從大阪到鳴門，開車大約要兩小時的路程。但這其中最讓我吃驚的不是我們竟然沒有迷路就到了鳴門（其實路是真的很簡單，而且車上又有 GPS），而是 ---- 天殺的過路費啊！！！我本來以為阪神高速的 900 日圓料金已經很可觀了（因為，我在舊金山過 I-80 bridge 一次最多只要 6 美金耶！這樣大概 600 日圓，我都呱呱叫了）沒想到跟淡路島的通路費比起來是小巫見大巫。一天這樣來回的過路費總共是....嚇！一萬日幣！嘿，算了，如果搭大眾交通工具的話會慢很多（google map 是說四小時，又一堆轉車），所以我就認命了。
This turned out to be a day of paying tolls.
I thought the Osaka-Kobe tolls were mighty, apparently the Naruto-Awaji line is the real killer. From Osaka to Naruto and back, the toll today totaled 100 USD. Wow. But I guess I had no alternative. Google map shows that if I had taken the JR line, it would've taken me 4-5 hours each way with close to 90 USD per person in train fare. This was a 2 hour each way drive with pleasant views.
淡路島的南端便是鳴門海峡。說到鳴門（ナルト）就不自禁會想到 --- 火影忍者！（日文漫畫名也是ナルト）
South of 淡路島 (Awajishima) lies the Naruto strait (鳴門海峡). If you're thinking that sounds awfully similar an anime, you guessed right.
ナルト (Naruto) the mange/anime's main character is 渦巻きナルト （Uzumaki Naruto), which means Whirpool Naruto. And what is Naruto most famous for? Why, whirlpool!*(see end of post)
是的，我們開了兩個小時付了一堆過路費的目的就是來看漩渦。漩渦發生地就那麼一個，在鳴門大橋橋下，內海與太平洋交會處。但觀賞方式有兩個：想要近看，就要付錢坐船到漩渦旁邊看（為時 25 min，我坐小艇一人 2200 日圓）。
This was what we drove down all the way to see. You can catch a boat that will take you under the Naruto Bridge during high/low tides to see the whirlpools. The whirlpools form due to water level differences between the inland sea and the Pacific ocean. It is most prominent during full moon and new moon, and supposedly best around Mar-Apr. While we did not see whirlpools as big as the one seen on postcards, this was already a sight to behold.
漩渦之所以會產生，是因為內海入灣處水位高低差所致。每天在漲潮跟退潮巔峰時是觀賞最佳時間。事實上，船也都只開那其中的其後一兩個小時而已，之後也沒啥好看的。我們運氣還不錯，開車到搭船處時正好碰上當天的觀賞時間點，而且看完出來之後還可以快速開到渦の道（開車 5 min）再去彌補風景。
An alternative to taking the boat is to go under the Naruto bridge to observe the whirlpools from above. The place is called 渦の道 (Uzu no Michi). We went there after the boat ride, and it was clearly not as good of a viewing point. There's too much of the bridge structures in the way.
While at Uzu no Michi, I did however see this awesome boat:
我注意到這船是因為它顯然有風帆，但並沒有使用。所以它是帆船！這是很難得的。我記下了船名『日本丸』，回來一查，原來還是來頭不小的船 --- 初代日本丸於 1930 在神戶首航，原為帆船訓練所造，在二戰及韓戰期間曾作為貨運船使用。其美麗的白帆及優雅的船身讓它搏得了『海上的貴婦』和『太平洋的白鳥』之美名。現今所見的日本丸是二代，似乎仍然可作帆船駕駛訓練用。
It caught my eye because it was a motor boat with sails! The sails weren't down so it had to be also runnable on motor engines. I remembered the name "日本丸" and looked it up later. Hmm, apparently it's a famous boat! According to wiki, the original Nipponmaru was built in 1930 in Kobe. It was originally built for sail training, and participated in WWII and the Korean war as a cargo ship. It retired in 1984 and was succeeded by the new Nipponmaru.
