A Weekend of Firsts

Sorry about delay with the Kanazawa report, everybody, things have been a little psycho here lately.

As most of you probably remember, I was headed to Kanazawa, Ishikawa on the 3rd to stay with my friend Allie for the long weekend. It was really quite the trip and a lot more eventful than I had imagined it would be!

So, where to start? Friday night was mostly just a dizzying attempt to find my bus. They really need to give better directions to the meeting places for those things (like specifying that the meeting place wasn’t actually AT Shinjuku Station, although the ticket said the departure was from Shinjuku Station =____=). But a woman looking to work on her English came to me like an angel and helped me find my bus. The bus that I then sat on overnight to get to Kanazawa…  I do think that I managed to get some sleep, since it didn’t feel like an eight-hour bus ride.

And then I was in Kanazawa!

After a much-needed nap at Allie’s, we headed out to one of Kanazawa’s most famous spots; Kenrokuen Park! It really was beautiful, even in the sweltering heat. The ponds were filled with monstrous koi, one of which spooked Allie and I as it swam towards us, creating a huge wake. It looked like a monster! From the park, we headed to the palace, which was sadly closed off that weekend. It was also seemingly guarded by a massive swarm of ravens, which had me thoroughly creeped out. Japanese ravens are an extra third larger than Canadian crows, have curved beaks, and actually attack people from time to time >< So when I saw this, I wasn’t eager to approach…

Yikes.

We also went to the Modern Art museum, which hosted a rather strange exhibit. Titled Good House, Nice Body, it was in two parts; one inside the main museum and one in a side building. In one inside the museum consisted a the wooden frame of a Japanese style house along with projections that were shone down onto it of people moving about the house and living their lives, only showing where their bodied made contact with surfaces (mostly foot prints), which had an accompanying track of their overlapping voices and conversation. It was really interesting, though a little freaky, and seemed to address the character of a home and how it evolves through out its life, taking in the memories of everyone from the person that built it to the last person to live inside. The second part of the exhibit was a strangely built home that you could travel through, which featured a second story glass floor. Allie when down to the main floor and took a photo of me standing on the second.I look like I’m floating! I’d also like to specify that I’m wearing shorts under that skirt.

We also went to the old geisha district in Kanazawa and went on a tour of a geisha house, which was absolutely beautiful. It had a small inner garden which Allie and I just sat and admired for quite a while. I’d love to show pictures, but there was no photography allowed.

From ancient shrines and gardens to modern shopping districts, Kanazawa was a great trip. ^^ Alli was a great host, and introduced me to omurice, okonomiyaki, and yakiniku, which were all so delicious, I’m still having cravings! However, there was one hiccup. I saw my first two cockroaches in Kanazawa; one in Allie’s kitchen and the other on the wall of a restaurant. I was thoroughly grossed out by both, but cockroaches are common in Japan. *shudders* At least I didn’t scream >>

Yet as I was preparing for my last day in Kanazawa, I got an email from my employers saying that I could take Tuesday off as well if I so chose. As it was still Sunday night, that meant that I had two days vacation left, Allie working both of them. So, after asking around a little… I hit the road for Kyoto! That’s right, I took a spontaneous adventure to a city I have never been. Wow, my life’s changed. After ridding the four-hour bus to Kyoto from Kanazawa, I checked into a hostel and wandered the streets of Gion! I walked for hours along the old temples and geisha houses, which are absolutely beautiful at night (you can see pictures in my Image Shack gallery).

On Tuesday, I headed out to Arashiyama to hit up the Toei Eigamura, an old film studio for samurai movies turned attraction park. It was pretty fun, I got to walk around the models of old Japan and actually see a movie being shot while I was there. I went into a haunted house, which taught me that I don’t scream, I exhale loudly like I’ve been holding my breath.

After the movie museum, I hiked up a mountain to the Iwatayama monkey park, a mountain where over 150 wild monkeys live.  Each monkey has a name and its birthdate is known, and if you hike to the top of the mountain you can feed them through the holes in a caged room (you’re in the cage, not the monkeys) like so…

It was really interesting, and something I know my mom would have loved. The baby monkeys were so cute!

Sadly, after the monkey park, I had to head for home. The Shinkansen from Kyoto to Tokyo only takes two hours, but I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got home. It was a great trip, but I was bushed.

In reference to the title, however, this was a trip of many firsts for me, and they are as follows;

– First time traveling to Kanazawa and Kyoto
– First time trying okonomiyaki, yakiniku, and omurice
– First time cooking my own food at a restaurant (okonomiyaki)
– First time traveling entirely by myself
– First spontaneous trip
– First time staying in a hostel
– First time taking a shinkansen (bullet train)
– First time seeing a cockroach (ew)

I’m sure there will be many more firsts over the next year and I’m excited to experience them all! I’ll update again soon ^^

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Holly
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 06:20:14

    OKONOMIYAKI!!!!

    Reply

  2. Jessie
    Oct 18, 2010 @ 22:03:08

    Genna-bon, I found you in a Big Bang video.

    IT’S SO CREEPY.

    Reply

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