Showing posts with label Nagoya. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nagoya. Show all posts

Monday, 9 April 2018

10 - Return To Machida

(Wednesday 4th April, Nagoya-Machida)

Interestingly I woke up this morning having slept the worst since arriving in Japan, probably due to the fact that it had been very warm, added to that for a cheaper room we'd elected to all sleep three in a double bed. But alas, our son is no longer the small quiet creature of yesteryear when this used to be possible. The heat also got to him which lead him to moan and thrash around, lashing out in his sleep resulting in a punch in the nose or kick in the takoyaki becoming a real and present danger. My wife staying up to sort out the washing in a plastic bag with the light on didn't help, and in fact only exacerbated the situation. Imagine trying to sleep in the desert at high noon lying next to a pack of wild dogs tied to a cactus while someone maliciously crunches an empty crisp packet right next to your ear.

Morning couldn't come soon enough, and when it did it was too soon.

I had two onigiri, some rice, two cups of coffee and two orange juices, some mini sausages and other seaweed bits and bobs, and afterwards began to feel quite human again. On TV at the end of the hall was a program that seemed to be about big butts. The female Japanese presenter seemed to be saying, "Using these cutting edge methods and optical illusions people with big butts can become people with smaller butts." Each of the guests to me were clearly thinking, "Why are we here?" My wife disagreed. She interpreted their expressions to be that of polite interest. Not "What idiot TV program producer planned this nonsense?"

Striking architecture in Nagoya

 I heard chocolate was an aphrodisiac, but still ....
Even though we were due to check out today we left our cases in the hotel foyer so that we could wander around Nagoya for a while until we were due to catch the shinkansen up to Tokyo at 2:40 pm.

It was hot and sunny and the heat bounced off the asphalt, concrete, steel and glass to produce a shimmering haze though which we meandered like a mirage, gasping for coffee, coffee. 

My son and I holed up in a Doutours in the station to do some homework while my wife slipped away for a few precious solitary shopping hours in the labyrinthine symbiotic department store train station.

Shinkansen coffee travels at 200mph
We dismounted the bullet train in Shin Yokohama station and climbed the familiar stairs up and round and down to the JR station where it was just anther 20 minutes or so until our next destination, a little old place called Machida.

Full Circle - Back in Machida 
I walked past this hotel every day from 2000-2002
I can't believe we've come all the way back to Machida. Coming down the stairs at the JR exit looking out over the night view I almost felt faint as three lots of memories all superimposed on my mind: the first version I experienced in 2000 when I first arrived in Japan, got disorientated due to the two raised platforms and ended up blissfully lost; the second chapter of my life when I returned to Machida in 2006 and we made Tough Gig and Ripped; and this third 2018 version, with its similarities and differences - the commercial enterprises that survived, those that didn't, and those that adapted. But still the same glittering neon-lit canyon from JR to Odakyu, providing everything you need from donuts to guitar tuition; from steak to spatulas; from fish to cigarettes.
The Hub in Machida is still there, and has expanded to Sagami Ono

This could be why I keep returning

The massive Daiso 100 Yen Plaza in Machida has become an apartment block
We did find anther Daiso but it had been reduced from 6 floors to half a floor in the Lumine Building.

Relieves stress!?

Ninja climbing tools - just 250 yen!

The Neon Lights of Machida Main Drag

Order by iPad in Ootoya to reduce the stress of talking to other humans

Sunday, 8 April 2018

9 - Forgetfulness, Nagoya & Beer

(Tuesday 3rd April 2018, Nagoya)

I believe this was the day of the ill-fated trip from Arashiyama ('Where the Cherry Blossom is so Beautiful, Even Business Sense Goes Out The Window!') to Nagoya.

I think I get it
We woke up after a decent night's slumber, got packed, left our key in the box as instructed, and made our way to the station, where we said our fond farewells to the sunny cherry blossom and boarded a train to Katsura, where we would change to some other line retracing our steps back to Kyoto, and the bullet train (seats booked on the 10:26) would fire us off to Nagoya. As soon as we got on the carriage, I took off my backpack that had all my important stuff on it including MacBook, hard drive, passport and wallet, and put it on the overhead luggage rack.

The steps to enlightenment are many
On reflection we decided that the only place the owners of the guest house had gone wrong was not having the room cleaned, aired and tidied by the time we arrived (6pm). If it had, everything would probably have been fine. All they need is a receptionist and a trustworthy cleaner and their business would sky rocket, because their building is in great nick and in a perfect location and they could greatly increase their reputation, prices and profits. 

Water to purify hands before entering the shrine grounds 
When we got off the train at Katsura, changed lines and boarded the second train I realised I felt quite light. Something was missing. A weight had been lifted from my shoulders, literally. Then it hit me. I'd left my backpack on the other train.

Another solar field whisks by
But because this wasn't the first time this had happened to me I wasn't particularly worried, despite now being an ID-less illegal, when I went up to the train office in Katsura to attempt to explain my predicament. It was doubly fortunate that the line between Arashiyama and Katsura was only a few stations long and the trains just go back and forth all day. They'd found the bag, he said, just hop on the next train and pick it up. Which I did. At the train office there I said, "I'm the foreigner who forgot his bag on the train," and the guy immediately switched on, asked me to sign something (probably an autograph book) and gave me my bag back.

The Golden Clock in Nagoya. Not to be confused with the Silver Clock
The only question now was would we get to Kyoto in time for our Bullet train? Yes, is the answer, with seconds to spare, but we made it. Thirty minutes later we were in sunny Nagoya.

A 3D Kabuto Mushi (horned helmet beetle) gift from a friend
It's amazing how much better for the soul it is to meet old friends in person than on social media. There's no substitute. Social media is like Post-It Notes for the soul. Meeting in person is the full Dolby 5.1 surround sound 4K 360 degree HD experience. Had a great afternoon and evening catching up with old friends, and the intervening years just stripped away as if they'd never happened. 

A glass of heady stout in Kirin City, Nagoya
We checked into our hotel which looked nice and clean and welcoming, and carried our bags up to our room and collapsed on the bed.
The unmistakable but very cylindrical Twin Towers of Nagoya Station
The Upside Down Whirlpool
In the evening we wandered the warm city streets seeking nourishment, and found it in the form of fried meat fondue.

Fried meat in cheese fondue! Genius! 
A foyer to rival all foyers