It’s interesting. I have a link tracker on here which tells me some of the ways that people arrive onto this website. It’s no big secret actually, it’s part of one my advertising boxes from Project Wonderful. Anyway, if you’ve arrived here looking for ‘adult materials in a town in County Durham’ I’ll tell you know you’ve come to the wrong place.
So continuing our adventures from Kanazawa, we were walking along the town passing numerous restaurants, shops, bars and cafes (yes, they included Maid cafes before you ask), when we decided it was probably time to head back. Heading in the direction of the train station, an easy landmark to return to the hotel from, we had the pleasure of seeing a group of drunken men run into the middle of a crossroads whenever the lights were red to throw one of their mates up into the air. This itself was such a sight that many of the hundreds of people (it was a busy Saturday night after all) we were walking through didn’t notice the two out of place foreigners carrying an 18 inch tall Disney toy, well some did obviously.
After a while of wandering around with no eki (station) in sight, we had a look at our map. We located several buildings that were right near the eki and after hitting a river we eventually came to the conclusion that the trainstation must have been underground and we’d simply missed it when we were walking wildly (5w’s ^_^) in search of it. After another looong period of circling the area we eventually asked for help.
According to a karaoke room staff member, standing outside to try and draw in customers, the station was 30 minutes away and he offered to call us a taxi. Not quite believing it’d take us half an hour (5 mins tops) we asked him to point us in the general direction of it. After leaving him we came to the conclusion that he had a link to a taxi company and would probably have earned a commission from us tourists.
After another long duration of walking, my friend considered another possibilty. Looking at the map, we noticed that infact all the places we’d been seeing were there by the eki … but they were also there … on the other side of the town! Some how we’d got our bearings mixed up coming out of the park and instead of being in the town near the hotel, we were in fact in a different area of the town altogether.
Karaoke man was right!
After a vigorous walk back to the hotel, following the map from the correct point this time and stopping at a convenience store for some food incase we were hungry upon arrival (I bought some insta-noodles, a can of beer, and a jam-jar with clear alcoholic liquid called Fukucup … no idea what it is), we went to our rooms and relaxed. What we expected to be no more than a few hours out turned into us arriving back at about 11.30 at night. I’d been joking during the day about having a ‘walk’ about but really didn’t expect it to turn out this way.
After finishing off my beer, I went to another friends room, who was having a Matrix showing on their laptop. Following this I went back and thought I’d indulge myself in some television, after all I hadn’t really watched much TV since I’d arrived in Kamishinjyou. Flicking through the channels there was a nice range of shows in different genres and languages, many of which you could adjust the language to English. I stopped flicking through though when I hit one channel of a man being walked on by a woman in high-heels. This wasn’t a Japanese show though, it was an Italian one. “No more TV” I thought, and went to sleep.
After breakfast the next morning we checked out of our rooms and headed down to the lobby. Due to the fact that we’d only been there one night you’d have thought everyone would have been on time, not needing to repack everything and an elephant … right? Alas no, some daft bints still ended up being 15 minutes late for no general reason. I’m normally a believer of ‘the pointlessly late get left behind’ and this day was no exception! GARGH!
The group split into two from here. Half of the group went to the Kaga Yuzen Center to participate in a Kimono dyeing class whilst the rest of us went to the Higashi Chaya district. Higashi Chaya is a popular tourist area as it is famous for its Geishas. Unfortunately for us we got there relatively early on a Sunday morning, and because of the slight drizzle, none were out and about. Oh well, a European student and myself still went off for a nose around the area and took some really awesome photographs (which will be uploaded to Blogspot eventually) of various shrines, temples and areas that were generally nice to look at.
Getting back on the coach we took a short (so short it would probably have been faster to walk) to the park area we’d gone the night before. Even though during the day it was much nicer to look at, unfortunately the heavens had opened up and we were with rain once again. Thankfully I’d brought my trusty brolly along for the ride, but holding a brolly while taking pictures and trying to keep the camera dry was a bit of a challenge. The gardens themselves were very relaxing on the eye, and even though I didn’t understand a word our guide was saying (she was speaking in keigo – very polite Japanese), I did soak in the atmosphere … or maybe that was rain water.
After being challenged to and losing a game of Poohsticks by one of my fellow countrymen, we accidently split from the main group; them going right and we went left trying to catch up. FAIL. Thankfully someone from the main group came back for us, though after a while we were still slightly lost, only one person more. I forgot to mention that the park had a significant lack of sticks, so we had to play Poohsticks with leaves instead, but its fundamentals were still the same. If you have no idea what the heck I’m talking about, buy yourself a book by AA Milne.
