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First day in Nagoya

JAPAN | Saturday, 8 August 2009 | Views [724]

L was very kind to make us a packed lunch for our trip to Nagoya. JN was brilliant in navigating through the bus/subway/train system to get us to our destination. We are now staying at V’s place in Nagoya. This is her first home exchange so she felt a little safer exchanging with a family than with a couple of backpackers her first time around. She is from Jamaica and her boyfriend is from Argentina. She met us the first day to show us around her place and left the next day to join her boyfriend who is now working in Tokyo. They are planning on staying with us in France sometime in the next two years.


Nagoya is very nice and the people are fantastic. We are amazed at the service, at the friendly attitude of everyone we meet. As we can speak about four words in Japanese, we rely mainly on the kindness of strangers. I cannot count how many times we just show a map and the person goes out of their way to walk us directly there.


The first day we just walked around the city and headed to the Osu kannon district. What a surprise to stumble upon a temple in the middle of the urban landscape. A kind man took SB aside to show him how to wave the smoke from the incense burning in an urn over his body.   


We also found a used clothing store where I bought a kimono for two dollars for SB and one for myself for under 20. We wandered into an arcade where there were two floors of games. One thing I must say, it is rather loud and noisy here. Between the music blasting, the electric pinging, you are constantly assaulted when walking around a city with visual and audio distractions. If that is not bad enough, in order to get your attention so that you go into THEIR store or go to THEIR attraction, people shout into megaphones. Oddly enough, on the subway and in restaurants, everything is very, very quiet.


We ate in a Japanese fast food restaurant when we got tired of wandering. What is Japanese fast food? When you walk into the restaurant and go to a giant automatic machine, put your money into a slot and push on your choice of food. In return, a ticket spits out, you sit down and the server gives you a glass of green tea when she comes to collect your tickets. When your meal is ready, the server brings out your food to your table.       


We walked back to the subway and on the way we saw two guys juggling with a soccer ball. We stopped to watch and were given our own private show. They were very talented and they were practicing together and set their act to music. They were very kind and kicked the ball back and forth to SB a little bit.  


We ate in a restaurant at the train station on the way back to V’s apartment.  They apparently never have non-Japanese clients as the menus were purely in Japanese. I relied on taking our waiter out and pointed to the plastic food displays in the window for SB and my orders; JN pointed to a sign in Japanese where we could just read that it cost 1000 yen and said “surprise me.”


He got a wonderful meal of miso soup, pickles, chicken wings, tofu, and cabbage salad. Ours was quite good, too.       

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