For these posts in Japan I actually wrote the bulk of the text during downtime (train/plane/bus journeys and late evenings mostly) so I could have a nice way to properly look back on my honeymoon.
Is this actually day one? I don’t know anymore. In order to get from the flat to the hotel in Hiroshima there were six different legs to the journey (2 by plane, 2 by bus, 1 by train and 1 by metro) which added up to 21 hours of travel time before I plonked myself on the mattress here in the Sheraton Hiroshima.
So okay, this is really 2 days, but apart from a few naps this has pretty been one continuous day.
Aside from watching Inside Out and Back to the Future and listening to three albums worth of Sigur Ros on the flight between Heathrow and Tokyo Haneda the journey to Japan was not too eventful. It was hubby’s first long-haul flight and, due to my insistence of seeing the shrine at Miyajima, a connecting flight to Hiroshima was needed.
We did, however, watch the sunrise together. It was spectacular.
I know it is a stereotype that all westerners know, but I have to say that, upon landing in Tokyo, I was amazed at the number of employees bowing at us as we made our way through the airport. Also, just how incredibly helpful all the staff we have encountered so far have been.
Case in point is this photo of Mt Fuji. I took it from the flight between Tokyo and Hiroshima. Being the only white people on this flight we horrendously stood out as tourists. I mean as a 6’3″ man with red hair and a tyre around the waist I am used to stand out in a crowd, but it is rather homogeneous here so I just plain stand out. Anyway, this is a roundabout way of explaining how a stewardess on the flight came over to us on the flight and showed us to an empty row of seats on the other side of the plane. Now, it doesn’t happen often that my breath is taken from me, but this is one of the times. The picture can not do justice to what I saw.
Also, on the flight I managed through sheer luck to grab a sweet that was flavoured with a list fruit. At first I assumed that acerola was just the romanisation for the Japanese word for cherry. It would make sense since this tasted like a sweetened sour cherry. However, it turns out that this fruit flavour was something different.
Fast forwarding now to after we woke up from a much needed two hour nap in our hotel. We start to explore Hiroshima. The sheer number of vending machines and 7-elevens surprise me. What surprises me more is how cheap the bottles of drink are. They are less than £1 each from the vending machines (even those in the airport), something which astounds me.
So, with rice balls in hand and with cheap bottles of Coke Zero we just wandered the streets for a few hours. A lot of time was spent looking in some of the numerous malls/department stores that are just dotted around the place. They are a full blown assault on the senses with cartoon mascots, overlapping announcements, large food sections and just so many cute things on display. Being that we are close to Halloween… well I may have seen more cute ghosts in an afternoon than most Brits probably see in a lifetime.
We also saw a lot of ‘Carp’ merchandise. I thought it was some sort of anime that really hit it off, but later found out that it is the local baseball team. Slightly disappointing really.
List item: Try oysters
So, dinner. And what a delicious introduction to Japanese food it was. A cut steak deep fried oyster set meal with natto ordered as a side. We got it from a place called Yayoiken Tatemachi and, for someone who has never touched an oyster before, I wish I had ordered the oyster meal instead of the oyster and steak meal. The breaded oysters were crispy and creamy with a hint of sweetness. They were even better when dipped in the supplied tartare sauce. Whilst I am here in Hiroshima I think I am going to seek out more oysters unless something even better comes along.
The natto, on the other hand, was bitter and after I finished eating it there was a feeling that I was covered in spider webs. Very strange for something that can be a breakfast food.
As I finish off, we have switched the TV onto a rather weird Japanese show which is just people reacting to cat videos. Why? It’s Japan.