February 13, 2003: Visit to Kumamoto
I got on an early bus to Kumamoto in order to attend a meeting. Downtown Oita is still in the dusk of the morning.
The bus passes through route 10 down to Inukai and then turned left to get on the route 57 that leads to Kumamoto.
The weather forecast says that we have a very chill morning today. The thin frost covers rice paddies around.
Volcano Aso came in sight ahead. The bus goes down to the Aso caldera, the largest in the world. Wonderful scene spreads ahead.
After three hours drive I arrived Kumamoto Prefectural Office.
I visit a friend of mine to have a meeting.
The friend served me with a wonderful lunch.

Chinese Chawanmushi, a savory steamed egg custard with assorted ingredients, was very smooth with good flavor of sesame oil.
Mushroom soup on the right and many kinds of mushroom menu on the left.
I will catch a return bus from Miso Tenjin bus stop. I have long been wondering the strange name of the shrine named "Miso Tenjin", literally "The heavenly gods of Miso (soybean paste)."

As I have a small time today until the bus arrival, I dropped in the shrine.
First I prayed for the God.
Why the unusual name was on the God? The bill board explains.
The only shrine of Miso in Japan is officially called Motomura Shrine.
In the sixth year of Wadou (713 A.D.), the origin of Kagura Dance called Miso was set on the site to relieve down an epidemic prevalence. After then the God became the a guardian of Miso warehouse, they say.
The bamboo grass growing in the precincts makes the taste of Miso good and many people from all around the country had once visited here to share it before the World War 2 days.
The large Torii gate was built and dedicated by National Miso Industry Union.
Street cars and large trucks ply the broad road ahead of the lovely Shrine.
I caught the return bus. A beautiful camphor boulevard will take me back to Oita.
The bus dropped in Kumamoto airport as well.
Keyaki, a Japanese tree of the genus Zelkova lines the street.
The smoke of active volcano Aso came into sight again.
The remnant snow pattern is visible on the slopes. It was not so easy to tell the snow from the smoke in the evening dusk.
Today's souvenir was Karashi Renkon, mustard lotus root. The straight taste that shocks the nose is very good.

I crossed Kyusgu Island by bus today. My body is still swinging.