Thursday, August 30, 2012

30.08.2012 - Kamakura

Hello all!

Nice busy day today, heaps to write about.

I decided last night I was going to Kamakura today for a day trip.
I needed a minute (or 7 hours) out of the city, especially since I start work tomorrow (!) so I'll be stuck in Tokyo for the foreseeable future.
Tokyo it a really intense city, all cities are really, it's so busy and there are so many people, it can be overwhelming. I didn't even really realise I felt on endue until I left. And I went to a pretty busy tourist spot, it wasn't exactly deserted. But just the fresh air! and the bird song! there are basically no birds in Tokyo. Except the ravens. And man, I love ravens. But they don't exactly conjure up a peaceful image, you know? I just always think of Huginn & Muninn, of course.

Anyway! Woke up when my alarm went off at 5, immediately decided I wasn't going to go to class this morning. Ostensibly because I was going to get a mice early start on my little trip, but of course I still didn't leave the house until around 10.30, which ended up being good because I can only spend so long in the sun.

ate some breakfast (ever delicious Dorest cereal with apple juice, I can't buy soy milk here because it's so fresh that it goes off before I can finish it. Water's an ok replacement, but apple juice was a stroke of genius if I may say so myself. Mum, take notes!)  & Skyped with mum & Magnus, it was a delight as always.

Finally got my butt in gear.
Left my house, walked to Shin-Okubo Station, got on the train to Tokyo Station. That took about 40 minutes.
At Tokyo Station I spent a little while trying to buy a ticket I didn't need because there was a language barrier.
Eventually got on the train to Kamakura, which takes about an hour.
Passed the time by listening to Joel Plaskett and admiring woman's shoes. I will never, ever get over the shoes.

Got to Kamakura. Got an iced tea from Starbucks, in my first cave for western things. Well other than my cereal. But I just suddenly wanted something… that I knew I suppose? Sadly, it was oversteeped and thus, almost undrinkable. That's what I get for wanted Starbucks I suppose.
Walked around 'Shopping Town' for a bit, got some presents for my family, got lost briefly when I thought I turned back the way I came when I left a store, but turns out I continued on. Very confusing.

I like Japan for it's simple, straightforward way of naming things.

fan made of 10,000 Yen notes.

Went back to the station and found an information desk, got directions to the Giant Buddha statue, which is pretty much why I went to Kamakura to begin with.
Me and everyone else.
Got on the bus there, it was a nice ride though town! City, really.
Saw the statue, it was awesome. It's just so bloody massive, makes it even better. Everyone loves a giant statue, let's not lie here.
Got some girls to take my photo. I really may be the world's most awkward person in front of the camera in situations like this, but I preserved for my readers (bit presumptuous to call you that, but I'm rolling with it.)
I also got to go inside it! for a mere ¥20 you can enjoy that pleasure. Which really is a pleasure, it's fascinating to see how it's put together.

someone has to represent the deli in Japan.


Walked back through town for a bit, stopped for a 'Shaved Ice' aka snow cone. There are signs everywhere for these all over, and I just never really got why.
Now let me tell you why.
Because when it's eight million degrees and you've been walking in the hottest sun on earth (hotter than anywhere else, I swear to god) and you sit down and eat a bowl of ice flavoured with sickly sweet syrups it's the most delicious thing you have EVER had.
And they're all massive too, no pathetic one scoop for these snow cone eaters, no sir.
Just look at this horrible concoction of strawberry and lemon. Best ¥100 I've spend since I got here.

Continues walking until I became unsure of my exact whereabouts (look longer than normal, I'm quiet proud!) and jumped on a bus to go back to the station.

I didn't plan going to the various temples especially well, and I was tired of busses so I got back on the train and went one stop back toward Tokyo to, Kita-Kamakura. Got off the train and didn't cross the tracks. This is a terribly, terribly important point so don't forget it.

Now, my guidebook said that Engakuji Temple was a 'one minute' walk from the station. That normally means like, across the road. Super fucking close.

So I left the station, saw a sign for it with an arrow point right. Right pointing arrows in Japan apparently mean 'You were just really to where you need to be so just turn around and go back across those tracks and you will literally be at the entrance lalalalalala don't go right because there is nothing whatsoever of interest there'
But I didn't know that, so I walked right. For like, 12 blocks. Just through this random town.

Forever and a day later, I finally realise I've gone a done it. So I walk back.
Got back to my sign, though obviously I was now facing towards the tracks and not away from them. Massive sign, right on the other side.
Oh my god.

Went to the temple, for a while. Like, 3 hours.
Walked around through gardens and temples and statues and the most beautiful graveyard ever.

I also walked up about 8 flights of steep stairs to get to 'National Treasure'. I was, obviously, hoping Nicholas Cage had been sending my subliminal messages to get me there so we may adventure together, but no.

Alright view and a little cafe selling ridiculous overpriced…. snow cones! Someone is making a fortune though because after all those damn stairs I would have paid for a bowl of plain ice. I ordered a 'yuza' flavoured one, after being confidently assured it tasted 'just like grapefruit'.
Yeah, no. Tasted a fair bit like Limoncello. Which isn't my number 1 flavour at anytime, let alone when I want something refreshing and in the middle of the day.

it may look like ice with orange marmalade on top, but it was fully saturated with odd flavour.

Went back to the train and reversed my route there, got home and was actually for real hungry for the first time since I got here!
I was all set to make myself a sort of mexican meal with black beans and torillas… and that's it really.
But then I couldn't get the damn can opener to work. It's all weird and has a magnetic bit and a bit that you're meant to move and I dunno how.
I swear I am going to just go buy a normal one tomorrow of something.

In the end I ate spring rolls I got yesterday and watermelon, which is a bit less gourmet sounding (not at all, but humour me.) but was still delicious.

Now I'm going to go to bed because I have to get up at 5.30 to go to aikido and then gear myself up for my first day of work!

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