We eventually met up with the group once more and were told where and when to meet up as it was now a bit of free time. I went straight to a couple of stores I eyed up on the way to get a couple of omiyage (souvenirs). I’d bought myself a paper umberella (and struggled trying to to get it wet … ironic really), and I bought Momma Darlo a Geisha doll. Let it be known I really didn’t want to buy this doll, especially after my trip to the Iki Ningyou No Ma (Room of Living Dolls) with TV show Bebop High Heel, but it was a bargain and knew it was something that she wanted.
After this I went for a walk to try and find something to eat. I headed back in the direction that I came from the night before, back to wards the hotel.
Something was wrong.
I knew this place, I recognised it clearly. This was NOT where we came through last night to get to the garden … but rather it was that mysterious town that we ended up in last night! How the fudge had I ended up here … again? Suddenly I found myself face-to-face with the McDonalds we went into, right accross from the arcade where we got the Stitch doll, and down the road slightly from the maid cafe.
Could this be the true power of Kanazawa?
I decided not to think about it too much, worried that I might anger some spirits that had lured me back here, and ordered my usual food from the 100 yen menu.
Meeting up with everyone at the appointed time and place (outside the Ishikawa Modern Literature Museum in Central Park), I spoke to my friend about our trip the night before. He was also in a state of bewilderment about the situation. I guess Kanazawa was indeed a more mysterious place than we first thought. Getting on the coach I thought to myself about coming back one day, and who knows, maybe I will.
On the coach trip back nothing too exciting happened really. We watched a couple of films (and horrendous and one at par-level), played a little Mario Kart and passed a few tall buildings I knew in Osaka, wishing that we could simply jump off the coach here. Diddums.
Home … bed.
To be honest with the exception of the usual commute-study-commute-sleep routine, nothing really happened until Thursday this week, which is where I’ll pick up from. Oh wait … on Tuesday we had a linguistics exam in which I did awfully, my only consolation knowing that had I taken it in Leeds I’d have passed it by the skin of my teeth.
So where was I? Oh yeah, Thursday marked the start of the Universitys school fayre, and is running up until tomorrow. It’s a method for various clubs and circles to gain exposure, and a little income, by selling a range of foods to anyone willing to buy it. Unfortunately I’ve found that a lot of their selling approaches are what I’d consider to be aggressively direct. It’s ok to go around with signs advertising your fare, but it doesn’t really come accross as polite when they’re shoved in yourface and you’re quickly surrounded by people calling out at you. But to be fair, as I’ve said time and time again, “not my country, not my rules”, so this is something I’ll have to get used to.
For those of you who like spotting this sort of thing, notice that I used ‘fayre, fare, and fair’ all in the same paragraph ^_^.
There’s also a stage area with a live band that’s been performing a nice range of music, and apparently everything changes everyday.
Friday marked the start of a four-day weekend. OH YEAH BABY! How have I spent it?
On Friday I met up with a couple of Japanese friends and we enjoyed an hour at karaoke. It was a relief to see that I wasn’t the only one who did anime theme tunes, though I also threw in some English pieces also. Following our departure, they had to head to Uni for something … I can’t remember what though, me and some friends decided to go back to the Iki Ningyou no Ma. Well, for me it was going back, for them it was the first time.
Now in order to get the best experience from the room, you really need to understand Japanese, at least to a basic level. This point was really driven home to us by the staff members, each of whom asked us in great detail if we could understand Japanese. After eventually convincing them that we’d be ok (not too much of a challenge for the one actual Japanese person with us), we watched the starter video. It was here I realised that it was slightly different from when we filmed. We then proceded into the room, and it was much darker. I’d been told that because of the cameras they needed to leave on some of the lights, but DAMN! It was dark.
I’m not going to explain what happened, like before, but I’ll put it to you that it was much scarier for me this time around. After asking the others who came along, it was a frightening experience but was still a lot of fun, and definately worth the 600 yen entrance fee.
From here we went onto a Yodobashi Camera, that huge department store I’d previously mentioned. We had a good look around most of the place before calling it a day and heading home. But that was not before visiting the coin-capsule section and picking myself up a Komori Kiri (a hikikomori) keychain from Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (Goodbye Mr Despair).
Yesterday I admit I spent faffing about playing Gyakuten Saiban 3 (Phoenix Wright 3) and working on a newer easier to manage version of Shrotaku, and that brings me up to today.
After waking up nice and late with no alarms going off and no food waiting for me, I started writing up this blog. With distractions such as eating cereal and taking a shower, and doing a little bit of cleaning in the room, I have officially caught up. That being said, there’s stuff I’ve probably forgot to include … oh well.
This time next week I’ll be in a new home closer to Umeda, Osaka. Still a dorm, but much closer to what I’d consider to be a fun area. I’m hoping this will help me to get some communication practice at weekends (for the record today I’ve only said one word; konnichiwa), as well as give me better access to travel links; it’s a 15 minute walk from Umeda Eki.
And so, now that I’m all caught up, I’m going to head off and cook some food. By cook, I of course mean boil some water and stick it in a plastic tub filled with noodles.