Oct 13, 2013

A Week in Nagoya: The Best City in Japan

The best city in Japan, or at least we think so.

The bus ride back from the Nagoya waterpark!!

The waterpark outside Nagoya is located over a natural hotsprings, so the water is warm and salty. It was so fun to swim, splash, and ride rafts down dark tunnels on such a hot summer day. The best part was watching people wipe out (myself included) on the "vortex," a wide slide you spin around like a drain.

Nagoya Castle

The entrance to Nagoya-jo (Nagoya Castle)

A model of the kinshachihoko - one of two gold lion-dolphins that protect the roof of Nagoya-jo from wind and fire.

A samurai's helmet, from Nagoya Castle Museum.

A katana (sword) from Nagoya Castle Museum.

In this fusuma (sliding door) design, a tiger and a leopard watch their cub. In olden times, the Japanese thought tigers were male and leopards were female, thus the pairing. They never saw tigers firsthand because they don't exist in Japan (except the Hanshin Tigers baseball team, below).

The buildings clustered around Nagoya Castle were the actual residences of the feudal lords. The castle itself was a keep in times of war. These palaces were destroyed during WWII firebombing, and only recently rebuilt. Our tour group was one of the first to walk through these reconstructed halls, finished just this year (above). The wood is made from cedar, and the smell is sweet and strong.

After the tour, our guides taught us a traditional Obon dance, including the meaning of each movement. (note: photo taken by Nagoya Castle's English Tour Guides)

A build-your-own-car-with-giant-legos game inside a 220+ shop mega-mall.


Himakajima - an island south of Nagoya where we bicycled around the hilly perimeter twice in the blazing heat, ate ice cream that melted as soon as it was in the cone, and then went swimming in the sea. We raced across a series of giant plastic buoys. A little kid whizzed back and forth on it like it was nothing, while we fell every time. We had some gnarly bruises to show for it, too. It was worth it.

The Chunichi Dragons Baseball Game

A Chunichi Dragons baseball game at Nagoya Dome. The baseball diamond was smaller than the average American-sized field, and was mostly grass instead of sand. The Dragons scored a few home runs, but ultimately lost to the Hanshin Tigers.

And a disturbing note: the child cheerleaders and blue koala mascot on the field. First off, Japan, your predisposition to child idolization is creepy. Second, your baseball team is called the Chunichi DRAGONS! You could have had a cool mascot, why did you go with a koala? Shakin' my head.

Mr. C recommends you watch the movie Mr. Baseball (1992). It's about an American ballplayer who comes to Japan to revitalize his career, and the cultural blunders and head-butting that comes from it. The baseball team Tom Selek comes to play for is the Chunichi Dragons.


Thank you Nagoya, you were awesome!!! I can't wait to go again (with you, Chrissy!)


No comments:

Post a Comment