Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crossroad in the Ancient Capital

「えー、一期一会という言葉があります、いい言葉です。えー旅の楽しさは人との出会いです。しかし、出会った事を後悔する人間もたまにはいます。バスや列 車や飛行機の中で、たまたま隣に座った人物が例えばその…黒い服を着てて、襟足の長い人物だったりしたら、その旅は最悪です。特に…、あなたが犯罪者の場 合は」
『古畑任三郎: ニューヨークでの出来事』

"
There is the saying of 'an once-in-a-lifetime encounter' and it's a nice saying. Eh, the fun of traveling is meeting people. But sometimes there are people you regret meeting. If in a bus, train or airplane and you should happen to sit next to somebody who, for example, wears black clothes, and long hair at the back, your trip will be horrible. Especially... when you're a criminal."

"Furuhata Ninzaburou: The Event in New York"


As my vacation started officially on the first of March, I travelled to the Kansai area with Li, one of the other students in the JLCC program (and one of the multiple Li's). While I've been to Kyoto before, I had never been to Osaka before, so I was looking forward to that.

We went by night bus and it was one of the most horrible things I've ever experienced in my life. You might as well give up on sleeping right away and you'd better hope for a somewhat spacious bus. The Fukuoka-Osaka bus was awful, with not enough space for your legs to stretch in the least bit, resulting in a 8 hour torture. Luckily, the Kyoto-Fukuoka bus was a bit bigger, though it's still near impossible to sleep. Even when you happen to reach the state of nearly falling in sleep, the bus will stop for a toilet break and you'd be waken again.

While it's not that famous outside of Japan, the first thing that I'm reminded of when mentioning Osaka, is the Tsuutenkaku. I actually learned about the tower when reading Detective Conan, which is always a good source for learning totally useless information. As it's a tower in southern Osaka, so you'd be tempted to think it's like the Osaka version of the Tokyo Tower. It's not. The Tsuutenkaku is like a relic of ancient times. The not-so-very-high tower and the surrounding area (called Shin Sekai, "the new world") with it's neon lights and grotesque shop fronts actually have a strong Taisho/Showa vibe going on and I for one really loved it, though there is nothing of real interest there.

Osaka-jou was being very Japanese castle-ish. Not much to say about that, it was more like a must-see-because-I'm-in-Osaka. More entertaining was the Glico man, who was running as energetic as ever. In a serious case of hobby deformation, I'll have to admit I still immediately think of the Glico-Morinaga incident when mentioning either confectionary company.

Kyoto was, despite the rain, as lovely as ever. I had the chance to speak Dutch again for the first time in a long, LONG time. Which resulted in the most awful Dutch ever (Mental note. The month of November is just November in Dutch. Not something like Elf-Maand.). Besides some normal tourist spots, I also visited some places I knew from movies (like Pacchigi! or the seventh Detective Conan movie) as well as both the Nintendo HQ and Nintendo R&D (which are hidden quite good). This time I also visited Nara, which despite the rain was quite nice. Loads of deer, of course, which are all nice and stuff at first, but then you see them going to the stores and chasing people for food and you realize the streets are full of deer droppings.

Which makes the worst possible bridge ever to the topic of food. Day 1: Takoyaki and okomiyaki (only work-in-progress picture). The okonomiyaki was crazy delicious and expensive and I actually feel awful, as a lawyer-acquintence of Li treated us to dinner. I didn't know him. At all. Day 2: awesome you-say-how-many-layers-of-chashumen and chapu chapu, which is takoyaki in a soup (which in hindsight, does not not sound tasty and was indeed not tasty). Day 3 was going out for sushi with Ben and Els. Day 4 was at an old favorite restaurant of mine, Mr. Young Men, and the kimchi-okonomiyaki was both surprising as tasty. Day 5: Tokushima ramen. Quite thick broth, tasty meat and something that's certainly worth repeating and some other ramen of which I've forgotten the origin (Nagoya?) but it was kinda bland anyway, so nothing lost. Day 6: another ramen of which I've forgotten the name. My notes say it was OK (yes, I actually have a notebook chronicling foods, in particular ramen types), but nothing special.

The day back in Fukuoka was horrible though. One person in the JLCC program told me he had decided to quit and would be going back to his country the day after, so I helped him the remaining day pack stuff and went along to the port to say goodbye. Two other people will be leaving later this month, but we have known about that since the beginning and made mental preparations as well as farewell party preparations. This very sudden departure, with most people gone from Fukuoka on vacation, meant it was quite a lonely departure and I still feel awful about it.


「えー、一期一会という言葉があります、いい言葉です」

"There is the saying of an once-in-a-lifetime encounter and it's a nice saying"

The translation of "an once-in-a-lifetime encounter" for 一期一会 ("ichigo ichie") is actually very lacking, but I choose for this translation in the opening quote to make it sound a bit more natural. But an ichigo ichie means every single occassion where you meet and receive each other's kindness should always be cherished. Sometimes, my opening quotes are not as randomly chosen as they might seem.

Today's Song: 吉俣良 (Yoshimata Ryou) - COTO (From: Dr.コトー診療所 ("Dr. Koto's Clinic"))

Addendum: Els: Books. I have some.

1 comment :

  1. Nara, Sento-Kun. <3

    I still remember Sir Glico Man. I've been twice to a club in the neighborhood there, and after we left the club we saw Glico Man glowing in the night, so cool.

    And Shin Sekai is fucking ugly. It's near Tennoji which is full of smelly bums, but it's also near Den Den Town which is a great place for a toy collector like me.

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