Monday, February 2, 2009

Nagasaki

 The trip to Nagasaki began with my first ride on the Shinkansen.
And a strawberry, cheese and honey sandwich made by a Welshman. 
Nagasaki is a beautiful, hilly city, vaguely reminiscent of SF and trying its best (for the sake of tourism) to cling on to its heritage of having had contact with foreigners while the rest of Japan was under government regulated contact with the outside world for a couple hundred years. 
There was wine to be had in a funny tower overlooking the city.

Sky cable cars to ride up the hill to the lookout tower and the wine.

The Glover Gardens.  Some sort of historic (historic because its association with Nagasaki's foreign trading community) house and garden owned by some Dutch?Scottish? trader from the mid 19th century.  We started seeing lots of people dressed in funny versions of 19th century garb and found that for $5 you could be dressed in period attire and walk around the gardens for half an hour.  And why not, right?
So don't worry, this isn't me turning into some kind of Ren Fair looney in a Japan-induced mental breakdown.  Haha, why do I always find myself in situations where I am drawing even more attention to myself as a foreigner when I already get enough?!  This strapping sailor and I strolled the gardens and found out that that if there is one thing that Japanese people love more than dressing up in funny costumes, it is seeing foreigners dressed up in funny costumes and we became instantly famous.
These two girls who absolutely crying with delight at seeing two foreigners dressed in these odd semblances of period outfits.  Having Japanese girls scream over us at every turn of the garden, it really was a moment of, "ah, so this is what the Beatles must have felt like."  Ate it up with a spoon and many celebrity style photographs.

Garden-goers.
And in true Japanese form, there were escalators to ease your journey on the steep ascent up the hill.

Shrines on a hill!
High school kids run up and down the stairs of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.
The atomic bomb epicenter memorial.
Epicenter of the bomb explosion + monolith.
Our trip coincided with Nagasaki's Lantern Festival, a big celebration of Chinese New Year.  So there were parades, and lots of lanterns everywhere and we wandered the streets following the lanterns and feeling very much like it should have been a summer night. 
Steam buns! Delicious, delicious steam buns!
People were wild for them!

In a Chinese temple: I have no idea what this was about.  Apparently pig decapitation is a felicitous way to ring in the New Year.

1 comment:

vanessa said...

lord kelly, sometimes i swear you are living a white girl fairytale dream over there in j-town. i changed my desktop background into the photo of you two being celebs in the mural garden, and now every time i see it i will be green with envy.

love.