Remember a short while back how I was talking about my feet hurting and how I should give them a rest? Well today I gave them a royal screwing over. For you see, in an effort to save money (180 yen – about 90p) I decided to walk from Okamoto train station to Sannomiya station (both in Kobe).
Let me start a little earlier. Our Uni had very kindly given all of us foreign students a ticket to see a Noh play (wikipedia link) in Sannomiya tonight. With no other tasks needing to be completed today I decided to get there early. Still, as today’s saturday I managed to get a bit of a lie-in. I’m currently in a bit of a money-saving bid (I say as I finish off my third can of pop of the day) so I thought about walking from Okamoto station (where my free train-pass stops being free). After having a quick consult on a friend’s (not set, not to scale, probably drawn by a primary schooler) map, I thought it’d be a nice way to get there; still early but not as early.
The walk between the two stations was complemented by some excellent weather (tropical storm my arse), so plenty of photographs were taken. In total the it took between 2 and a half to 3 hours to make the walk. It would have been done faster but I changed my route to avoid being associated with a guy ahead of me who looked like your stereotypical American tourist; shorts, sunglasses, brimmed hat, camera around his neck, hiking backpack and matching hiking cane, pulled up socks … you know the kind. Also for the record I didn’t take a map and was relying on instinct and the sun.
So after making the long walk crossing many roads, streams, rail crossings and a Pizza Hut built into a train bridge, I finally made it to Sannomiya. I was tired, hungry, thirsty, sweaty … but successful. I had successfully saved 180 yen.
However, my thirst along the way had caused me to stop for a drink of (non-alcoholic) cider; 100 yen. Also when I arrived at Sannomiya my thirst demanded more attention, so I spent another 80 yen. So even though I didn’t eat (waited until I met up with a friend before munching), in the end I didn’t really save any money. Lets weigh the points.
Train – 180 yen – less than 20 minutes – can sit on your arse of you get a seat.
Walking – Free (180 spent on beverages) – 2.5 to 3 hours – you have to move your arse.
From that you’d think it was a no brainer about how I’d make the trip in the future, but to be honest I’ll still probably walk it again. I got to see a lot of the area that I wouldn’t normally have, including some great photo spots, and the walk will be healthier for me in the long run. All I really have to do is pack a drink with me before heading off so I don’t spend the money I saved.
Whilst waiting for my friend to turn up, I decided to wander around the smaller less ventured (by me) areas of one of Sannomiya’s main shopping centres. I tell you now, the outside is horrifically deceptive! I spent a good few hours happily wandering around finding lots of random shops. Someone on Sweatdrop’s forum recommended I head into a shop called ‘Book Off’ if I found one. I did, so I did. They’d recommended it for cheap manga as it’s a second hand book store. To be honest when I went in I thought I’d have a nose around the non-manga section first. As far as prices were, I was quite prepared to say “Book Off!”, seeing that a lot of the prices weren’t much lower than they’re original selling prices. However I stuck around and looked towards the somewhats crowded (people and books) manga section. Man was I surprised! Titles were plentiful and prices were low, REAL low! My one problem was that I couldn’t quite decifer their system of how it’s organised (something I’ve yet to manage in Japanese book shops), but did look thoroughly through their 105 yen section!
Sannomiya has a shop called Gamerz, I’ve been i here a few times but today was the first day I’d actually bought anything, after finding the Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei manga. This is quite easilly a shop many people from Shrotaku could easilly spend hours. It’s not as cheap as the 2nd hand shops (to be fair it’s all new stuff), but the prices are really competitive … especially compared to back home. The store above Gamerz, I forgot the name, but is another haven for model makers and gundam enthusiasts. Not being much into figures myself, I just had a good look around admiring all the hard work that obviously goes into making such things.
After more wandering around I found a section of the shopping centre that could only be described as a Manga-Mall. It seemed like every store and it’s big brother was aimed at otakus. Be you a fan of anime, manga, gaming, new stuff, second hand … the list goes on. Yes there were stores that specialised in the ‘adult stuff’ and yes I did (accidentally of course) venture into two of those, but swiftly came out without any purchases … HONEST! I just want to point out that I wasn’t looking for anime/manga stores when I started browsing the shopping centre, I just happened to come accross them!
So my friend and I met up and heading to the nearest … you guessed it. I can’t help it, the 100 yen menu kicks ass and face of the UK’s poundsaver menu. Whilst tucking into our food and after failing at decifering the 100% kanji written ticket to find the Noh play (seriously, not 1 hiragana symbol), we reluctantly decided not to pursue the Noh play, but continue exploring the area.
Sometime after 8 o’clock fatigue was starting to get the better of us, especially my legs which we’re now throbbing, so we parted ways and headed home. I’d forgotton about one little thing though; it was Saturday, trains were different. This meant that I could only get the local trains, that stop at every single station, to get home … this was going to take a while. Eventually I got off at Juso and changed trains. From there my train to Kamishinjou would be pretty simple … I thought.
The station before mine, Awaji, has another trainline that is deceptively similar to mine. So similar in fact that it had tricked us before making us late for university. So similar in fact that it had got me again! So similar in fact that I didn’t notice until I was half an hour off route and passing stations I’d never heard of! Blast you Awaji! After jumping off the train in the middle of nowhere, I waited for another chunk of time for a train to take me back to Awaji. After reaching there I made bloody well certain to get on the right train home.
I’m a little bummed about not being able to see the Noh play, but on the whole I have had a memorable day. I’m planning a lie-in tomorrow (one of the perks about not getting food on a Sunday), so unless you want me to blog about that or doing my washing, it might be a day or two until my next entry.
Oh, one of the shops had ‘tit pillows‘. I think they were 700 yen (a pair), but I can’t remember fully.