September 27-29: Visit to Kagoshima city    by Mie
We had a Kyushu Island session of Group of Friends from September 28 through 29. Six members of Oita branch took Seagaia, a limited express, at 11:02 in the morning. We changed the train to Kirishima at Miyazaki station. Afer a long time on the trains, for five and a half hour, we at last arrived at Kagoshima station, some 200 miles to the south of Oita.
Active volcano Sakurajima welcomes us in the cloudy sky. The grand vista of the volcano always makes passengers enjoy.

We got a taxi at Kagoshima station and directly headed to Kagoshima Municipalities Autonomy Hall in which the session is to be held. Both of Kagoshima prefectural Office building (left) and the Hall are designed in pale-brown color so as not to make a striking contrast when volcano Sakurashima, just six miles west of the downtown, pours ash over those beautiful buildings. The district where government offices are located used to be an airport.
I explored the town before the meeting starts in the evening.

I have long been expecting to visit Xavier Church in Kagoshima. Missionary Fransisco Xavier of Spain marked his first step on the soil of Japan on August 15, 1549 here in Kagoshima. He first brought in Christianity into Japan. He propagated Christianity in Kagoshima, Yamaguchi, Kyoto, and Oita. The billboad on the left reads "The 450th anniversary of first landing of Xavier will be open in 14 days."

The memorial park of Xavier's 400th anniversary features its statue of the missionary. A part of old stone-made church is used to construct the monument. In this October, another statue of Xavier and Kagoshima believers will be constructed here as a part of many events to be held in Kagoshima City.

In commemoration with Xavier's 400 anniversary, Xavier Church was first constructed in 1949 and rebuit in this year. A ceremony called "New Cathedral Dedication" was held just on September 17. The interior is very simple, beautifully illuminated by gentle light through colorful stained glass, filling a solemn atmosphere in the hall.
A large painting on the wall of the Cathedral tells us the arrival of Christianity to Japan. Xavier first brought-in not only Chrstianity, but also Western spiritual culture, life, and science. He was engaged in missionary work for two years with great difficulties, but his seeds are now grown up in the hearts of the believers.
We took a dinner at restaurant Satsuma (old name of Kagoshima) located close to Tenmonkan amusement center. I have once visited the restaurant 15 years ago on my trip to Kagoshima to join a meeting of Group of Friends.

Satsuma foods on Satsuma earthenwares stimulate our appetite: from left, Sashimi of Kibinago fish (catch-of-the-day) marinated with vinegared soybean paste. Beautiful black small Satsuma cup contains flakes of bonito dipped in Nanban soup.
Right picture shows, from left, boiled rice with chestnut and sweet potato, famed Tonkotsu (well softened pork rib boiled with Japanese white radish and burdock), Satsuma soup that contains many kinds of vegetables, and Satsumaage (ground white meat fish fried with vegetables) on the square dish. When I chewed the Satsumaage, small pieces of carrots came out. The chopstick rest is in the shape of Sakurajima radish. I fully enjoyed the taste of Satsuma.
Restaurant Satsuma-ji: call 099-266-0525, location 6-29 Higashi Sengoku-cho, Kagoshima City

I enjoyed the dinner with many friends from Saga branch, Nagasaki branch, and Saiki branch. We share taxi and got back to the Hall. I stayed in a sigle room. I found a phone jack on the desk. If I had a PC with me, I could have accessed to the Internet. Next room is of twin-bed room with an extra bed. We Oita members got together the room and disscussed for tomorrow for a while.

On September 28, we walked out after the breakfast. The air is slightly contaminated with the dust and smell of the smoke from Sakurajima volcano. As we were told that we could enjoy a grand vista from the observation platform on the 18th floor, we crimbed up ther by an elevator crowded with local officers on work. Sakurajima volcano is too close to capture its whole outline by my digital camera. Just below the window are a baseball field and an athletics stadium in Kamoike district.
Bougainvillea flowers went back to the wildness and beautifully blooming in the corner of a parking lot. Yes, Kagoshima is a county in the south, anyway.
In Kyushu Block meeting, some 130 members joined from 20 branches in Kyushu Island. We exchanged our daily study results each other in two days meeting.

On September 29, the meeting was over at 3 p.m. We picked a taxi at the entrance of the site. The taxi driver was so kind and recommended us to take short looks around the city since we have come down all the way to Kagoshima. We then visited a monument of Toshimichi Okubo, a statesman in eraly Meiji era, crossed Nishida brige on Kotsuki River, and passed Tenmonkan amusement center. Finally, we got out of the taxi and took a picture of Takamori Saigo, a tragic hero statesman born in Kagoshima and fought a civil war against Okubo in 1877.

Haiku: The sky is high in blue, Saigo stands on his birthplace with gentle light in his eyes.
We then dropped at a souvenir shop of famouse Satsumaage. On the wall of the shop is a huge sea bream, one of the raw materials of fried Satsumaage

So many kinds of beautiful Satsumaages are in the showcase. We asked to pick some pieces of them up from large dishes on the right to prepare the boxes of assorted Satsumaage for souvenirs. Some of them contain carrot, others have a stamp of the symbol mark of Shimadzu, once a feudal lord of Satsuma.

Tokunagaya Co., Ltd. is in Kagoshima City

We found a Kintsuba (a kind of cake with sweet ingredient in the center) shop, but we were too busy to stop at it. A taxi driver strongly recommended us to try "White bear", however. Just before jumping in a train to home, each of us barely bought a large cup of the sherbet. The cups contained large sweet beans, jujubes, and cherries. The dear old taste was, however, too much for us to eat-up.
What was surprizing, my husband was waiting for me at Oita station. We happily drove back home. After taking refreshing shower, we toasted with chilled beer over the souvenir Satsumaage. On the right is a box of "sweet potato", which was very tasty as well. It takes about five and half-hours from Kagoshima to Oita by train, but so much of the pleasant female chatting made us forget the distance.

Yamafuku Confectionery...phone 099-268-1515

Kyushu Block Meeting
Mie Home