Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The James Visit Japan: Day 8

On Day 8 we retraced the footsteps from my daytrip to Shinminato (or is it Imizu?) last month...well, sort of.

We got an early start and, after a quick healthy breakfast at McDonalds, boarded the tram around 10 AM. We got off half an hour later at the second to last stop.

Our first stop was the big ship (kaiwo maru) docked at the park (kaiwo maru cohen). The park was empty, but the ship was open. After posing for some pictures and buying some ice cream cones at one of the shops, we each paid 400 yen to go on a self guided tour of the ship.

The tour was bilingual. We were each given English guides and all of the points of interest on the ship were marked in English and Japanese. There were also a few places on the ship that ran a continuous commentary in English and then in Japanese (or was it in Japanese and then in English?)

The view of the Tateyama Mountains was amazing. It wasn't as clear as the posters they sell of Amaharashi with the mountains in the background (which have to be doctored), but it was clearer than I have ever seen.

When we started walking away from the boat to head towards the fish auction we kept turning around to check out the view. It was so beautiful. The mountains just rise out of the horizon. (I am so not doing this explanation justice).

We went from the park to the fish auction down the street. On our way there we noticed that we were surrounded by pussy willows. I didn't know that they had pussy willows in Japan!

The scene at the auction was similar to the one I witnessed a month ago, except this time we got to see them separating the crabs according to size. I noticed one particular crab that had been pushed aside. It must have been a meter long from tip to tip. I wondered how much money that baby would catch.

In addition to crabs, we also saw a bunch of fish, several of which I had never seen before. Yum! We also checked out the tsumnami wall next to the auction. The James were a little timid about climbing up:

After strolling through the auction we crossed the street to visit YET ANOTHER shrine. I got another stamp and bought another ema.

Then we made our way back to the Manyo tram line and Takaoka, where we had lunch at Shangri-La (the restaurant, not the mythological place where they've never heard of money). My curry was so spicy that I could feel an ulcer forming with every bite. I loved it! The grandparents liked it, too. It was their first time eating Indian food.

Shangri-La just happens to be on the other side of Kojo Park, so we strolled through the park on our way back to the hotel. The sakura are really starting to bud. Although 99.99% of them haven't bloomed yet, the buds are starting to turn pink and white. I'm really excited about the sakura; I can't wait to see them.

When we got back to the hotel, the gramps decided that they were done for the day. I couldn't blame them, we'd been out for 8 hours. I went back to the apartment and got ready for yoga.

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1 comment:

Nina said...

I hope you take a bunch of pictures of the sakura blossoms. In the summer, I saw a street lined with cherry trees but they weren't in bloom. You gotta get one of those pictures!!!