave it to me pointing to a phrase. “Anti-itch.” She hung the bag from my IV pole and attached it to an IV port. I felt better instantly. No more itching.
Then she showed me another IV bag. This one had English written on the bag itself. She showed me the English writing. It said “antibiotic”. I nodded, “okay” and she hung that one to the IV pole and attached to the IV port like she did with the other bag. She also added another bag of steroids to the pole and port. That IV stand had a lot hanging from it.
I wanted to relax, but I was worried about this “another hospital” that might happen. I was physically shaking. The nurse asked if I was cold. I was not. I was just scared and I didn’t know what would happen next.
Then another nurse came in. I had met her before. She lived in Seattle and spoke English very close to perfectly. I was so happy to see her.
“How are you?” I asked her. She laughed and said she was fine and working the night shift tonight. “How are you, Josie?”
“Oh fine,” I said. “Well, not so fine. I got bitten by a snake…”
She did some translating and cleared up all the miscommunications.
1. I would not be going to another hospital. I would be going to another floor in this hospital, the ICU.
2. I would not lose my leg, though I would lose function of it for a few days… or weeks.
3. I would die, but not because of this. Unless, of course, I were a Highlander or a vampire. (My grandmother was from Scotland, so I might be a Highlander afterall.)
The Seattle nurse helped Mark fill out the paperwork to get me checked into the hospital and help take me up the the ICU. Was I so sick I had to go to the ICU? Apparently, yes. I spent a whole week there. Every morning I had blood tests and my urine was closely monitored. I was kept on IV drips the whole time and I went through many bags of antibiotics each day.
From my symptoms and other tests that they did, the doctors knew that I was bitten by a mamushi, a type of Japanese pit viper. There was antivenom for the snake bite. The doctor did not give this to me. He said that the side-effects of the antivenom were, “undesirable.” He did not elaborate on this. Instead I was treated with continuous IV drips and made to pee a lot. This was to flush out the toxins. The medical staff was concerned for my liver, but mostly for my kidneys. My urine was checked often for blood.
My first hours in the ICU my foot was swollen and I was asked each hour about a list of symptoms. They would ask if I had double vision. After responding no, I would get a, “Are you sure? Try. Don’t you see two of things?” This was done in Japanese of course, but I could tell, they were expecting this symptom and they wanted me to get on with it.
About 4 hours after being bitten, my vision did indeed become doubled. I felt like those drunk cartoon characters, except shaking my head did not bring back my regular sight. For the next few weeks my right eye was lazy and just could not keep up with my other eye. I looked cross-eyed. Even now, as I write this 3 weeks after the bite, my eyes still do not work as they did and I get headaches when I read for too long.
The leg pain started right after I got to the ICU. After a few hours, my swollen foot became a swollen leg. I was given drugs for that, but the pain continued. I was told that I could not get any more drugs until six the next morning. After that I was given drugs twice a day for the next 2 weeks, and that kept me pretty pain-free. I found that as long as I didn’t move my leg, it did not hurt.
This meant that I was stuck in bed. The nurses put a potty in my room so I would not have to walk all the way down the hall to do my business. But, even using the potty next to my bed was too much work for me. I had to keep my leg vertical. Sitting up with my left leg dangling down would cause more pain that I could bare. So, it was bed pans for me.
At first this was so hard to do. I could get in position, pull down my own shorts, and hoist my butt up so someone could slide the bedpan under me. The nurse or Mark would put a towel over me to give me some ounce of privacy. But then I would just lay there for minutes trying to start.
Sometimes the nurse left the room and that made it a bit easier. But peeing in bed was hard. As a kid, I was a bedwetter. When I was young, I wanted more than almost anything to not pee the bed. As an adult, peeing in bed, even while using a bedpan, felt like I was going against nature, god, democracy, and all that was decent. Several times Mark had to turn on the faucet in the room to get me going. I did not like it one bit!
Soon after my vision went, the nausea kicked in. I felt sick all over. My muscles were sore. I was tired. My leg hurt. I started to keep my eyes closed. That first night in the ICU, Mark spent the whole night in an uncomfortable chair next to my bed. He helped me when I needed to use the bathroom and tried to keep me comfortable, reassured. and entertained.
The next morning they brought me food. I didn’t even look at it; not that I would have seen it if I did. My vision was very bad and I was still very nauseous. Just smelling the food, made me feel sicker. I asked for the food to be taken away. Mark stayed until I fell asleep again, then he went back to the campsite to pack up our stuff.