It's definitely a beautiful ship. It seemed like it mostly had tourists on it though?
Lunch took place at the edge of the Naruto bridge. In an effort to maximize the tourability of the Naruto whirlpool, there is a shop/restaurant called "Uzushio" (Whirlpool) that overlooks the Naruto bridge and serves delicious Awaji beef don.
They emphasized that the beef, onion, and rice are all from Awaji. Apparently Awaji onion is a BIG thing here, because there is onion everything in the souvenir shop: onion soup, onion snack, onion jam, onion mayonnaise...
But I had my eyes set on another local specialty.
Since missing out on Rokkosan pasture's cheesecake in Kobe, I made sure this time we visited Awaji's dairy farm for some delicious milk.
The farm is very small and there were few tourists. The farm seems to focus more on selling its products than coming up with gimmicks to attract tourists (well they do still have pony rides tho). And what made me really happy was:
The milk was free and ALL YOU CAN DRINK!!!
If I weren't full from lunch, I'd be downing an entire carton instead of two small cups.
This reminds me of this manga again.
I have vol. 1 and I should definitely get the later ones. It's by the manga artist who did Full Metal Alchemist. I've always loved her style. You feel positive and animal-loving after reading it :)
Our last stop is Awaji's 夢舞台 (Yumebutai, i.e. "Dream Stage"). Apparently this is the work of a famous Japanese architect 安藤忠雄 (Ando Tadao).
At first I wasn't very attracted to seeing buildings built entirely out of concrete. I am at heart a classical architecture person (=lots of flowers and angels on pillars). By it started to grow on me as I walked through winding staircases and buildings without doors.
怎麼說呢，夢舞台整個設計，是一體的。沒有多餘的東西，沒有先建了什麼之後才事後想到添加的。而且最強烈的感覺是空間 -- 正因為建材本身相當樸素無華，更顯得出階梯，牆，迴廊，與水所共造出來的世界。
There is an uniqueness to the how the space is designed. In fact, the lack of decor made space the only thing that mattered. Well, space, and streams of water and patches of exotic flowers.
The crown jewel in Ando's masterpiece is the Sea Chapel (海の教会). This is definitely not your usual wedding place.
We conclude the day by driving back to Osaka while the sun sets over Awaji island. There was no dinner. I'm still full from the beef don and milk.
=========================== BEGIN OTAKU LINE =============================
=========================== 說好的分宅線 =============================
In the true Otaku spirit, I searched online to confirm that ナルト's name really came from Naruto Whirlpool.
According to wiki, the name was given by 自来也（Jiraiya):
Naruto was the name of the protagonist in Jiraiya's novel ド根性忍伝 (Dokonjo Ninden). He gave the baby the name Naruto so that "He would have a strong heart that would never give up."
But how did the name Naruto come about in the first place?
According to this blogpost, when Jiraiya was writing the book, he was eating ramen which had this in it:
This is called --- surprise, 鳴門巻き (narutomaki)!
In case you have never had this (shame if you didn't! It's also a common ingredient in hot pot/shabu shabu), it's made from fish paste, and is usually sold in a roll form where you slice it into thin pieces.
Because the pink whirlpool reminds people of the Naruto Whirlpool,
"鳴門海峡の渦潮にちなんで名付けられたといわれている" --- wikipedia
So, it all comes back in a circle. Narutomaki is named after the Naturo Whirpool, the protagonist in Dokonjo Ninden is named after the narutomaki, the baby was named after the novel, and the manga is named after the baby. Full circle!!
The city of Naruto clearly knows how to capitalize on Naruto's fame. There is even a Naruto figure outside Uzu No Michi:
And according to the poster in the beginning of the post, there's going to be some kind of festival in August that celebrates the manga in Awaji.
Now excuse for I have to go cool off my otaku-ness with some....manga reading!!!!!!!!