to a local newspaper, about 15,000 tourists visited Amami-oshima to watch the
total solar eclipse on July 22, 2009. Hotels, inns and tourist homes were all
booked up. Large-scale campsites were prepared for budget travelers both in
Kasari-cho and Tatsugo-cho.
On that day, I left my home with my wife and a youth fromTokyo at seven thirty a.m. and arrived at a viewing site in Kasari-cho around
eight o'clock. People were already gathering there by twos and threes.
From the terrace where we stood, we were able to overlook Ogasari Village
and Cape Ayamaru. But much to our regret, it was slightly cloudy. Soft
beams of sunlight reached us from time to time, but they were shut out
by the clouds very soon. Around nine thirty, we looked up at the sun wearing
special glasses and noticed it started getting eclipsed from above. As
time elapsed, we were able to confirm the sun was being eclipsed more and
more. However, my digital camera captured only fuzzy images of the sun.
ten fifty, it suddenly became dark and the cool wind started to blow. After two
minutes, the horizon was dyed reddish as if by sunrise or sunset. Itthen became so dark that it was almost impossible to distinguish people's faces. The
total eclipse lasted for about three minutes and the light started to return
very quickly. Everyone seemed impressed by this mysterious experience.