Big day today!
For starters, I woke up at 7 a.m. On a Saturday. Can’t help it.
Then I did laundry at the laundromat next to the QuickMart.
I lead an exciting life!
Laundry was completed without much incident.
Wandering in Nagoya
Then I set off for Nagoya. This time the trains worked!
At first, I was a bit worried that the trip would be a bust, because I was trying to find Kinokuniya (a book store chain in Japan), and I couldn’t find it. I wound up wandering around the area near the station.
Here’s the station:
I saw a cool window display as well:
I even found the Computer Building!
I started to notice that something was going on.
Police were starting to blockade the streets, and people were expectantly standing around the blockades. People here usually don’t just stand around and not move purposefully somewhere, so I had a feeling something might happen, so I joined them in their standing around.
Suddenly, lo and behold! A parade! I had heard that there was going to be a festival in the region, but I didn’t know I’d actually stumble across it.
A couple approached me and started talking to me in English.
Of course, they asked me if I was an English teacher… *sigh.* But they were still kind enough to clue me in a little, and they gave me some sightseeing ideas, so it’s fine.
I was lucky because I was smart and brought my little Nikon point-and-shoot digital camera. I got about 300 pictures, (okay, way too many) but the parade was awesome.
There were even some mock battles. For those of you wondering about the scores, in the main match it was riflemen 1, guys with spears 0. Then there were some guys with swords, who did some mock slashing of people. My Japanese history is weak, so I was at a bit of a loss.
A little slapstick mid-battle:
Back to the fighting:
There were also visits by the members of the Nobunaga clan. Wait, I think this is the Tokugawa car. Either way, it was pretty cool.
I even got pictures of the people following behind the daimyos on horseback to clean up the inevitable daimyo horse poop.
After the Parade, a Feast!
After the parade, I went back to JR Nagoya Station to get food, because I hadn’t eaten since 8 a.m. I found a nice little sushi shop, where they served me some piping hot green tea, a small glass of water, and nigiri sushi, in which the chef had cleverly concealed enough wasabi to peel all the mucus membranes from my head.
But it was really good.
For “dessert,” he had prepared two pieces of sweet sushi. One was … I don’t even remember, and the other one was egg sushi with some kind of sweet sauce. Woo! A 9 out of 10 on the food scale.
After that, it was time for Kinokuniya, which I managed to find after asking the lady at the information desk in Nagoya Station for directions. She was impressed that I tried to ask her in Japanese, but since my brain’s batteries were failing, she let me speak in English.
A tip– in the big cities, find the information desk people and ask them every question that enters your tourist brain. You will not be sorry, and they all speak good English. And honestly, why waste hours searching like an idiot when someone else can just tell you where it is?
I headed to Kinokuniya. I picked up a fall foliage tourist magazine for some ideas, and a map book of beautiful scenic hikes. I could have gone into a book buying frenzy, but I decided to save that for the end of the trip in Tokyo, because I don’t want to lug my purchases all over Japan. Both publications are all in Japanese, but I know enough to get some rough ideas.
After that, it was time for the real reason I went to Nagoya in the first place– a trip to Bic Camera. This was fun. I was on the hunt for a new denshi jisho (electronic dictionary), and after checking out the one that one of the other Yamasa students had, I knew what I wanted… sort of. I went to the display and played with a bunch, but I wound up buying the one I already knew how to use– the Sharp PW-AT760B. (B as in Black and B as in Bad because it’s BLACK! ) They had a red one, as well as a white one with a tan top, but if it wasn’t going to be all white, then I wanted the all-black one.
Yes, it does matter.
Yes, I am a nerd.
You probably know that already anyway.
The really nice part about buying the electronic dictionary at Bic was getting a point card, and about 5,000 yen worth of points on it. I spent 1,200 on a really nice bright orange case for my little denshi jisho, and I decided to bank the rest for later. Many thanks to the nice lady who explained to me in a mix of English and Japanese that the point card wouldn’t cost me anything. I was afraid I was going to get scammed or something. I have too much experience with that in the U.S., I guess. Yeah, I mean you guys who always try to sell me the rewards cards that should be free!
If you want to get your nerd on, seriously, check out Bic Camera if you get to Japan. There’s a lot cool stuff to check out. They had all kinds of toys. And by all means, get the point cards!
After that, I was famished, because sushi does not stick to my ribs. I went back to the station for a chicken and egg sandwich (oyako-sando!), a croissant, and iced milk. I had never had iced milk before, but man, it hit the spot. The Mermaid Cafe if you’re scoring at home. It’s near the Tokaido Line platform before the wicket.
Then I took a 30-minute train ride home, and I wrote this blog post just for you guys.
Tomorrow may be Nagoya again, if I can take it. Or it may just be me drooling in a corner of the room. I think I got a major case of sunburn, so part of the day may just be spent looking for aloe.