Sunday, June 22, 2008


A few blocks away from Nagoya (well, actually 2 subway stops with one transfer) is this neighborhood called Ōsu Kannon. There is a shrine in the center of the hood, and a really cool shopping area full of clothing, electronic and food shops. All the funky clothing you see people wearing can be found here.But look at the following photo of people going up the escalator.To the left is a stair case, to the right is the escalator and everyone is basically taking the escalator. It's not because we are lazy, but in the past two days, the temperature started to blow-up. It is all the sudden hot and humid, just being outside for an hour turns you into a total mess. I think this is really funny, the line in the photo above was taken at Fushimi station, Nagoya is much worst. The subway is also air-condition, which makes it a little more nice to ride.As a result of the higher temperatures, I think more people are using the subway too, instead of walking. The yellow line between Fushimi and Nagoya was packed today. I was pressed against the door when it closed, and by the time the train left the station, a line had all ready formed large enough to fill another train.

But, if you are planning on visiting Japan in the next couple of days, might be a good idea to bring some dry-fit clothes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Himakajima Island

So, I took a train and ended up at Himakajima Island, basically Hawaii.First of all, the name Himakajima Island is funny, because when translated into English, you are saying Himaka Island Island. But, this was a 50 minute train ride south to Kowa port right the edge of the Pacific ocean, then a boat ride out to the middle of this area between Mikawa bay and the ocean....On the island, there was not actually much to do, other then eat, watch dolphins, lay on the beach and rent bicycles. So, I went with the bike rental and spent all day riding around and ringing that little bell on the handle bar. If you look at the sign on the front of the bike, there is a phone number. But it's missng the first three numbers of the phone number, they just kind of assume you know that.Which was cool, it only cost Y1000 to rent the bike all day and I was able to see the hole island. Riding both the main roads and through these neighborhoods where the passages were not more then a meter wide for miles.And these side walks were not only used for walking, but also biking, moped'in, they even had carts to carry stuff down the alleys made just wide enough to fit. It was crazy, at every intersection, there was a mirror, so you could tell if you were about to be in an accident.

You can always learn stuff in Japan by looking down at the sewer covers....... and it turns out the Himaka Island is very famous for octopus. They are caught in these little red buckets, somehow the octopus just swims into. Then people come from all over to enjoy them for dinner. Typically, they are dried in the sun held open with sticks.This trip, I was not really hungry, but I want to go back sometime and try this. Everyone on the island said the tako was good!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Toyama, Toyama Desu

This past weekend I took a train 3 hours and 51 minutes north of Nagoyo, passed Gero and ended up in Toyama.The city of Toyoma, the capitol city of the Toyama Prefecture is a really cool place. Along the north edge of Toyama is the Japan sea, across which is Vladivostok, Russia. Which is funny, because in most cities signs are in Japanese then in English or Spanish. But in Toyoma, the signs are in Japanese followed by Russian then English, and sometimes, you are on your own.Don't be fooled, all those people on the beach are working. It national clean the beach day or something, so everyone was picking up trash. I was not really down with that scene and felt guilty trying to lay down and rest, so I spent only a few minutes here. All around the city of Toyama is this mountain range, full of snowboarding, hiking, Onsens and other kinds of parks and little towns. Because of a slight haze in the air from the weather, you really could not see the mountains from the beach. But this is not a big deal, kind of like Portland, you can take a tram to the mountains.And with out much effort you are up in the mountains.It took about an hour to go from the beach to the mountains, and one bus transfer. I could of also taken a train to get here, but when I needed to transfer, there was a 1.5 hour wait train and 30 minutes for the bus. When I got to the mountains, I took some time to find dinner and went for a rather long hike. The hike keep passing over the Hida river, and every bridge was beautiful.Then would go up a large hill and back down to the river.Eventually, I ended up at a local train station but needed to get to an express station to go back to Nagoya. Not a big deal, I had to take this crappy old train from 1930 to make that transfer though. And need to be at a small train station at 17:02 to be at the larger train station below to make the transfer at 17:11.You can tell you are in the middle of know-where then the train has no English telling you where it is going.Here is one last view over looking a small village.... waiting for the small train to show up.If you ever see someone making something that looks like this, you should stop what you are doing and try one. Ask for red bean, it's a sure thing.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Point of View 2

Here is another funny sign on the side of a grocery site in the town of Mihama.How do they know that? ...the 'r' and 'n' could use a little space too.