Ohayo Gozaimass Japan!
Nagoya City to be specific. We have arrived to our new country of posting. It is very Japanese! Everything is written in Kanji among other types of Japanese writing. Luckily enough some directions such as subways, major road names are also written with its Romaji conversion. I feel it is very essential to learn, at least the conversational level, to get yourself understood (thanks to iPhone’s translation app) otherwise it’s difficult. Nagoya City is Japan’s fourth largest city and an industrial centre. It is also the capital of Aichi Prefecture.
On the positive note, oh yes there is a positive side and lots of it! The Japanese people are very friendly and helpful. The city is clean and the food…yummy! When I walked around to explore the culinary scene, I felt embarrassed with my limited knowledge of the Japanese cuisine. My Japanese food experience was limited to sushi, sashimi, shabu-shabu, gyoza and tempura. They use so much fresh ingredients in their cooking, others I thought to have been decorative, here they use almost everything. When you are hungry you will be spoilt for choice from the hole-in-the-wall noodle stops, vending machines, bento boxes as well as specialty restaurants. It’s ideal to have someone introduce you to the flavours of Japan and the (very) traditional Japanese meal, otherwise you would feel disheartened, as we have been, on one occasion when the waiter refused to serve us as we did not speak the lingo.
As an introduction to our experience in Japan here are some snaps from our neighbourhood.
This is our backyard, the science museum (also known as the Brother Earth Planetarium) and the art museum are within the Shirakawa Park. It’s a very spacious park frequented by school children and young couples.
A couple of blocks from where we live is the shopping district of central Nagoya – Sakae. All around the area are old street cafes and restaurants rubbing elbows with the more upmarket malls.
I cannot get enough of the colourful restaurants, they are so beautiful! Here are a few of them.
We have also moved into our new apartment recently. As I mentioned above, everything being in Japanese, we had a couple of hours’ orientation around our new place (and how everything worked) from the mail box(es) to the colour-coded rubbish system. Our real estate agent have been kind enough to label everything in english to minimise confusion and accidentally burning the place down!
Travelling around Nagoya is not that hard. The subway system is easy and organised, although I haven’t dared the bus system. Going interstate is also speedy, especially with the bullet trains – 50 minutes to Osaka or 1 hour and 40 minutes from Tokyo.
There is so much to know about Japan and I will continue to enjoy my experiences here in our new country of residence.
Once again the sun sets in a different part of the world…this time in Nagoya City, Japan.
And the city wakes up with its neon lights.