He came back in time for lunch. By then my thigh was also swollen, stiff, and I could not move it without horrible pain. Keeping still was the best thing, along with keeping my eyes shut. Mark tried to feed me some of the lunch I was given, but I really had no interest in it. I just wanted sleep and drugs… sweet, sweet drugs.
That afternoon I was officially told that I would have to stay in the ICU for at least a week. Before this news there was hope that the poison wasn’t affecting me too badly and I would be sent home after 24 hours. But the blood work showed that I was getting worse, not better. This meant that my leg would get even bigger, my vision would get a lot worse, and it would be about a week, before I could pee without a small audience. (The peeing thing bugged me the most.)
By the evening on the first day of my stay my nausea had stopped. I was so hungry. I hadn’t eaten all day. I was lucky that on the day I had my biggest appetite, the hospital served its finest meal. It was the best dish I had ever been served in a hospital. Of course that doesn’t really mean much.
I remember my first ever hospital meal. I was 8 years old and stayed four days in the hospital for a concussion. I was a little daredevil and my best trick on a merry-go-round went horribly wrong at school. I didn’t eat my first day and a half because I kept throwing up. But once I stopped, my doctor wanted me to eat something.
She told me that I could eat or not eat anything on the tray I wanted and it didn’t matter what order I ate. “I could have dessert first!?” I asked her. I could. I dived into the dessert which was a corn bread. It was dry and had a sticky sugary film on top. I hated it. How does anyone mess up dessert?
I tried the meat. It was liver and I had never had liver before. My mother grew up in a very poor family, so as an adult she refused to make dishes she thought of as non-delicious things only really poor people would have to eat. It tasted like filth that needed salt. But it was slightly better than the vegetables which were canned string beans.
I chose not to eat anything else while I was in the hospital. The doctor did tell me that I didn’t have to eat anything if I didn’t want to. Of course she was just talking about the first meal, but I took it as a rule for life in general. I had an IV line and my mom brought me fruit, sandwiches, and juice boxes. Plus, I didn’t tell anyone then, but my roommates parents snuck in McDonald’s for her every night and they always brought me fries, McNuggets, and a strawberry shake.
Breakfast was always miso soup, rice, some vegetable, and a juice box of milk. I was asked if I wanted bread instead of rice. I chose rice.
The last time I was in the hospital in Japan I made the mistake of picking bread. Every morning I got a steamed slice of white bread in saran wrap. If I didn’t open the bread right away because I was in the bathroom or asleep when they placed the tray at my bed, the bread would be too soggy to eat.
There was a toaster many of the patients used to toast their soggy bread. But that required being mobile enough to walk to the common area on your own while holding your bread. I just could not pull that off, so after a few days I asked to switch to rice.
The meals come with a little slip of paper with information. On top is the date and my name. On the side is what ward I’m staying in and how many calories the meal has. It was always around 6~700 kcal per meal. Then it listed the stuff on the tray and this list always started with rice.
The food isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. It’s adequate. But, it only takes a few days to become totally sick of it. I had cravings for spicy food, cheese, and whole fruits. You would get fruit in the hospital, but it was like a segment of an orange or a wedge of an apple.
The second night I made Mark get me “stuff to eat!” He came back with eclairs, potato chips, and chocolate cookies. “No. I didn’t ask for a snack. I wanted something to eat.” I sent him back out into the night to get me spaghetti. I ate it lustfully. I ate until I felt stuffed and handed the rest to Mark.
“You sent me out twice to get you food and you barely touched it?”
I looked at the bowl of convenience store pasta. He was right, I hadn’t eaten much. But it felt like I ate so much more. I must have been really sick.
On Friday, my 3rd morning in the ICU, the doctor announced that I had “passed the peak of venom” in my blood. For here on out, my symptoms would decrease and over the next few months I would go back to normal. He also told me that there would no longer be any daily blood tests.
I sat in anticipation of him telling me I could go home, but that did not happen. I was to have at least one more blood test on Monday morning. If the result was favorable I could go home Tuesday afternoon. I wanted to protest and demand that I be sent home immediately, but even I had to admit that since I could not even use the bathroom by myself, I was better off in the hospital.
By Sunday I wanted out. I had spent the last 5 days in a room in the ICU. I never even left this room to pee. What was worse was that I could not even see out the window of my room. The window was behind my bed and my body was to stiff for me to turn around to look through it. I wanted to go somewhere else, even if it were just another part of the hospital.
Mark asked one of the nurses for a wheelchair. I eagerly, but slowly, maneuvered my way out of the bed and into the chair. My left leg that had been kept in a horizontal position was now bent at the knee. It took only a minute for so for the pain to start. “Mark, I need to get out of this chair” Back in bed my leg was straight again and in about 15 minutes the pain had subsided. I was stuck in my ICU room.
