Monday, May 7, 2012

Martyrs, Bomb Victims, & Penguins? Day One in Nagasaki

Here's the awkward part where the days blend together because I slept on a bus...

It wasn't that bad, although I'm pretty sure I didn't sleep properly. I do remember seeing Haus Ten Bosch, so that made me happy that I would be going there soon :p

So I got off the bus to a perfect day, which I was worried about because I saw some rain in some part of Japan on the way down and I only brought shorts. After figuring out logistical things such as how to get a day pass for the street car and how to get to the airport Sunday, I discovered something...Catholic?

I shouldn't have been surprised. Nagasaki was the port city during the isolation period, so of course there was Catholic stuff there. I went up a hill and found a place where people were martyred, and there was a small museum AND a Church too. Very cool. (In hindsight, I shouldn't have lingered so will see why)

Next, I headed over to the Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park and Peace Monument areas, because my hostel did not have check in until 3. There was a lot to see! In the park, there was a monument in the epicenter and pieces of temples and churches that survived the blast. There was also a monument to the women and children there. Also, they indicated how high the ground level changed after the blast.

After snacking on sherbert shaped like a rose (really, it was 100 yen, awesome), I headed for the Atomic Bomb Museum. It was just as sad and powerful as the other one in Hiroshima, except it was a little smaller. My favorite part was the Peace Memorial Hall. It was very beautiful and serene, a place for you to reflect on war and the importance of peace. That was even better than the museum.

There was also another park with a peace fountain and a huge monument that was really pretty. There were also a ton of other statues donated from various places.

At this point, it was a bit after 3, and I wanted to find the bus for the Penguin Aquarium because what goes better with martyrs and bomb victims than penguins, right? So, I can't find it of course, and when I ask the information lady for help she says by the time I'd get there it would be 4 and it closes at 5. It's only 2 stories; I did the 8 story aquarium in an hour. Really. So I go to the bus stop anyway....and screw it up entirely. I'm pretty sure I didn't know what I was looking for and the bus passed right by me.

So this put me in a trick because penguins are a half hour one way and Haus Ten Bosch is an hour in another...but I planned to wake up and get to the Penguin Aquarium at 9 so I will get to HTB by noon. It closes at 9, and there really aren't rides, just One Piece, roses, and awesome fireworks for Golden it shouldn't have been a big deal.

(We will see about that)

So at this point I go to find the hostel and get hailed by a lovely old man and his adorable grandchildren (who proudly told me they were 5,7, and 9) It was so adorable, the kids here are more outgoing with the gaijin (another later in the day told me 'Hello' and I about died from cuteness)

This hostel was about 6x bigger than the other; it was almost like a regular hotel...except for the 8 people in bunk beds, but I was really only there to sleep. (Although that came back to haunt me, because almost everyone snored. One person even keened Moo in the middle of the night. Not kidding.) There was also a furo bath and hot water until midnight, so a quick Japanese style shower was interesting.

They also gave me a map of places to eat and things to do which was very showed me there was like 6 temples behind the hostel. I was like what. I only got to two of them because I had a half hour before they closed. Still! Awesome.

So with this newfound free time, I started to search the grocery stores and conbinis (convenience stores) for the crazy flavored Kit Kat bars. I could not find them anywhere! 3 supermarkets (on the way I checked the nearby Mister Donuts for the mugs I want to get with my points, no luck...they're sold out everywhere) and nothing! I seriously don't know how people find these so easily. I found big ones of what I think is green tea, but I know there are others out there and I would really like to find them.

At this point is made my way over to China Town for some yums. The regional food in Nagasaki is called chanpon, which from what I could tell was a huge amalgam of of noodles with seafood and meat and vegetables and seafood and bean sprouts. I think there was squid? Is it sad I recognize squid after only eating it once before? It was very good.

This was also the third time in the day that someone said I was skilled at Japanese from practically nothing. People who said so: person who sold me the street car ticket, the lady at the temple, and the chanpon seller) I did a lot of talking today, but everyone knew too much English for me to practice much.

Anywho, it was a very filling meal. Then, foregoing the conbinis along the way, I headed for the spectacular night view atop Mt. Inasa....along with the rest of Japan. (also almost went the wrong way because the sign was pointing the wrong freaking way grr)

I waited about an hour and a half (got chewed by mosquitos) to get on the teeeeeny cable car to go up the mountain. It also got cold in this time, which sucked. The lady behind me was very nice though! She asked me if I had to pee (politely) because cold body language looked like I-have-to-pee body language, haha. She also made sure I had a ticket and stuff, which was very nice (I had to go wait in the ticket line before the cable car with no one to save the spot, made me mad) But this lady was in a tour group, and from what I can tell the workers were trying to convince the group to go down the mountain on a bus so they wouldn't take up the cable car? Either way, they agreed and as a thank you they passed out awesome postcards to them....and the lady got two, and gave me one.

So nice!

So I get to the top....Wow. None of my pictures can do that view justice, at all, bar none. It was wonderful. And the moon was nearly full too. (This was Friday, and it was going to be full Sunday). It was so nice!

Then I hightailed it to the streetcar once I made it back down the cable car (took about a half hour) so I wouldn't have to walk the entire way back. I had to walk halfway back, because the cable car went down the wrong track, but I found it...eventually. (The streetcar went in a tunnel, so I couldn't follow the tracks completely! lol)

Not a bad day one! :) Picture soon, there's a lot so I wanted to get them on facebook first.


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