Ha ha! So, the chef at our restaurant (the same from last night) told us the 'well-be' capsule hotel we're staying at is 'homo'. No that's not Japanese... I'm not sure how much of that is rumour (it's men only and the guy sitting next to me is reading a very boob-oriented porn mag :P) but it's still hilarious to be told that by the chef at a local restaurant!
So, what did we get up to today? It's been quite a slow day, the sleep debt from the fuji climb is still taking it's toll so we took a stroll around town, saw the TV station (it's actually a national heretage broadcasting tower), tried to find the Robot Museum (which unfortunately has now closed), ahopped in an amazing manga bookstore and went to the Nagoya Donjon - the Palace.
On the whole Nagoya seems to b a very Japanese (rather than touristy) and fashionable city. Many of the residents are in obviously chic clothing and if I hadn't seen 18 hairdressers down one road when we drove in I'd never have belieed the number of crazy hairstyles around town.
The Manga store was incredible - so very loud as you walk in, 6 stories of books,comics, DVDs and models - needless to say I made a few little purchases (where else could you find a Japanese character guide to my favourite Anime: FullMetal alchemist? Plus they're written in easy language so perfect to learn from!). It really does seem to be a passtime for all ages, on fac there were very few children in the shop at all (though it was a Friday afternoon, they were probably at school), there was even a 'ladies floor' -lets just say there were two men kissing on a poster on the door and we didn't go in! - and an 18+ floor filled to breaking point with 'hentai', it also had a "used" section, I don't even want to imagine whythe price difference was so much :S
The last major stop of the day, tired as we were, was the castle. Scheduled to become a national heretage site it was bombed and destroyed in the 2nd world war, a huge loss to cultural Japan as it was a central castle used (in the 1600s) to unite the various clans as they warred. Even the massive stones making the foundations and walls of the grounds have logos etched into them to show which tribe brought which awkward-to-move stone to the palace.
Luckily for us - and Japan - the Dojon (the equivalent of the castle/keep in Britain) was rebuilt in 1959 in the original style and (at least externally) to spec: 14 stories high and with two enormous 5m high gold dolphin statues that perch on the top.
These two statues have had true own troubles, they've been removed time and again for restoration and for fear of theft (3 scales have been stolen over the years. One of which has been returned, as the theif was caught in Tokyo) but today they are where they're supposed to be, sitting aloft the Dojon's green roofs.
If you look through the photostream there's a pic of a statue of a man holding a whip - his name I forget, but he was the war general (and castle engineer) who was given the task of building the Dojon. It is said that he himself stood on top of the biggest stones whipping the workers to pull it onward and calling the song that gave them time. Oddly, it seems like he's revered for this!
After a walk and a tube back to the main station we investigated buses to Kyoto and bought ourselves a little treat: 'MochiCream' desserts. Mochi is a kind of rice paste cake that's pretty hard to find a western analogue to, you'll find them in big supermarkets all over the world (little bean-ball sized coloured dough balls usually filled with a red paste) but these desert ones were filled with chilled cream of a variety of flavours. They were delicious! Mine was 'double mango', mango flavoured rice paste outer shell with mango cream inside, ecstacy!
We've had some serious trouble booking places to stay, our plan of just winging it is remarkably tricky at high tourism season, but we've manages to findavplace in advance for te first night in Kyoto, hopefully there will be enough other nice places about for us to enjoy all the amazing sights Kyoto has to offer. おやすみなさい！(good night!)
It's 8 am and we're packing up to go to Kyoto, strange Jazz Xylophone playing in the background, never going to be totally used to these capsule hotels :P Won't have time to post this until Kyoto, so it may be a while before it arrives.
Send me an email if you get bored! :) x