Sunday, January 28

Matsumoto At Last

Joseph and "USA?" (guy at the left), who later took our group picture, in front of Matsumoto Castle.

Due to the pressure from a couple of hecklers, here I am posting, after having spent the morning trying to get the gumption. I actually have a couple of weekends to talk about, but of course I'll start with the oldest... Last weekend.

Melissa and I, ready for a short getaway, day-tripped it on out of here up to Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture. It took about an hour and a half in the AR-J whose only offerings of music came in the form of shared iPod buds. "Why don't you get a car adapter?" I can hear you asking me to yourself. Well, in order to use an adapter, one needs either a tape deck or FM radio, of which I have neither. So there you are. At any rate, the buds were fine, with the exception of some otic hurtiness by the end of the trip.

So, first stop in Matsumoto was parking. We arrived sans map, and only signs to direct us towards train stations and castles. Well, two trains stations and one castle. Let it suffice to say that it took us longer to figure out where to park (after several loop-de-loops) than it did to actually tour the castle. No joke.

Tickets to Matsumoto Castle

Admission to the castle was 400 yen. We went in, removed our shoes, which we tucked neatly into the supplied plastic bag (which I can only imagine was thrown away later after we returned it on the way out), slid on the typical "welcome to our school/museum/castle" pleather slippers and were on our way.

How many other people will have this same picture?
I know Melissa does...

I have no pictures from inside the castle because A.) it was too dark and B.) it really wasn't that interesting. The most fun we had was trying to climb the castle stairs while trying to keep our pleather slippers on our feet and while carrying our purses and shoes-in-a-bag. No falling to be reported, sorry Mom and Todd. I also didn't even get to see the 4th floor because halfway up, a family with three young kids in snowsuits started coming down. Being the polite foreigner that I am, I backtracked down the stairs to give them more room. After each "last" person in a group would step off the last stair, the tell-tale shadow at the top would appear, as a new group of folks would start their way down. Finally the last shadow appeared, and lo, it was Melissa wondering what had happened to me.

Made it!
I was actually trying to do something with the railing and shadows, but this little girl is even better!

Melissa, Joseph and I having our picture taken by "USA?"

After the castle we headed out for some kitsune soba, which was delicious, along with the sobacha (tea), then did some more loop-de-loops to try to find the "period" looking section along the river that we'd spotted on the way in. Enjoyed the little souvenir and antique shops and some coffee and bread at a cafe on Kaeru Street (because you can buy "kaeru" and return "kaeru" safely and easily. It also means frog, so there were frogs aplenty!) and then homeward.

The Hooded Slurper
Sans hairband, Melissa gets resourceful when eating her soba.

Joseph enjoys some delicious soba-cha.


Blogger Melissa said...

hurtiness...My ears were sore-ified for like 3 days after!
But that hurtiness can be nothing compared to the true painification brought about by the introduction of pleather house slippers in mid 20th century Japan...

10:56 AM

Blogger Todd said...

While your story was interesting in its own right, having Joseph there really brought it together for me.

Also, I'm glad you clarified the iPod situation, since I seem to remember some caring brother of yours providing you with a converter. It sounds like you need a ghetto blaster in the ride.

WV: sjondh - slang for a short jaunt. Boy, this was a weak one.

5:23 AM

Blogger Abbey said...

Yes, my handy converter has come in handy at school sometimes when I haven't got a CD.

As for the WV, I've decided it's best to only try when inspired. Although the High A Fanner put a chuckle in my oven.

6:38 AM


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