Travel Notes: Nagoya Weekend

Last weekend we visited Nagoya for the “2nd” time… meaning the first time we were in Nagoya we didn’t leave the train station and were only there for a couple hours. This time we were there for almost 48 hours!

Couchsurfing
After work Friday night, we left the car there at work (about 15 min walk from the train station, and got a quick ride to Takayama Station (bus & train station together) where we caught the 7pm [last] bus to Nagoya. We were scheduled to arrive at 9:50 but actually got in closer to 9:30. Nagoya station is huge and has buses, local trains, and Shinkansen trains (bullet trains) all in one massive station. We then walked to our hosts’ apartment building which was not too far from the station. We decided to couch surf for the weekend to meet more people and enjoy the city instead of hiding out in a hotel room and not experiencing the city as much. Our host met us just as we arrived and we agreed we were all ready for dinner so we met up with his friend and had some of Nagoya’s famous fried chicken wings (a little on the spicy side, but really good!) before heading to a local karaoke joint where we met up with his flat-mate. We had a good time and ended the night early Saturday morning.

Nagoya Shopping & People Watching
Saturday after a late breakfast we made our way to the fancy schmancy Sakae district and to the Apple store there (the main reason we needed to head to the city) to get a new computer battery. Almost all the employees there spoke english quite well, and lucky for us they had free wifi so we could see on our map where we were. Then we walked around for a while and did a little shopping looking around at stores that we like but don’t have in the US such as Beams, and now LOFT. LOFT is awesome, like a Target but no groceries and way more cuteness. In fact, I would say that just about everything they had for sale was practical and cute – there were about 6 floors of things ranging from makeup and shampoo to stickers to bento boxes and chop sticks, to furniture and bedding. I tried my best not to get carried away and luckily only left with some washi tape, special marker paper so the ink doesn’t bleed, and a single sheet of adorable lama stickers. We found a cool looking Kuma Cafe (Kuma is Japanese for Bear) so of course there were a lot of bears painted on the building and it looked pretty interesting. I was amazed at the vast array of bicycles I saw in Nagoya! 100 different colors and styles of bikes to fit the many different types of bike riders. We also took a break and had a lemon drink while doing some people-watching in a plaza under a highway. There was a group of probably 20 people riding trick bikes around and doing crazy tricks, and a group of about 25 or 30 people all doing a choreographed dance together.

Nagoya Cute Maid Cafe
Sunday we had some tasty pizza with our new friends and then walked around a market and spotted a hidden temple remains area tucked away underground from the market. We also stopped to watch a quick show at a sort of maid cafe, which is basically just a cafe but the waitresses are wearing maid costumes. This one had a super cute theme with cartoon aliens all over the walls and one of the girls playing guitar had pink hair and looked like a cartoon herself. The girls put on a show singing and playing guitar and played ‘Janken’ with the audience. Janken is Japanese for Rock, Paper, Scissor. The winner got a keychain with a matching ‘alien’. We also visited Starbucks in nagoya. Twice.

Then our quick trip was over and back to the bus and back to Takayama we went to prepare for our next week of work. As much as we like our town of Takayama… we do miss being surrounded by a bit city a bit.

Some pictures from the weekend are here on our Flickr!

We have just about 2 more weeks of work before we have a week of vacation! We are still debating what we will do during that time. If you’re not sure what couchsurfing is, keep an eye out – we’ll explain it another time. Or you can check out http://www.couchsurfing.org and read about it straight from the source!

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