we had been planning this excursion for a long time. before we left the states in fact. it always seemed beyond our means or that we wouldn't have enough time. but this summer we were determined that we would go back to nara and the area of japan that made us fall in love with this country in the first place. being budget travelers with two small children, this took a lot of planning and even more hoping. we decided to travel by overnight bus from nagasaki to osaka and back to save on transportation costs with the added benefit of saving on hotel fees. the total for our round-trip bus tickets for four seats was the same as the price for one person to fly one-way from the gotou to osaka. the bus ride was long but not terribly uncomfortable, even at seven months pregnant. the boys slept well for the most part and it was pretty exciting to go to sleep in one place and wake up in an entirely different place.
of course, to get to the bus on time first we had to take a ferry from the island.
we ended up landing in nagasaki the night before departure because the obon holiday had overcrowded the ferries so there was no space left on the sunday we wanted to leave.
we showed up on saturday evening in the midst of one of nagasaki's biggest festivals, the shoro nagashi, something we hadn't even considered. it was loud and crowded and the street car wasn't running as we needed it to but it was equally fascinating and really exciting to be unexpectedly in the middle of such festivities. some nice lady gave nico some earplugs in passing (which were absolutely necessary) and we watched the slow procession of the living, escorting their deceased ancestors back to the spirit world. a good start to our trip.
the next day was sunday and we were to take a mid-afternoon bus to fukuoka to meet the overnight bus that would take us to osaka. i managed to get my hair cut and we ate a little bento picnic in the chinatown park before leaving nagasaki.
fukuoka was fukuoka, bustling and hustling. not much to be remembered from our short stop over, a quick play in a park, sebastian having a meltdown about something no one can remember now, another happy setto, and a long wait for the night bus to arrive. eventually we boarded and set off, with sebastian falling asleep almost immediately.