I woke up early (rare for a day off) and set out for Numazu to check out my new neighbourhood. The Penpal had found my apartment and wanted to show me the area.
I took the usual route of Odakyu line to Odawara followed by Tokaido line to Numazu. The Penpal met me at Numazu station and drove me by my new apartment. It is a five story building called “Ooka City Plaza” only a few minutes away from the station by car. I guess it will take about 15 minutes on foot to walk to the station. Directly across the street from City Plaza is a small supermarket and a 7-11. City Plaza is also conveniently located near a big Seiyu store.
Wal-Mart has been trying to break into the Japanese market for years, but it’s hard to find the space to build their big sprawling stores. Wal-Mart bought a large ownership stake in Seiyu in 2002. The Numazu Seiyu is an experiment – the store is almost exactly like any Wal-Mart you would find in Canada or the US with three differences; the name, McDonalds has been replaced by a generic fast food counter that serves pizza and pasta, and the parking lot is on the roof to save space. The layout of the store is exactly the same as Wal-Marts back home, and the rollback smiley face is everywhere.
The roof parking is fun because there is a giant conveyor belt ramp from the main floor to allow easy transportation of fully loaded shopping carts. Naturally as a mature, responsible adult I couldn’t resist and played on the conveyor like a 6 year old.
After checking out my new neighbourhood, we got back in the car and headed towards a place called Niji-no-Sato (Rainbow country) in Shuzenji. There are outdoor gardens, and small villages modeled after Canada and Great Britain. It took a few hours in gridlocked traffic to get there. When we finally arrived, we saw a big sign on the gate informing us that it was closed due to damage from yesterday’s typhoon. Stupid typhoon!
At least The Penpal and I got to hang out and spend some time together. I am really looking forward to moving into my new city!