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  • Writer's pictureDom O'Leary

Tsushima's Favourite Ghost, Part 2

HEY! Sorry, just want to put a note here saying this is not a travel blog about the real-life Tsushima, it's about the one in that game.

Hi again, fellow travelers! I have an incredible story to share with you today, straight from the heart of stunning Tsushima.

The hidden gem I told you about last time has recently become the backdrop of an unexpected adventure for me and Jin. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this extraordinary journey.

As we descended towards one of Tsushima’s open plains, my excitement and trepidation grew with each passing moment. The island's emerald green, verdant yellow, and stark white grass fields set a startling contrast to the ships on the crystal-clear turquoise waters.

They were a sight to behold. Galleons, I think they're called. Huge ships with hundreds of crew on each. All bearing unrecognizable red flags. Honestly, the foreign army's presence might have dampened our spirits initially, but Jin assured me it would lead to an unforgettable vacation.

"Looking high or looking low, beauty really is everywhere here"

Deep in the Natural Beauty

My guide and his local friends led us through a dense forest teeming with wildlife. Their melodies echoing through the air were all we could hear as we rustled softly through the forest floor path. We marveled at vibrant orchids, towering trees, and cascading waterfalls that seemed straight out of a folk-tale.

I’d almost forgotten the ominous ships off the coast by this time. I could tell my companions hadn’t, but they were curiously serene about the whole thing. Barely a word passed between them as we made our way along some unknown path.

"It was worth the trip just for the view"

A Fishing Detour

I told you last time about one of the island's main attractions, the local's livelihood and a favorite pastime: fishing. Our group wasted no time in joining the locals on a fishing expedition once more. “Stocking up,” Jin called it.

We set sail early in the morning on traditional wooden boats, guided by an experienced fisherman called Hanzo who shared stories of their encounters with sea creatures. (I’m 100% sure they were all true… again) The thrill of reeling in a prized catch and the satisfaction of a delicious seafood feast in the evening made this fishing trip truly memorable, though.

"Rivers, ponds, fields and forests, all around us"

Encounters with Wildlife

Tsushima’s abundant wildlife really adds a layer of magic to this already enchanting place. While exploring the island's forests once more, we were lucky enough to spot rare bird species like colorful Cranes, Doves, and Swallows. Their plumage stands out against the lush greens, reds, and yellows in the backdrop. It really left me in awe of nature's wonders, everyone else seemed contemplative. I guess that makes sense.

We came across some playful little monkeys swinging from tree branches, picking persimmons and adding a touch of mischief to our adventure. Those curious little foxes turned up again, they seem to want to play with us sometimes. Yet, it was when we emerged from the forests that today’s adventure really begins.

"Jin prepares to part from our group"

The Intriguing Army Occupation

Our idyllic trip took an unexpected turn when we discovered the ships belonged to an occupying foreign army. Initial concern turned into immediate action. It turns out Jin has some rather fancy family connections. That means he has to fight, we found out. He left us for a good while at this point, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about losing my guide, but he had no choice. We went to have a chat with the soldiers, they seemed nice enough.

The soldiers standing on the beach were more approachable than we anticipated during that first day. They shared stories of their homelands and their reasons for coming to Tsushima Island.

The cultural exchange broadened my perspective, certainly. It reminded me of the shared humanity that transcends borders. Then night fell and they started murdering everyone, can’t win them all, I guess.

"A small village at sunset, the smoke is... not good"

Navigating Challenges and Finding Solace

While the presence of the foreign army presented challenges, it also led us to explore lesser-known parts of the island. As the chaos of the first night’s battle raged in the distance, we ventured off the beaten path, discovering hidden coves and secluded beaches untouched by tourists and invaders alike.

These hidden gems allowed us to soak in the tranquility of the island. We found a certain solace in the natural beauty that surrounded us. We immersed ourselves in the warm volcanic springs, indulging in moments of pure bliss, and occasional haiku, as we watched the breathtaking sunset paint the sky in vibrant hues.

"Sunsets just can't be beat, right?"

Bonding with the Locals

Despite the army's presence, the locals of Tsushima remained warm and welcoming. The two companions that Jin had introduced me to told me how they weren’t warriors either. We shared stories and laughter and had meals together. My understanding of their rich culture and traditions was deepened, and I really feel like we bonded.

There was going to be a lively village festival, dances to traditional music, delicious cuisine, a real festive affair. The locals' resilience and unwavering spirit showcased the true essence of Tsushima but, alas, the festival never happened that night. It left an indelible mark on our hearts.

"A celebration that never was"

My time on Tsushima has been brief but it looks like I might be here a while. At least Jin came back the next day, I was worried. His army lost the battle, he says. Yet, despite the unexpected circumstances, this was a real adventure. I feel like Jin learned something too, but he’s a little quiet today. See you next time.


Thanks for reading! There's no accompanying stream for this series, but lots more to share soon.

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