I nearly DIED today after being attacked by a snake (but please don’t tell my Mum!)

September 23, 2009

So… go on then, guess the circumference of Miyajima Island? Go on..have  a stab:

8 km?

10 km?

15 km??? Surely not!?

Off. Way off.


It is NINETEEN painful and sweaty miles all the way around.

So how did this happen? How did I find myself alone, sweating (I cannot emphasise enough how much sweating occurred) jumping around like a crazed woman in a forest, alone and sweating (did I mention the sweating!?) on a narrow ocean sided precipice being scared shitless by what must have been a freaking NEST of snakes.

Well,  as we all know I have a penchant for going off on my own so today dawned and I shortened my trousers (hurrah for new trousers!) and headed out to the train station. Today was one of those days when you need to travel and I ended up on Miyajima. 

I love Miyajima. Actually, I love the food they sell on the street at Miyajima…


Gorgeous, gorgeous creation sold by street vendors…gloopy rice grains barbecued, with a barbequed oyster on top dipped in Nama Shoyu. From where I like to sit and munch, you can actually see the oyster beds they come from. Yum.


This leaf shaped creation is actually mashed fish on a stick, I got mine with more Oysters chopped up and then the whole thing is deep fried for about thirty seconds. It’s so weird … At home food that comes on a stick is usually sweet. Candy floss, toffee apples … you know?! But on Miyajima everyone wanders around with fabulous Octopus legs on sticks and offal and such.



Fantastic food plus great view usually makes me a happy, happy girl! Actually I’m a happy girl all the time these days which is why I was so upset that my mood was so blue, I just felt in pain today and the effing crowds were pissing me off. Then  I noticed all the kids whizzing by me on bikes!

A BIKE RIDE AROUND THE ISLAND! What could be more awesome!?

SO off I went and rented Ms. Goh Ban.


So I cycled off. And kept going. Stopping occasionally to fling rocks off cliffs, wipe all the sweat (did I mention the sweat?) out of my eyes and run around the trees with the deer.  I know.  But a tarot card told me to embrace my inner animal energy.



Riding a bike, is  amazing. You push, push, push up a hill because it’s too tough to cycle but then you get to whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiizzzz down. Waxing lyrcal the whole time about hill metaphors  I honestly kept expecting the road to suddenly open up into west Hatsukaichi.

But it didn’t.

It just didn’t. I went past beautiful beaches, Shrines, Islands, rocky outcrops but it just didnt end. All I could see was forest, the narrow winding road and occasional glimpses of the sea.

Eventually I came to this beach, and this beautiful shrine that faces out into the Ocean.



Yeah, it was freaking beautiful. I took off my shoes and laid in the sand and picked out the best shells and poked a HUGE dead eel with a big stick I found. Great times.




Shortly after this I accidently rode through a gate, left open by a road crew.

The fuckers.

I wondered why the forest suddenly seemed to encroach on the road so, but the road seemed so new, so fresh, so springy under my wheels. I was so tired by this point. I had been riding for 3 hours on a bike with no gears and only a single bottle of water but I kept pushing on. I hate going back on myself you see …

Then came Le Snake. It was on a steep, steep incline … I was off my bike, pushing away, back bent over and sweating. When my wheels must have hit some snakes shagging or having a fucking tea party or I don’t know what the hell they were doing but ARGH.  I’d never seen a snake until today and seriously, disturbing a pile of them with your wheel and dancing round them like a maniac whilst nearly wobbling over a cliff edge into the OCEAN does not the best introduction make. I have terrible balance. I am thanking Jesus, Thor and Allah for seeing fit to not send me over that cliff.

So snakes. Fucking snakes.  I had to keep going, I’d been riding for nearly 3 and a half hours when suddenly the road stopped.





I actually took this photo a long time before all this happened because I was too scared to take photos after this point. I laugh now, but at one point I nearly properly lost it from panic.

I could not believe it. This meant at LEAST 3 hours back. Which would mean the bike place would be shut and I’d be stuck all night. With a bike. On Miyajima and oh did I mention the SNAKES AND THE SWEATING.

Until… I noticed … a small truck and a digger.

Sufficed to say, I threw the bike into the hedge and ran up to the road crew and threw myself on the mercy of a very confused construction worker and somehow I managed to say in Japanese that I was lost and would he please take me back.

Funny thing is if you had been with me would I have been more worried about asking than getting home? Probably. But I wasn’t, I was on my own and he did take me back.

Whatsmore I managed to have a decent yet potato centred conversation (in Japanese) wit on the drive back round to the front of the Island. I can’t even begin to explain the potatoes. I was tired. He was apolagetic for leaving the gate open. We talked about potatoes happily until a racoon DOG jumped out in front of the van and we swerved to avoid it. Miyajima went all Pom Poko on my ass. I have wanted to see one of these for so long and i did, I told you to be careful what you wished for.


Expect prosaic analysis of what all this MEANS tomorrow. Now I’m off for a hot bath and a cup of tea.

Speaking of tea.

I chugged these three huge bottles all in one sitting as soon as I got back.


All the love in the world,

Mizi xoxoxoxoxox



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