Official Travel!

Navy Medicine, Travel Edition!

On Sunday after the board, I started my traveling doctor week!  There are two clinics that most of the specialists travel for quarterly rounds.  I didn’t want to go so soon after boards but next week, the new fiscal year starts so it was this week or nothing.  So, off I went!
The first clinic I went to is on the Iwakuni Marine Air Base.  I saw a total of 19 patients and it was a pretty good group of consults.  It was nice to take care of local patients and prevent the inconvenience of them going to Yokosuka.  People have lives and it’s nice to just have a doctor’s appointment in the local area, rather than take at least two days out of their lives to make the trip.  There are a few people who will end up traveling to Yokosuka for further care but the majority were taken care of here.
What’s even cooler (wait, what could be cooler than medical care!?!) is that I’m able to arrange some local sight-seeing!  My corpsman and I went to Kikko Park, the location of the awesome 5-arch Kintai bridge, Iwakuni castle and some pretty amazing grounds.  On the grounds are various statues, shrines and gardens.  While the place is beautiful, it’s supposed to be incredible during Sakura (Cherry blossom season).
Kintai Bridge
We took a taxi from the main base (~1800 yen) and bought our “package ticket” for 930Y.  This included the tickets to walk over the bridge, take the cable car to the top of the mountain and entrance to the castle.  The bridge is pretty amazing.  It’s composed of 5 wooden arches and was originally built in 1673.  It’s been rebuilt over the years as floods and typhoons washed it away.  The last major rebuild was in 1950 after typhoon Kijia and there was a 2004 restoration.  

CW from top left: fountain, guardian statue, river, tori arch, water fountain, shrine, grounds map
Then we walked over to the cable car and rode to the top of the mountain.  There was a well-marked paved walkway/road to the castle 900 meters away.  The views were pretty awesome.  I loved the castle.  The inside had lots of samurai knife displays but the highlight for me was the fourth floor observation deck.  There were windows that were open along the top 1/3.  There were a few metered telescopes.  The breeze felt wonderful up there!
New Castle, views, old castle foundation

The castle is a reconstruction slightly south of the original castle in order to maximize the views.  The original foundation is up there and I took a picture of a sign that, if SMS were there, he would find hard to obey the instruction!  
Japanese Warning Signs
The castle was from the Edo period and is located on Mt. Yokoyama.  It was torn down in 1620, 7 years after it was built because there was an edict of only “one castle per province” by the Tokugawa Shogunate.  The new castle was built in 1962.  (The Cottages in Newport, RI never got this memo!)
After the castle, I walked down the hill along a path with a pretty severe sign marking the trail.  I decided the trail looked well-maintained enough to take.  I only fell once and ran into a swarm of mosquitos at the bottom so I think it was a success!  I met up with the traveling corpsman and we headed back to base.
Tomorrow is our travel day to Sasebo.  We’re going to meet at 10 and head over to the train station.  I originally suggested 9 and while she didn’t say anything, she perked up when I suggested 10 instead!  I don’t really sleep in but I knew she wanted to so that’s that.  We’re going to Miyajima to see the Itsukshima Shrine and eat okonomiyaki for lunch!

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