On to Nagoya


And we are off

My first full day in Japan is complete. As usually I make mistakes but those mistakes always work out for the good. The time change has my body acting backward. I was able to sleep for about 5 hours. I got up at 5 am and started figuring out the trains to Nagoya. I popped open my pocket WiFi box and after 10 minutes of trying to figure out the password, my connection was ready to go. Around 8:40 am, I jumped on the train to Shinagawa Station to pickup my JR rail pass. I was sweating because of the humidity and walking several flights of subway steps. Then I realize I forgot something. So I got off after the first stop and headed back to my hotel. But the delay worked out in my favor. I would have arrived too early at the rail pass office which didn’t open until 10 am. Rather than an hour waiting in the busy Shinagawa Station, I only waited 15 minutes. During that time I meet a wonderful older group of four tourists from Canada visiting Japan for the first time.

  • Currency
  • Wednesday: Arrive in Tokyo
  • Thursday: Nagoya
  • Friday: Tokyo
  • Saturday: Tokyo
  • Sunday: Osaka
  • Monday: Osaka
  • Tuesday: Tokyo
  • Wednesday: Return Home

The Japanese staff were meticulous about time and worked like clockwork. By the time the office opened the line of people behind me had grown long. I was first in line and as a result it didn’t take long to get my rail pass. I was off and running to the Shinkansen bound for Nagoya at 10:40 am. The bullet trains are fast, quiet and on-time. The new rail pass worked like a charm. No longer are the days of waiting for the gate agent to inspect the pass for entrance. Just insert it like a normal ticket at the entrance and pick it up on the other end. The biggest rule for the rail pass is to remember to never use the trains marked “Nozomi” (のぞみ, hope). Nozomi is used for the faster trains. With the pass tourists ride the Hikari (ひかり, light) high-speed trains. The Japanese business men and women pack into the Nozomi trains. And we tourists are noticeable on the Hikari lines. With the rail pass you can reserve a seat using a kiosk or just get on find an available seat on the unreserved cars. If you are traveling without the pass, the prices are expensive and the ticket lines are long. The rail pass saves so much money. During this first day to Nagoya I saved $300 already. Never leave home for Japan without purchasing the JR Rail Pass of you plan to travel across the country.

Travel was efficient and lasted a little less than two hours to get from Tokyo to Nagoya. On the way, Mt Fuji was concealed by the cloudy sky which is often the case. When riding the Shinkansen, i is always a good idea to carry snacks and music for the trek. An attendant will pass through each car with goodies. Hold on to your ticket in case of inspection. It’s easy to fall asleep because the ride is so smooth. But the voice of the stop announcer keeps dozing riders of the upcoming stops in English as well as in Japanese.

Nagoya has all the memories I wanted to relive. It was the good old days from ten years ago when I lived here. Today was a cloudy day with periods of heavy rainy like a typical day in Nagoya. But so much fun can be had above and underground below Nagoya Station with its 15-store shopping mall above and long-winding shopping malls below. They’re are shops and restaurants everywhere. I spent most of my day inside. I had a couple issues that I need to address right away upon arrival. My new shoes have been uncomfortable and I needed a belt. It’s tough to find large sizes in Japan. But a sweet Japanese shopkeeper assisted me with sizing a belt that worked out great. Then a young sneaker shopkeeper helped me to find the largest sizes they had in stock but no luck. But I found some padding to fix my shoe problem. Before heading to my hotel I went to one of my favorite restaurants on the 12th floor above Nagoya Station. I got a delicious 10-vegetable salad and a personal-size margarita pizza.

With those issues settled I headed to my hotel. After a brief ride on the yellow Higashiyama Line I arrived and I was surprise. My hotel is located across the street from the iconic Nagoya TV Tower. Godzilla fans know and love this tower. Godzilla destroy this tv tower in 1964 on his way to his first and only defeat against Mothra in Mothra vs Godzilla. Every Saturday I walked here like Godzilla for eighteen weeks back in 2014. And there the tower was greeted me as I emerged from the station. My hotel room was perfect. After check-in and a 15 minute rest I headed out to my favorite shopping streets in Osu Kannon Temple. And it didn’t disappoint.

For the last couple years I have had the best dreams of my life. I have recurring dreams of going to Japan, walking through the streets to Godzilla stores where I find new figures right before waking up. And I don’t lie, today I was so overwhelmed by daja vu as I walked through the temple area and around the streets along my regular Nagoya walk to Mandarake. It was literally my dream come true. My brain and dreams some how took bits and pieces of these real locations and streets such that I felt like I was dreaming today.

My first stop was Mandarake! As usual I headed up the escalator to the second floor where Godzilla and tokusatsu rule. And I found so many goodies but I left with only figure! It was a great price especially with the strength of the US dollar. I saved additional money because Mandarake is a duty-free shop. I can’t show it until I get home and take a photo! There was a great remote-control Godzilla 1989 for only $400. Tempting as it was my better angels prevailed. The box was huge. I left a lot there. But there are so more many great shops left to visit on the trip. So I can’t go crazy shopping in the first. Next stop was Jungle. It was full of recent and older X-Plus Godzilla figures and had a cool line up of CCP Ultraman figures. From there I went to Kids Land and to Volks before heading back to my room. Rain nor fatigue put a damper on today. Walking the streets of Nagoya was medicine to my homesick soul.

Tomorrow before taking my journey to my first secret location I will stow my packages in a footlocker in Nagoya Station. Friday is supposed to be rain free. My train ride will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes. This is a special place and a sacred place. My great friend John hooked me up with his awesome camera that’s perfect for this experience. But I want share any of my photos and video until I return from my trip. There are three sites I want to see here. The second and third require another hour long bus ride. I can’t wait! Upon my return to Nagoya Station I will take a quick walk to the seminar and my old apartment. Along the way I will take video and snap some more photos if weather permitting.

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