I made it to Kagoshima.

Japan Team at Geibi Gorge in Iwate-ken. They will be missed as I travel alone for this leg of my journey!

With the help of Akari-san, I left Haneda airport and landed in Kagoshima – located on the southern part of Kyushu.  After getting off the bus, I was completely lost. Luckily, the girl sitting next to me on the bus walked up and asked me where I was going. Her name was Yuka, and she spoke just enough English to communicate. She realized that we were both going to the same train stop, and helped me get on the train and pay for the ride. While we were walking to the train, she asked me what shape my silly band was. I told her it was a castle and showed her the bracelet. She said she had seen them on television, so I decided to give it to her (I had actually brought the bracelet because I had a strange feeling I’d have a chance to give it away to someone here. Weird huh?). She gladly accepted and walked me to my hotel. It turns out today was Yuka’s 23rd birthday. I hope she liked the bracelet! haha. I feel bad that it was a little old and previously warn by me through some pretty disgusting mold and filth from our relief work in Iwate-ken in northern Japan.

We talked briefly and I told her I was a pastor that worked at a Christian church. I immediately regretted sharing that tidbit of information when I realized my hotel was right on the edge of the red light district in Kagoshima!! I was so embarrassed as she led me through small streets full of some shady clubs. WAH. I felt like trying to clarify that I had no idea the hotel was in the dodgy part of town, but i think i was actually too embarrassed to open my mouth at that point.

view of the red light district from my room
view of my room. the wide angle lens makes it look larger than it is. really.

Also with the help of Akari, I was able to make contact with family in Kagoshima. We called the Arimura house in Tokyo and they said they’d contact me in Kagoshima. Junichi Arimura is a relative of mine. He doesn’t speak English, so a friend of his wife called me at my hotel in Kagoshima. I’m supposed to meet him either tomorrow or Saturday at my hotel.


I’m meeting long lost relatives for the first time… at a hotel in the red light district. I have dishonored my family. SEPPUKU!

I really hope I can meet family here. When Akari was talking to my grandpa’s relative on the phone (my grandpa’s cousin’s wife), for some reason I got all teary eyed. I think I really want to meet the Kagoshima relatives because I was so close to my grandpa. I sort of feel like I’m doing this for him… to be close to him again.

I usually get a bit depressed after a retreat or missions trip. I hate being alone after being around so many people. Yet, part of me is glad that I am doing this by myself. I think discovering my ancestral roots sort of feels like a journey that I have to make alone. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow. HAH.

On the plus side, roaming the country alone makes me feel a little like a ronin… but with no sword… hmm… gotta find a sword.

Miyamoto Musashi, my favorite masterless samurai.


  1. Great stories!! The entire family is proud of what you and the team have done. Anyway keep up the posts, even Mom has faithfully followed the teams journey/work and your travels. Call when you get back to SFO. Dad

  2. you managed to make a silly party favor into something much more meaningful. that made me smile. 🙂

  3. hi jason,
    glad you made it safely. So glad you are able to journey further into discovering your roots. I’m really excited for you & for what the trip will reveal for you. It was great to spend the last 2 wks with you & the team. We got home safely to a warm reception. It’s so good to be home again, but weird too…. Blessings and safe travels

  4. Oh I miss our team. Eric’s comment made me laugh out loud and your (Jason) comments about your grandpa made me cry. Safe travels, Jason and keep posting!

  5. Eric’s comment made me laugh too! Awww.. it’s nice “seeing” everyone on Jason’s blog 🙂 Btw, ur redlight district story was hilarious! (remember… the “most affordable housing” is always near there) and I was totally pointing out how HUGE your room looked, cuz I know how big ours was when we traveled. Then I saw your commen about the wide angle lens. lol… Glad your having a wonderful time and contacting the fam all worked out 🙂

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