Saturday, May 22, 2010
So on Saturday, our class took a trip to Nagahama, only 10 minutes away by train. We specifically went to see the figure museum.
The figure museum was just like it sounds- the Kaiyodo companies figures on display. I was a little surprised to find 3 figures I have at home being displayed at the museum! I have a tiny tanuki figure, as well as 2 revoltech transformers. I don't have a whole lot of toys so it's interesting to note that the ones I do have are from Japan.
After the figure museum, we accidentally happened upon a music box store. Filled. With. Ghibli. Merchandise.
I sort of stopped in my tracks for a moment and gibbered and pointed. I didn't really expect to come across a place with so much Ghibli merch. So much cute all in one tiny space! Needless to say, we spent some time there and left with a few things. I bought some handkerchiefs (useful for tying up lunches/bento) an eye pillow (can heat or freeze) shaped like o-totoro, and a gift for a friend.
We then explored the streets of Nagahama, particularly the Otemon St. shopping district. The street is packed with shops and restaurants. The shops were selling glass items, a specialty of the area, kimono and other traditional clothing supplies, and of course tons of souvenirs and pretty things. We blew through some money. A little. Maybe. We got lost trying to use the map (TWICE) trying to find other destinations, particularly a temple and shrine. But we eventually found one of them.
Of course at some point we were incredibly hungry. We had a very difficult time finding someplace with vegan food. We were ready to give up and eat snack crackers a vendor was selling, when our professor appeared and pointed us to a restaurant with zaru soba. We were very grateful.
Zaru soba is definitely our fall-back food. There is likely bonito (fish) in the tsuyu dipping sauce, but compared to the meat and eggs in all the other dishes.. it's enough. And the restaurant was really nice; the soba was delicious.
It was an adventure, for sure. Lots of exploring, trying to communicate, shopping, and dashing to the train station to go home. We had a good time in Nagahama.
Now, we're off to our host families. If we don't have internet access there, we won't be updating until we get home, but I think we have enough content to keep making blog posts for quite some time, so keep checking back!