The rest of the trip

The last couple days of our trip to Japan consisted of shopping around to various locations rather than the sight-seeing fair we've been doing nearly the entire trip so far.


For our last full day in Nagasaki, we started shopping downtown. There was quite a bit that had changed downtown I wasn't really expecting. For example, the You-Ing, which used to be on the corner downtown had moved into the prime 6 floor location of Hamanomachi. It looked like the whole downtown area right outside Hamanomachi was going through some huge changes, too. It'll probably look completely different in another year.

As luck would have it, it was Thursday, April 10th, which meant Mario Kart Wii had just come out. ^_^

You-Ing had far more than just those copies and I bet they were completely sold out by Saturday.

Another big change was that the Sega World was no longer in business. It don't know how they could've gone out of business, when the place was packed everytime I went there. There was no sign on the door saying the moved locations either. Weird...

More shopping and arcades

After taking a look at some of the other arcades and a couple more stores, we made our way to You-Me Saito and Amu Plaza and tried our luck, unsuccessfully, at some crane games. Later on, we made it to Taito and found a new Konami Shmup! It's called Otomedius, another parody spin-off of the Gradius series. Here's a few pics of the machine (here and here). The screen was very high-res and featured a couple touch options too. There was a dude playing it though, and those crane games were a little more appealing for the moment, so I didn't play it. It looked like it played A LOT like parodius though.

It looked like it could've been fun though... I'll look it up on wikipedia later.


For the rest of the evening, we returned to Beardo to hang out with Sachi, Yoriko and Nonoka. ^_^.

And we also proceeded to drink heavily. Throughout the night, several of the newly initiated JASIN students arrived and we got a chance to talk to them about Japan. It was really kinda weird though.. It's like watching a new Season of Survivor with a completely new cast of people, when you're totally used to the previous season.

Kraig Henry showed up again, and began giving the students the run down, more or less. The students that hung out with us were from New York state, Southern Illinois, La Crosse, WI, Manchester, England, North North England, and France.

As the night grew thin, we started passing out and had to return to our beds. We said goodbye to everyone for the evening, but we met up with the Hiro family the next day for lunch. ^_^


For lunch, we went to one of those restaurants on 5th floor Amu. After lunch, we lost track of time a little bit, and had to run to catch our train back to Fukuoka. Gage and I ran down to the ticket counter and bought our tickets, while Sachi and Yoriko made it downstairs with Nonoka and Nanase. The bought some local tickets, so they could say goodbye to us on the platform. We hopped on the train, and waved goodbye to them just outside as the doors closed. I sat down in a window seat where they could see me, and continued waving to them. They even started running after the train a little bit when it took off, it was so sweet ^_^.


Early in the day, while waiting for Sachi, I emailed Aya since I knew she lived around Fukuoka and made some plans to hang out with her for the rest of the evening. She actually lived a little further away than I thought she did, but it was still considered in Fukuoka, which was weird. Her train ride was about an hour to get downtown, whereas our train ride from Nagasaki was about 1 hour 45 minutes.

Anywho, we finally met up with her and went over to Tenjin to do some more shopping and arcading. We found plenty of engrish shirts and played plenty of crane games.

But, like our whole trip, time began to fade and we had to say goodbye. She needed to get back home and we needed sleep for our 7:00 AM flight the next day.

Some TV

Well, we didn't quite make it to bed right away. Gage wrote up a couple of emails and I watched some TV. There was a very interesting program on which started off talking about Otaku and Akihabara but blended into Russian-Japanese fandom. This Japanese otaku flew to Russia and met up with his friend for a tour of this fandom. They started off with "Bloom", which is some big Russian Cosplay organization, i think?

They also went around to several Japanese restaurants. The first of which was a sushi place called Yakitori. The otaku thought it was odd that the place didn't even have any Yakitori, yet that's what they named the place. The sushi chef was a roll with very creamy cream cheese, some green onions and some kind of fish that looked like tuna. The otaku was rather stunned at the cream cheese addition, but was full-out surprised when after the sushi roll was rolled, they deep-fried it in Tempura. It looked really really good actually, but not to the Japanese. It looked like he was just being polite when he said "oishii".

They didn't go into as much detail with other restaurants than to simple make fun of their names. One restaurant had some kanji on the sign which was missing a stroke. This really seemed like the exact same "making fun of" us Americans do when we see/read Engrish shirts. It was always wondering if the Japanese had something similar to that and I guess they do. ^_^ The same type of thing was we quite tattoos with some kanji.


The morning came quite fast, and we darted from bed into a cab and then into the airplane. We had a 7 hour lay-over in Narita and since our luggage was already loaded onto our next flight, we did a little exploring to Narita. As luck would have it, we picked a damn good Saturday to be flying out of Narita.

Narita-san, the local buddhist temple, was celebrating it's 1070th birthday. And with that, Narita held a massive Taiko Festival in its honor. But, Gage and I went around the area before the opening ceremonies finished. The opening ceremonies were held at the grand meeting hall, which had a 3 tower pagoda nearby.


We continued on, though.

Here's a crappy panoramic from the middle of the lake.

Calligraphy Museum

One of the buildings on the compound is a Calligraphy museum, so we took a look at that.

Some of the pieces were quite beautiful, but I don't know THAT much about Japanese calligraphy to catch all the subtleties of stroke-flow and brush work. They all looked really solid though, and they're in a museum, so they must be fantastic. ^_^ It was able to read a couple, but I really want to know what's up with the following kanji.

Several sheets had these "Kanji" written on them, but that's not any Japanese or Chinese Kanji I know of. Anyone know? I should send an email to Aya or Ikuko about it.

Buddhist Temple

After the museum, we continued along and came across the main Buddhist Temple of Narita.

We went inside and viewed all the religious stuff. I could probably go into more detail if I knew anything about Buddhism.

Taiko Matsuri

We started making our way back to the Train station and caught several of the Taiko performances on the way.

All in all, it was a great way to spend a large chunk of our layover. ^_^ We tried finding some other shops but the luggage we did have was starting to wear on us, so I wanted to return to the airport. I expanded my knowledge of Narita a couple more blocks.. whoo. I really need a map of that place.

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