I’m sat on the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) writing this… a first I would say! Just arriving at Okayama as I start… this is a bit of a quick train!
As you will see from my flurry of post’s yesterday evening (or afternoon in the UK!) I’m here, I’m not jet lagged and I’m getting used to it!
Not to over romanticize it, but ever since I’ve arrived, every woman who I’ve spoken to has mentioned its cherry blossom season. Even the stewardess on the plane who I got talking to told me about it… looking back at the photos of the first day, it explains this (which is a typical sight):
And that wasn’t the first lights I saw… the locals seem to like neon and bright lights (as expected):
I spent a few hours of wondering around underground shopping centres, which run like massive labyrinths beneath the city! There is a whole second city down there! Shops and all. Generally they are found near rail stations, linking them all together.
The language barrier is a bit troubling but generally I’m getting away with pointing and smiling if I want something. Which I had to do when getting some food for the first time! I ended up with some nice chicken bites and rice parcel things that were hard to open.
Eventually I headed to Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi station and met Janet, who is putting me up in her place at the weekends! Amazingly, we realized it had been a year since we had seen each other! Wow!
After I broke the no shoes in the house whatsoever rule about 3 times, we headed out and had dinner back in Umeda with a few of her friends. Takoyaki is tasty to eat but difficult to prepare! Basically you make it yourself at your table in hot plates. It comes like pancake mix and then you sort of stir it (with a spike) into balls… tricky.
We then headed to an Irish pub (12000 miles and I wound up in an Irish pub! Ivor: your toes would curl)!
It was fantastic though, a great mix of travellers and expats! We had a blast and even met Janet’s headmaster (Janet is teaching English over here). Janet was fine about it but her 2 friends legged it out the door as soon as he came anywhere close! Hahaha!
Did I mention that they can smoke in bars over here? I miss the UK/Canada where that isn’t allowed! On the Shinkasen, I’m sat in a carriage that was formerly a smoking car… smells nasty!
Ok, I’m going to continue writing this on the WordPress interface as I want some quiet time and have free WiFi