Later the doctor told me that if I wanted to I could stay in the ICU even longer and wait for my leg to get better. Since I could not move around so easily, he thought it would be a good idea for me to just stay for a few extra days, maybe even another week. “No, that’s not happening!”
Monday morning I tried hanging my bad leg off the side of the bed to build up a tolerance. I kept doing this every few hours. I would let it dangle until it started to hurt. But that seemed to be doing me no good and by noon I abandoned that plan.
My next goal was to use the portable potty in my room. I reached out for it and dragged it close to the bed. Then I scooted myself to the edge of the bed leaving my left leg on the bed. I had to not only keep my left leg in position, but also not get my IV line caught on anything. I pushed off the bed and got my butt on the potty. I was in a good enough position, but my pants were still up.
By Tuesday morning, with my IV taken out I had mastered solo peeing. It felt great! One of the nurses noticing my improvement asked if I wanted to take a shower. “Go to the shower!?” I had only bed baths with hot wet towels up to that point. “I would love a shower.”
She got a wheelchair and took me to the shower. She had placed a plastic chair in the shower stall so I could sit. The water was already on and steaming up the place. She helped me out of my clothes and placed me in the shower. I sat down and put my left foot up on a shower shelf where shampoo or soap would be kept. The nurse handed me soap and shampoo then she turned around. I sat there trying to remember when I had enjoyed a shower this much before.
After the shower the nurse helped me to balance on one foot as I got dressed. She then took me back to my room. And asked if I would like to go for a walk in about an hour. “What is today, my birthday!?”
Another nurse came to get me. I got into her wheelchair and she whisked me away. We were not really going that fast, but it felt like we were with my wonky eyes. My eyes could not focus in things fast enough as we moved through the hospital. My right eye worked a little better than my left eye, but it was still not functioning as it should. I was beginning to get nauseous, but I said nothing. I didn’t want to be taken back to the room just yet.
According to the doctor, it would take a month or two before my vision went back to normal. It would also take a while for me to be able to walk without pain or my foot swelling. (Two months after the bite, my right foot still gets swollen when I walk. The pain is almost gone though.)
Tuesday afternoon I was released. My blood work showed that I was improving enough to go home. Mark came to the hospital after work to get me. There were still forms to fill out and other things to do before I could officially leave. The leaving process seemed to drag on and on. Once in the car I felt free!
I sat at home for several weeks, because that is all I could do. My Japanese teacher came by to see me a few times and she brought gifts. But, for the most part, I was stuck at home. I tried doing housework, but standing for too long would make my leg swell and it would hurt. Around October was when I felt good enough to walk and stand enough to do things like make dinner or do the dishes. Until then, Mark had to do everything.
About a week after I left the hospital I had to go back for a check up. They did some blood work and I got to talk with the doctor. He said I was doing fine and my symptoms would all go away in a few months. This would be my last snakebite related hospital visit.
This section of this entry was written about two months after the snake bite. My eyes are back to normal. I can walk for about an hour before my foot starts to hurt, but any amount of walking will still cause the foot to swell. But now the swelling is slight and not painful. My foot still hurts if you poke it where the snake bit me, but I think that will go away with time.
How to get there:
You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly. Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.
- Emergency Numbers:
- Police 110
- Ambulance and Fire 119
- Important phone numbers to know while in Japan
- Comfort Woman
- The Commoner
- Empire of the Sun
- Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
- Geisha, a Life
- Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission
- The Last Concubine
- Memoirs of a Geisha
- Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath
- Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
- Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan. Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
- InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank toaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
- ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
- The Post Office bank seems to work with most cards.
- You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)
Gonokawa Canoe Park Sakugi
- Coordinates 34°50’21.4″N 132°43’20.0″E
Miyoshi, Hiroshima Prefecture 728-0131
- +81 824-55-7050
- ￥1,000 per site (This is a flat rate. It doesn’t matter how many people are staying in the tent.)
- Comes with an electrical outlet with 2 sockets.
- Regular Camping
- ￥500 per site (This is a flat rate. It doesn’t matter how many people are staying in the tent.)
- No electrical outlets.
- This area tends to flood in the rainy season.
- ￥100 with no time limit
- Reception is open 8:30 to 18:00
- Showers available 8:30 to 18:00
- Check in\out 15:00/14:00
- There are coin washing machines, but I don’t know how much they cost.
- There is an overpriced restaurant and a small shop to buy a few things.
- There are cabins available, but I don’t know how much they cost.