Monday, August 3, 2009

Day one in Matsumoto

I've had the loveliest day. Eaten random food (eel sushi, and NUT sushi, which was far stranger) and consumed strange drinks with abandon. Pseudo-shopped (that's where you don't buy anything) at the Japanese equivalent of David Jones, which is unhelpfully located a block away from my hotel, blitzed out at the 100 yen shop; lots and lots of patterned origami paper and Hello Kitty STUFF and generally recognisably Japanese stuff. Seem also to have lost my ability to type somewhere along the way...typos! ArgH!

Have learnt that when it comes to directions I'm a strictly kinesthetic learner. Unless I pound the pavements for myself, occasionally getting lost and very occasionally getting distracted by shiny things, I don't get anywhere.

However, the crap thing about getting distracted here is that it's all completely uneconomic. In Melbourne a unique little store will be mostly overpriced, but things will be on SALE and they will be of happy-making price. Here? Hm. On sale and hang on, let me divide by 69....NOPE. Still more than I'd like to spend on a night's accommodation, let alone a garment. That's probably why I was SO very happy to discover the 100 yen shop. What else?

Ooh, did something touristy, visited Matsumoto Castle. (600 Y)The best part is that you can walk around inside it. So climbed up and down all the stairs (very steep; ballerina duck feet handy for SOMETHING) and marvelled at the 400-year-oldness of the place. As you go in you're given a plastic bag for your shoes and so everyone wanders about in socks or bare feet (mostly bare feet; today's weather 36C) along these amazingly polished wooden floors; originally lacquered black, so you can see the wear of knees at the apertures designed for firing arrows upon the enemy. Very cool. Left channeling my inner (inner?) ninja.

Ate ice-cream from a vending machine (you can buy ANYTHING from vending machines here!) and wandered. That pretty much sums up my whole day. Just getting to grips with the coinage! (A little tricky when you have a 500Y coin; brain says "Hello small shiny silver thing, you must be the equivalent to a dollar" or something like that... and then you stop to do the math. Hmmm. $7.24. Awesome. Not complicated at all. I wish this was Bali. Then everything would be super cheap. Sigh. Time for bed. I had a whole three? hours sleep this morning. I think it's starting (!) to show.

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