If I could link to videos in the iPhone blogger app, you'd see a link here to "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac. But I can't.
Saturday was a national holiday here in Japan, part of Silver Week, where two holidays fall in the same calendar week. It's nowhere near as celebrated or known as Golden Week (early May) or Obon (August). In fact, many Japanese don't even call it Silver Week, and some don't celebrate the holidays at all. I, however, took advantage of a three-day weekend and hopped a discount bus to Nagoya for a little sightseeing.
Despite being in Japan for almost 9 months now, I haven't traveled much around the country. I spent my Golden Week vacation in Hiroshima and Kyushu, I took a day trip to Nasu Highland, and of course my Obon Taiwan trip. I've seen almost everything I've wanted to see in Tokyo so its high time I started taking trips outside the area. Easier said than done, of course, because travel for residents isn't exactly cheap. But Willer Express is a great way to get around if you don't mind sitting on a bus for hours. And I don't mind.
Someday I'll get into the full details of each destination on this trip. While I haven't exactly taken it easy, I've done far fewer destinations than usual.
I arrived Saturday afternoon, and after shooting a couple pictures of the JR Central Towers I headed off to Nagoya Castle. There is restoration (rebuilding, actually) at the site and it's actually better, because visitors can see the rebuilding work fairly up-close. The buildings are near but not obstructing the existing castle structure so I still got some nice pictures. It's a long way to the top observation floor via the stairs!
From there I hopped a bus to the Tokugawa Art Museum, which features a very nice collection of historical and artistic artifacts. I say historical because several items are functional - for example beautiful carved furniture, sword pieces, and painted screens.
It was now getting to be evening (the castle took a long time!) so I headed over to Osu, where Osu Kannon (temple) and a large shopping district are located. I didn't buy anything, but it was fun wandering around.
The sun set soon after visiting the temple, but I had one more sightseeing spot to visit. Sakae is one of the trendy shopping districts in Nagoya, and a fairly simple shopping arcade contains a very nice rooftop garden and even higher is a second rooftop reflecting pool. It is a great place to take pictures of the TV tower, which looks like the Eiffel Tower and has an observatory of its own. And it's older than the Tokyo Tower. Too bad there isn't much to look at from the tower itself!
I worked up quite an appetite, and the one thing on my mind was misokatsu, which is fried pork with a thick soy sauce on top. It's good, make no mistake. I had mine at Kanayama Station, in a little coffee shop called Cafe de Metro that serves a couple food items too. For ¥680 I had a good full meal with three pieces of pork, some shredded cabbage, rice, and a small side salad.
I spent last night in my first capsule hotel, a very inexpensive stay (¥2490 with coupon) that also included the sauna downstairs. Someone across the way went on a snorefest around 3 am which was poorly timed since that's about the time I woke up needing to use the bathroom. Other than that I slept pretty well, and it wasn't cramped at all. I think it's actually a little wider than my current futon.
I'll tell you about today tomorrow, because this post is getting really log! Until then...