A bit late because I didn’t feel like recapping so much. Better late than never.
Nagoya Trip Day 2
The following morning, we woke up bright and early to begin another day of exploration. While Timmy and I made our way past the front gate, Omar and Katy checked out of the hotel. Once we were all outside, Omar informed us that to book the hotel for another night would cost an additional ¥4000. For some inexplicable reason, we decided that the extra ¥1000 contribution from each of us was far too steep a price to pay, so we declined to book the room again; a decision which would cause us much frustration later in the day.
The first stop of the day was Oasis 21 and Nagoya Tower, about a 15 minute walk from our hotel. Oasis 21 and Nagoya Tower are in the center of Sakae; one of the main entertainment districts of Nagoya.
Nagoya Tower was completed in 1954 and was the first TV tower ever built in Japan. Standing 180 meters tall, it is one of the highest structures in Nagoya.
Right beside Nagoya Tower sits Sakae’s new landmark – the futuristic looking Oasis 21 complex, which was opened to the public in 2002. At the top of this interesting building is a walkway that contains pools with large pink inflated monsters.
In betwen Nagoya Tower and Oasis 21 was a park/community area where a small fundraising event was being held. It seemed to be promoting eco-friendly living and local agricultural businesses, but due to our limited Japanese, we weren`t really sure.
After snapping some pictures in and around Nagoya Tower, Oasis 21, and the local event, we walked across the street to a hole in the wall Ramen shop. Ramen is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. It is as ubiquitous as it is varied, with each shop selling their own slightly different version of the pre-eminent dish. This particular ramen shop was quite interesting in that you walk in, choose your order at a machine, press a button which prints out a stub, and hand the stub to the server. It was all quite efficient, and the ramen was terrific.
After lunch, we waited around the area for Rebecca. There was a piano store down the street from the ramen shop so we went inside and I played some songs on the various pianos to kill time. One of the coolest things I saw in Nagoya was a see-through grand piano. It cost about $85,000!
Nagoya Castle is a grand estate that was built at the beginning of the Edo Period for the Owari clan; one of the three famous Tokugawa family branches. As a result, Nagoya developed into an important castle town, and eventually into Japan`s fourth largest city.
Sadly in World War II, the castle was almost completely destroyed during Allied Forces air raids. It was reconstructed in 1959 with a concrete rather than wood construction. Now, The interior of the castle is a modern museum displaying the castle’s history.
After visiting the castle, we returned to the city and had a nice steak dinner at a restaurant inside the underground shopping complex attached to the station. We then made our way to Nagoya Port to snap some pictures. Omar taught me how to do long exposure photography, so I took a bunch of light painting pictures.
Unfortunately, after making our way back to the city, we quickly discovered that finding a place to stay the night was even more impossible than the previous day. It seemed that every single place in Nagoya was booked. However after trying again and again, by random chance, we managed to find a hotel that had a single vacant room. After making our way over to the hotel, we tried to pull off the same trick that we had used the previous night. This time, as Timmy and I attempted to briskly walk by the front desk towards the elevator, we were stopped by one of the hotel employees who demanded to know where we were going. In english. Stunned and caught off-guard, I stated that we were visiting a friend. “What is their name?” Stuck in a corner I remarked, “Oh, hang on, I think this is the wrong hotel!”, and we spun around making a beeline for the door.
10 minutes later, Omar and Katy came back downstairs after dropping off their stuff and changing in the room. Our group was distraught and fret with anxiety of having no idea what to do. Katy almost walked into the path of uncomming traffic because she was lost in her thoughts. Malcolm called us up to go sing Karaoke again, so we wordleslly made our way to the Karaoke bar.
A few hours and many drinks later, we were happy again, resigned to our fates and the fact that two of us would most likely be finding somewhere to camp out on the street. However as we approached the hotel at 3 in the morning, we realized that the lights to the front desk were off and that were was only one sleepy person on the late shift waiting for hotel patrons to come in. Thinking quickly, Omar carried Katy on his back while Timmy and I stumbled in with them like a drunken couple. We buzzed for the person to give us the key, and grogily and half asleep, he gave it to us. Once we got into the elevator, we celebrated like there was no tomorrow, and congratulated each other for another succesful heist.
Nagoya Day 3
The next day, we hopped on the train for a day trip to Inuyama – literally “Dog Mountain”. Inuyama is a quaint old castle town that is home to Inuyama Castle; the oldest standing castle in Japan. It stands on a small hill next to Kiso river and offers a fantastic view of the surrounding region from its top floor.
Breaking it down, castle style
After visiting Inuyama, we made our way back to Nagoya and spent some time at a large covered shopping area.
We arrived back at the station around 7 pm and bid farewell to one another. It was quite sad seeing everyone leave, but we spent the rest of the night texting each other on our respective rides home. I had about 4 hours to kill since my bus wouldn`t leave until 11, so I walked around the station, and took some long exposure pictures of the city.
At around 11:10, my bus finally pulled in so I bid adieu to Nagoya and began the long trip back home. I arrived at 6:45 and immediately got ready to go to work. It was a good trip.
Here’s a slideshow of the preceding pics and some others: