Posts Tagged gotemba
Today the Penpal had lunch plans with one of her friends and the freind’s daughter. Instead of tagging along, I decided to go off and have my own adventure.
It was a rainy day, but I stayed mostly dry thanks to some expert use of my umbrella. I’m only mentioning this because I live in Winnipeg where many people don’t own a single umbrella, and the usual response to rain is to stay inside or run while outside in hopes of not getting too wet. I felt a sense of accomplishment in being able to get to the station mostly dry in the rain.
I took a short ride to Numazu station, and walked towards the Bivi building on the north side. Bivi was built during my last year of teaching in Japan, and houses a movie theatre, internet / comic cafe, Game Center, and a bunch of restaurants. Many of the restaurants had changed since the last time I was in Numazu, but everything looked good. After making a quick loop around I was drawn in by the delicious smells coming from Ohsama No Curry.
A Canadian walks into an Indian restaurant in Japan sounds like the start to a bad joke, but it was actually the story of a good lunch. The lunch special had curry, a choice of nan bread or rice, salad, and a drink for just under 1000 yen. SOOOO GOOOD!
After lunch I made a visit to the Game Center and played whatever the newest version of Guitar Freaks is called before shooting some zombies and checking out the claw games. Most of the machines have cute anime characters as prizes, but one of them had something a bit different for “ladies day”.
I’m assuming by the picture in the background that these were actually hand massagers, which would be very useful after playing too many video games. It is possible that they may have some other uses as well.
No, I didn’t play this machine. If I want a “hand massager” I’ll buy it from a specialty shop instead of trying to win one in front of random strangers in a place frequented by teenagers.
I returned to Numazu station and took the Gotemba line towards Gotemba station at the foot of Mt. Fuji in the hopes of getting some pictures. Unfortunately the rain kept getting worse as the train climbed the mountain. By the time I reached Gotemba it was a total downpour. I managed to snap a few rainy pics from the station, but didn’t trust my prairie boy umbrella skills in rain that the Japanese people were avoiding.
My ride back down the mountain was delayed by 15 minutes due to weather. Delaying a train in Japan is NOT something taken lightly, so the weather must have been really bad. Instead of being lined up on the windy, rainy platform, everyone was politely lined up in the enclosed stairway leading to the platform. For the record, politely is the default way to line up anywhere in Japan.
I ended up getting home about the same time as The Penpal. We both went out for lunch, but had very different experiences. I may be biased, but I think mine was better. When you are on vacation, even a quick bite to eat and a train ride can be an adventure.
I am still off work after New Year, so once again I got to meet up with The Penpal. Today we went to Gotemba to meet one of her friends.
BTW – I have no idea why Gotemba is usually spelled with an “m”. In Japanese all of the consonant sounds except n have a vowel sound after them (ma, mi, mu, me, mo). Occasionally when there is an “n” sound in the middle of a word, it is written in English as an “m”. Technically the city name should be Gotenba, but since all of the major businesses use an M on their English signs, I will too.
Regardless of spelling, Gotemba is a small city on the east side of Mt. Fuji with some amazing views. It is famous as the home for a US military base and a giant outlet store. The Penpal and I met with her friend Saori, who does traditional Japanese dancing. We had some food and she told us about her recent trip to Uzbekistan.
Before talking to Saori I knew nothing about Uzbekistan, other than it existed and was near some other “stan” countries. Saori had developed a passion for the country, and had recently gone for sightseeing and to educate Uzbeks about Japanese culture. She loved the country so much, that she was planning to return, and had even found one of the few Uzbek speakers in the whole country of Japan to study the language.
It was interesting for us to learn about a country we hadn’t known about before. It’s also always fun to learn about what attracts people to learn about a new place. I originally became interested in Japan because all of my electronics and video games came were made here. When someone says they want to visit Uzbekistan, it’s always interesting to find out why.
I have now gotten to spend three days in a row with The Penpal on this holiday. I am really enjoying all the extra time we are getting together lately.