06 May 2011

We ate Ryōma

Our only out-of-town venture this Golden Week was a day trip to Kōchi. I had been thinking of doing a two-day cycle there but between things like weather and what turned out to be the stomach ache from the deepest recesses of hell that didn't transpire. Some other time. I'm not tired of Kōchi yet, especially not when I get to see Route 33 on the way over there. Bridges, rivers, tea plantations: a highly recommended drive.

I must confess that our main purpose in going there was to eat Ryōma burgers 龍馬バーガー. We tried last year, but didn't want to wait two hours. This year we had the foresight to go to 5019 Premium Factory on a regular weekday before three public holidays. The layers of bread, tomato, lettuce, egg, tomato sauce and mayonnaise, green pepper, eggplant, tuna, and beef patty did not disappoint. Remember to mind the eating instructions though:

1. Wrap it up with your tinfoil.
2. Push it down firmly from the top. Push! Push!
3. Hold it with both hands when you bite a piece off. If it gets a bit messy around your mouth—forget about it!

I'll be that guy and offer one critique: if you're going to make a real food kind of burger, serve some real food kind of chips, by which I mean potato wedges.

After lunch we drove to Katsurahama 桂浜. If you're a real Sakamoto Ryōma fan you can see his statue there from a podium at face height during Golden Week. We decided to give the Japanese groupies their space and go enjoy the beach instead. Though I'd seen the Pacific by now, this was my first true interaction with it. We exchanged pleasant greetings via my feet. And I'll say one thing for Katsurahama: it's a pretty nice beach to be barefeet on. No rubbish—not even cigarette butts—anywhere in sight.

Next, I lay down in the back of the car to start an up and down cycle of stomach pain and fever on our way to Ryugadō 龍河洞. The cave is very interesting because there's an underground river. The amount of water that is moving around there makes for interesting formations. But I do have to lament the fact that whoever runs the place found the rocks so beautiful they had to label them with big ugly tags, and some areas so precious that they had to be fenced in. Great way to appreciate nature.

As it was already quite late and we hadn't received any clear time information for the cocks with the long tails place there, we unfortunately missed that. Next time I guess.

Our trip last year was more eventful because we stayed a bit longer. The free camping was convenient, apart from the toilets that were gross for most of our stay. But anyway. We got up to things like wandering around the castle grounds late afternoon by ourselves. We saw the famous Sunday market, and while visiting the castle again happened upon a Goodwill Guide who gave us a full tour. The Makino Botanical Gardens 牧野植物園 were also gorgeous. I highly recommend all of those sights.

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