Thursday, January 7, 2010

Here's to Life in 2010!

Matt and I have never really done too much when it came time to ring in the New Year. We usually stop by a friend's house or just stay in and watch movies. The closest thing to a tradition we have so far is getting a "crave case" from White Castle for our New Year's Eve meal. Gross, I know. So, we didn't really have much planned for this New Year, especially since we were in Japan - with NO White Castle! We had to make do. A few of the guys Matt works with wanted to go camping, so Matt planned a 3-day camping trip to the secluded beach on Miyagi Island that we had just found on one of our weekends exploring. That morning, we loaded both our cars full of camping gear and food, and made the trip out to the site on New Year's Eve. We set up camp, did some grilling, and the guys literally cut a path through the dense forest right behind our camp site to collect fire wood. No pre-cut, store bought wood for us! We were roughing it. I mean, my cell phone wasn't even getting service there! Later on in the day, a few of our other friends came out to join us. We ended up ringing in the New Year around a big bonfire, with champagne in red plastic cups:)

Our campsite

Matt cutting down trees

The fire at its largest point

Champagne for our New Year's toast

First photo of 2010

The beautiful sunrise the next morning

A few more guys that Matt works with ended up joining us the next morning, but they were not able to stay over night. I volunteered to take the guys back home before midnight that night, which worked out well for me, because I wasn't planning on doing both nights anyway. However, right before I left the camp, Matt and a few of the other guys went on a night hike and ended up making a creepy discovery while in the forest. They came out with stories about how they were hiking and ran across a human skull! They ended up going a little further and finding more and more! The next morning, I came back to the camp to pick up Matt and the others that had stayed the second night, and they took me on a hike to show me the bones (in the daylight). What had taken them about an hour to find in the dark, took about 20 minutes for us to find in the light. And they weren't kidding. There were, in fact, tons of human skulls and other bones! About half of the bones were in large ceramic pots, and some of the skulls had been placed up on the rocky cliff that surrounded the area. Just a little creepy. It was obvious that someone had put them there, and all we could think of was that it was probably some sort of shrine. The Japanese people treat their dead much differently than we do in America. People are not buried, but are put in large tombs by family. These tombs look like little concrete houses, and you see them everywhere you go in Okinawa - just on the side of the road a lot of times. I have a feeling that these people were put here by their family members who were maybe too poor to buy an actual tomb for them?!? We couldn't figure it out - all I know is that if we had made that discovery in America, the police would certainly be involved. However, this is Japan, and I'm fairly certain that this kind of this is not uncommon here. Still creepy.

I think it's safe to say that this has been our most interesting New Year's so far! Happy 2010!



  1. Oh my gosh! Those skulls and bones are crazy! There were so many of them! Wow!! What an experience and interesting way to bring in the New Year! The stories you'll be able to tell your children! Glad you were able to enjoy it, even without the White Castle! :) Miss you guys! Love and kisses from all the Millers!

  2. EWWW CREAPY!!!! Arnt you glad you didnt have to sleep there another night...knowing what was behind you...

  3. YES!! It was a fun way to ring in the New Year, but I was definately ready to go home after that discovery! LOL

  4. Amazing! Happy New Year! Such interesting adventures. (Let's see you top this one, now!) I sure hope you aren't bringing any souveniers home!
    Love you both! xo