I had a couple of three day weekends over the past month and I decided to take advantage and go on a nice three day and two night vacation. The destination? Kyushu, one of the four major Japanese islands. Since coming to Japan I have only visited two of the these islands, Honshu and Shikoku, and to eager to discover some new places. So how was my trip? Well, the easiest way to describe it would be to say… it was very culty. That’s right culty. It would be easy for the untrained eye to walk across this island and not see anything particularly out of the normal other than the usual Japanese idiosyncrasies. However, what I witnessed in my three days traveling around this large island was frightening to say the least.
The first five minutes after arriving were normal enough, me and my travel companion had to kill time between our train arrival and our bus departure in Fukuoka, the biggest city on the island. We decided to walk around and search for some illusive street venders which were supposedly famous in the city. We couldn’t find one. Very curious indeed. How could a city famous for its food on the street, have none anywhere to be found? Cult activity? Hmmm.
On our way back from our long walk we stumbled upon a large Buddhist temple. The temple seemed pretty popular since loads of cars were going in and out. They even needed a guy directing traffic outside. Thinking it was possibly some famous attraction in the city, we went inside the walls. It took us ten seconds to figure out something wasn’t quite right. This was no temple, it was more like an office complex, with weird symbols gilded on every orifice. A sudden feeling of dread took over me. Flash backs to my own cult experience filled my mind as we ran past the guard to get out of there. Did I mention that the cult I had joined was founded in Kyushu? Did I tell you that? It’s kind of important. Anyway, my friend informed me that since we had entered the grounds, the tracker implants that my cult had injected into me unknowingly, had probably triggered alarms at the main cult base, and that they would be after me. Crap! In the end, no secret cult agents came pouring out to get us, but the idea did keep us on edge for the rest of the vacation.
The next incident came during our second day of vacation. We were chillin’ around an active volcano called Mount Aso. We were walking around the area when we came across the ruins of an old Buddhist temple. My friend, being a real working archeologist, did a quick survey of the area. After about a minute he was able to determine the cause of its destruction, fire. We couldn’t say when it burned down but it was fairly being that all the trees and were burnt to shit and the ground all the metal around was warped to all hell. We thought about the nature of fire for a second. Fire…fire…fire… We looked at each other and quickly came to the same realization. Fire? Burned down Buddhist temple? Those dirty cults, they struck again. You could feel the sacrilege in the air, the hatred, the suffering. Needless to say we got out of there real quick.
Next incident. On that same day we set up camp in a town called Takachiho. The area is famous for its place in Japanese mythology. We found a hotel quickly enough, and even did a little sightseeing before we decided to get unhealthily drunk. We had eyed an interesting looking bar/restaurant (called an “izakaya” in Japan) when we arrived, so we decided to go honor the funny looking establishment with our patronage. We went inside and was greeted by a man wearing large glasses with perfectly circular lenses, and a greased back 1950’s style yakuza haircut. He directed us to the counter. The very large barkeep, and owner of the place, was quick to inform us that he was a karate and boxing master, and to look at the photos of himself plastered all over the restaurant. Most of the photos were idealized pictures of the bartender in a sea of clouds wearing traditional garb and inspirational messages written in large fonts. Not only was this picture all over the bar, but on three or four large flags waving in the wind outside. It was obvious at that point that we had walked right into a cult base. We finished our food and drink and got out as soon as we could, not after cautiously accepting a clear unknown drink from the man which may have been brainwashing potion.
We had planned to get out of the cult populated town early the next morning, but the bus we planned to get on was conveniently full. We had to wait for another five hours for the next one. We decided we probably shouldn’t stay in one place to avoid detection, so we began circling around the area, not frequenting one place for more than a half hour. However, when we stopped to eat in a place we chose for its lack of customers, as soon as we sat down a group of young people came in. They numbered seven and by the looks of them (skinny jeans, bandanas, and long hair) they were trouble. For a while none of them did anything suspicious and we were beginning to feel a little bit at ease, but then came the look. A girl, the obvious leader of the group, sporting wild long black hair and fake eyelashes, turned her head and began to stare at us, mouth slightly opened, eyes wide. I looked at her back, but she continued to stare. A staring contest ensued. I nodded at her, a “ok, please stop staring at me now” sort of desperate nod. She nodded back, but she wouldn’t look away, mouth still slightly open. She was salivating. My heart beat faster. I was scared. I was no match for her mouth derived powers. We quickly ran out of the store, but the cult outriders were soon on our backs. They chased us around until we begged a passing bus to let us on. We never would of gotten away if we hadn’t suddenly became parkour masters. Driving away we could see them dissolve into cultish mist through the back window.
The time finally came for our bus, and we were glad to leave. It was the scariest experience of our lives. How could an island as big as Kyushu be so densly populated by crazy cultists who want to burn us at the stake? Needless to say, I’m back safe in the normal Japan, where you find only the occasional cult. It’s a good feeling to be alive after a brush of death. Won’t be going back anytime soon…unless… unless they tracked my movements back here. Woah. I forgot about the tracker. Crap, better hide.
See you next time?