Japan Day 3, July 5th
A quick packing of my bag, bite to eat from the convini and I set off for Nagoya via shinkansen (bullet train.) Though I woke up early I spent a bit of time writing entries and sending e-mails, so I didn’t depart from Tokyo station until quarter after eleven. Since Kana was expecting me at the station around one, I rushed to the first train destined for Nagoya. What I didn’t realize was I boarded the super fancy super express Nozomi train, the only train my rail pass doesn’t cover. I realized this just before the conductor came around to collect tickets, and I was able to explain my mistake. The merciful conductor allowed me to change trains at the next station with no extra charge.
Kana met me at the gate and instantly wrapped her arms around me. The soccer season meant that the Nagoya Hilton was booked solid, so she wasn’t able to get us a discount room. She booked us a small room in a hotel right outside of the station instead. When I say right outside, I mean literally. You exit the station, walk ten feet and you’re there. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was nice and convenient. And air coniditioned. That’s an important one.
Kana suggested a local specialty for lunch: Miso-katsu. We went to a popular chain famous for its excellent miso-katsu, and it did not dissappoint. We shared a sampler plate and a salad that was more than enough food for the both of us. Kana refused to let me pay, as would become the theme for my stay in Nagoya. After cleaning up for the mea we departed for Nagoya Castle.
One of the amazing thing about Japanese castles and major shrines are the immensely beautiful parks and gardens built around them. To get to the castle we had to take a walk around the park the long way. The park lends to excellent views of the castle at all angles, but all in all it looks like any other Japanese castle. Cool nonetheless. Kana also took me to her favorite place in the park, and tried to explain to me what it looks like during cherry blossom season. While I imagine it to be very beautiful, words can only pale in comparison to it’s actual vision.
We returned to Nagoya station as the castle grounds close at 5, and I asked Kana to show me around Nagoya’s station area. We wandered a bit, the streets empty despite it being a Sunday. Everyone probably rocked too hard during the day. I regretted not bringing my camera when we passed through the section of old restaurants and homes. The quaint atmosphere accented by cascading street lamps on this hot and quiet night was a sight to behold. There’s also something about the high rises in Nagoya that makes them seem larger than Tokyo or New York. Nagoya is a little more spread out, and their large building generally take up a full city block along with twenty or more stories. The combination makes them seem absolutely massive.
On the walk back from downtown to the hotel, we took a brief stop to sit and rest. I noted how Nagoya reminded me of Boston in many ways, and we reminisced about Kana’s visit there. I asked Kana a question I should have asked long ago: why she decided to move to America. America wasnt her first choice. England was, but it was too expensive, and then Australia, but she didn’t know anyone there and the economy wasn’t welcoming foriegners. Since she had a friend in San Francisco and there are many good programs to study English, she chose to go there. Initially intending to study English for a year, and then decide on the future afterwards. Essentially, looking for a little bit of vacation and a little bit of change. Not terribly different than what I’m doing now.
Exhausted and still a bit jetlagged, I convinced Kana we should call it a night, despite it only being ten. I was worried how things would be with Kana while I visited. So far everything seems to be working out. Kana appears happy and we are both having fun. There are no problems or awkwardness. Maybe this freinds thing will work after all.