Well, it looks like it's time for our daily dose of time travel.*
It's time to travel back to Wednesday, January 11, 2012! Also known as the day we decided to check out Nagoya Port.
Despite having lived in Nagoya for four months (has it really already been that long?), I'd never actually been down to the port, because it is on a separate subway line than pretty much everything else in the city. But there were two things we wanted to check out down there: a spinning top museum which Miranda had found online and the Nagoya Port Aquarium, which pretty much everyone lists as One of the Things You Do in Nagoya.
The Spinning Top Museum is on Wikipedia...but after visiting it, I must wonder about who put the entry up. I can honestly say that it was the strangest museum I have ever been to--and I have been to some pretty strange museums. It's in a warehouse...basically...and there's no sort of organization to it. It's just a bunch of spinning tops in cases. Sometimes there are signs up telling you where in the world they are from, but sometimes there aren't. And all the tops are just sort of heaped together. Also, there were random other toys thrown in and a whole bunch of children's clothing on a rack and rocking chairs and bicycles hanging from the ceiling? And we were the only visitors. And the only other person there was this old lady who sat behind a counter at what we think was a register to buy tops, but we couldn't figure out what was for sale and what was on display. It was.........................really weird.
So after that we got lunch at a really good noodle place where the waiter/chef realized I spoke Japanese and then gave me a bunch of advice on noodles.
And then we headed over to the Nagoya Port Aquarium. It was a bit pricey (2,000 yen or about $26), but pretty nice. I wouldn't say it was as nice as Monterey Bay Aquarium, but then again, I am kind of spoiled in that respect. They had two buildings with a whole bunch of exhibits and dolphins and killer whales and belugas and SEA TURTLES. I am all about the sea turtles. I tried to convince them that they should be friends with me, but they were more interested in doing sea turtle-y types of things.
That evening we met with Itou-san for dinner, 'cause she said she wanted to meet up with the S-As again before they left. We wound up going to potentially the best Indian restaurant I have been to in my life. It was SO DELICIOUS. And we had a nice time chatting and trying to figure out what was in the dessert (it turned out to be coconut milk). All in all, a fun time.
So that was Wednesday.
Thursday was Miranda's last full day in Japan, and she and Nick wanted to get some souvenirs for people back in the States, so we went to Osu Kannon, which is a sort of shopping arcade/temple district thing across the city from me. There are also three kofun (burial mounds) in the area: the one I went to before with Geoff plus two more. So we decided to explore and find omiyage and generally be the intrepid young people we are.
Here's a tiny temple we found on our wanderings.
It's hard to tell from this picture, but it was so cold that there were chunks of ice floating on the top of the water in the hand washing basin.
Needless to say, not the most pleasant experience.
Here's a little shrine we found.
And here's Osu Kannon, the temple which the district is named after.
They have a whole ton of pigeons.
They also apparently have a Jizo for mizuko. Maybe I've just started noticing a whole lot more of these, now that I've read about mizuko, but they seem to be EVERYWHERE.
Here's a little Inari shrine we found while wandering around. It's called "Maneki Inari," which can be roughly translated as "Beckoning Inari."
(Maneki neko, by the way, are those beckoning cats [usually called "lucky cats" or something equally dull in the States] which you see EVERYWHERE.)
...someone was having some height issues again.
Hey, look, it's a Maneki Inari!
This was the shrine right next to the Inari.
...and here's a tiny temple!
Whoa, it's NOT a dragon.
This is a pillow filled with salt. Apparently it solves a variety of issues, including insomnia and back pain?
So then we went to this little cafe...
...where they allowed everyone who came to write/draw something and then put it up on the walls/ceiling/wherever there was a space.
Needless to say, we drew stuff.
...here is my exceptionally silly comic about mizuko. I don't have mizuko on the brain.
(In Miranda's words, "You have a thing about dead babies. It's kind of creepy.")
So then we went to ANOTHER temple in the area. It included one of Oda Nobunaga's graves?
THIS IS THE BEST RESTAURANT EVER.
All they sell is buns.
For 160 yen (a little more than $2) you can get either a vegetable or meat bun.
THEY ARE DELICIOUS.
We might have bought some and then came back later and bought some more and then came back later and bought even more and then came back the next day and bought some.
They are THAT GOOD.
(Also their slogan is "a taste you will want to eat again.")
...also, tacos. And beer. I don't even know. Nothing they serve even slightly resembles Mexican food.
So then we went over to the Nagoya Science Museum, which was in the area.
We might have stayed there (doing SCIENCE) until they kicked us out.
Miranda and Nick still hadn't been to the Nagoya Television Tower, so we headed over to Sakae...only to discover that the TV Tower is closed until April. Ugh. So much for that.
So instead we grabbed dinner and then went up on the roof of Oasis 21.
And then we did the only possible logical thing we could do on the roof of Oasis 21 at about 8 p.m.
We played Bananagrams.
The next morning Miranda left on her crazy birthday adventure to Helsinki (yeah, I know) and Nick and I headed back to the science museum (after getting more buns), because WE HAD NOT DONE ENOUGH SCIENCE YET. We did SO MUCH SCIENCE. We also learned the SIGNS OF PUBERTY. And HOW YOUR LUNGS WORK.** And how recycling works. And what people eat in the JUNGLE. And what FUTURE SCIENCE will look like.
Basically, we were giant dorks all over the place and everybody probably thought we were super weird gaijin, but WHO CARES, 'CAUSE SCIENCE.
*...and now my references are just getting obscure. Points to anyone who gets it!
**So the human body room was probably the lamest, 'cause it would say, "Push this button to find out how your lungs work!" and we'd push the button and it would just illuminate a sign. If I wanted to read signs, I would go to a SIGN MUSEUM.
Also, the signs of puberty exhibit was kind of like, "You will get acne! It will be upsetting. Oh well." It also said that when you hit puberty you will become sexually attracted to the other sex. HMM. I know a number of people who apparently got a failing grade in puberty. OOPS.