Previous post for this trip: Odaiba, Tachikawa, and The Bullets Fly, April 28 2014 (3)
April 29 2014
Packing from Tokyo was a bit of a task. I already have a lot of stuff by then. I wondered why I couldn’t wait ’til I get back in Tokyo again..
I redeemed my JR PASS this morning at the Tokyo Station. Then I reserved a seat, although you can just hop on any Hikari Line. I was hoping I could have caught a glimpse of Mt. Fuji on this trip, but before I knew it, the train already passed Shizuoka.
I had a pair of ham sandwiches and iced coffee for breakfast. It is so easy to get coffee in Japan. I love it.
The Shinkansen was so fast, I swear I had a hard time standing up. It is so fast that I can zoom out on google maps and see my current location moving along. I arrived in Nagoya in a breath.
I swear, the commute is easier than getting from Issaquah to Northgate, or to Bothell. I know that’s not really comparable, but I just want to say how inefficient our local transportation is in the Puget Sound (yet, still better than many other places…). Those were my thoughts as I got off the train.
As my friend arrived, we looked for a place to have lunch. She recommended Kishimen, as it is one of Nagoya’s specialties. We went to a place in the station. I ordered Tempura Kishimen. I love soft and tender noodles like this. Much more than ramen.
As we stepped out of the station, the cool breeze hit my face. It was raining! After all that ‘heat’ in Tokyo, I was waiting for a moment of overcast skies and rain.
Our next destination was the Atsuta Shrine. This was the first shrine I visited in Japan. I’m not sure if it was the rain, or just that the shrine was so calming and beautiful. I found out today that my friend loves visiting shrines. She collects seals in a little book every shrine visit, so she was eager to come out today.
She explained the shrine, and what people usually do. She was the best person for a shrine visit.
Later, we hung out at a coffee shop. I had zenzai with green tea ice cream, and hot coffee. My second coffee of the day. Who can stop me?
We came across a Starbucks, and I remembered the Sakura White Mocha Frappucino. It is a seasonal item on the menu that is only in Japan. That’s the only reason for me to try it though, I’m not really into those drinks. Unfortunately for me, they no longer carry it. I prefer not going to Starbucks anyway – even in Seattle. The zenzai and green tea ice cream was much to my taste :P
Speaking of coffee shops, there are Tully’s Coffee everywhere in Japan. I’m surprised, because besides the Northwest, I’m pretty sure Tully’s isn’t nationally known in the US. Interesting.
Next, we head to over to Sakae. Strolling along the streets in the rain was one of the nicest feelings I had in Japan. We rode the ferris wheel, the ‘Sakae Sunshine’ they call it. As we were boarding the wheel I noticed the SKE48 theater was right there. These ’48’ idols are everywhere..the 48-brand is a very successful business scheme..
Anyway, this was actually my first time on a ferris wheel! Of all the places.
I know that I have not reached Nagoya yet, until I have tried their famous Miso Katsu. My friend took me to this popular Miso Katsu restaurant in a department store. They had a long line outside, but the line was moving pretty quickly and thankfully we weren’t so hungry yet.
Here is the looks of the Miso Katsu. Maybe this is not a big deal to many people, but I love Katsu in general, so this was a big treat for me.
We talked about a lot of things over this Katsu meal. I still remember almost every topic we discussed that night: Things I didn’t realize that are Japanese when I was a kid, Manga/Anime popularity in Thailand/USA, Cardcaptor Sakura vs. Cardcaptors, Same-sex Marriage, Abortion,….
It is mysterious how we talked about all of this in Japanese. I think as long as both sides are working towards communicating/receiving the message, anything is possible to convey to the other person.
This night, I am completely by myself. Up ’til now, I was with a friend, or sleeping in share rooms at the youth hostel. It was a very romantic night.
I stayed at the Meiryuu Ryokan, which is a family owned inn for generations now. They have traditional tatami mat rooms with futons, and paper window shades. Also, accommodated with a television, a thermos filled with hot water, complimentary tea, and they also have Wi-Fi.
Behind the shades is a normal window. I left the window open all night with the shades shut. The sound of the rain was very soothing. I don’t even get to do that Seattle, because it doesn’t often rain that hard to be making dripping sounds. And back at my parents house, we didn’t have insect screens…so..
I forgot to mention, they don’t have bathrooms in the rooms. There are only two toilets downstairs for the whole inn. And guests must take baths in the public bath. The bath wasn’t the greatest. That was the only unfortunate part of this stay, because I was really looking forward to see another nice Japanese bath hall. The women’s bath hall smelt moldy. It must be because they have the bath running 24-hours.
They also provided Yukata’s for guests!
And that concludes my time in rainy Nagoya. The next morning, I head over to Osaka by the Shinkansen.
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