Thursday, April 26, 2007

Japan - Day 3 - Kamakura and Chigasaki

The next day, I was supposed to go to Kamakura with Mitsue, a Japanese woman that I met when doing the "camino de Santiago" (check the corresponding post). I got up early and bought my breakfast in a 7-Eleven, a slice of pizza that I heat up in the microwave and some buns. Then, I went to the Minami-Senju train station where I took a train to Nippori, so I could change to the Yamanote line for Tokyo station and then change for another line to Ofuna, the place where I was supposed to meet Mitsue. It wasn't an easy job to be in Ofuna at 10:00 in the morning from Tokyo. At first, I thought I could not make it because it was the rush hour and thousands of Japanese were crowding the trains. But, while I was waiting in Nippori for the Yamanote line (completely scared of being squashed by the officers in charge of pushing people in the train! ;D) , by chance, I saw another train with destination Ofuna. I got in and, altough it was a local train ("futsuu densha") that made a stop at every station of the route, I was right and I managed to make it before 10:00. (Note: to survive in the Japanese train and metro system is quite easy because there are lots of signs ("kanban") both in Japanese and English. I have taken lots and lots of trains there and I didn't make a mistake with any of them)

While I was waiting for Mitsue in the Kamakura station, I saw some tramps taking out from the train and from the rubbish some Mangas. This Mangas (the name for Comic in Japan) are thick magazines made of bad quality paper and
full of comics. I saw lots of Japanese people reading them in the train and then throwing it or leaving it in the train so another person can read it again. These tramps then sell the mangas for very low prices either in the streets (as I saw in Shinjuku) or in special stores for used books (I saw several shops like this and you could buy lots of comics, books or even video at very low prices!).

Finally, I met Mitsue and we took another train to Kamakura. We decided to get off in the north of kamakura, Kita-Kamakura and do a short walk through a mountain path to Kamakura. Kamakura was a turistical place with lots of souvenir (omiyage) shops because it has a lot of history and important temples. Mitsue showed me the way of washing your hands in these templos (there is a small ritual for that) and another ritual that consisted of throwing a coin to the temple, then clap two times and pray.

After doing sightseeing, we went to have lunch in a Ramen restaurant. It was very funny to see that the restaurant was very very narrow. We had to wait a little bit outside so a couple finished and then we went in. You have to it your noodles (ramen) very fast because it is hot and there is a queue outside waiting for you to finish!! haha!

When we went out of the ramen restaurant there was a light rain and as I was a bit tired we decided to go to visit Mitsue's parents. They lived in a very nice area that reminded me of some Anime (Japanese cartoons) series. I even heard the typical sound of the bell when the school finishes that appears in a lot of Anime series (I also heard the finish sound of the factories, the next day).

I was very surprised of the GREAT dinner that they had prepared for me. Everything was delicious and I was able to taste real homemade japanese food of all kinds. Tenpura, several types of Sushi, Take (bamboo), Sashimi (raw fish)... Both Mitsue and her parents were SO NICE that I couldn't believe it. I would like to send them a big THANK YOU again for everything. Thank god I didn't forget to take some presents for them: a guide of the Camino de Santiago del Norte (so Mitsue can do it and visit Santander someday!), a typical spanish hand painted fan and some pastry from Cantabria.

After having dinner with her parents we took a train to Mitsue's home which was in Chigasaki, not too far from its parents'. In Chigasaki Mitsue showed me some shops of used manga, where people were reading them for free. There were also a lot of 24h stores. To finish off a great Japanese day Mitsue prepared me a bath, called O-Furo, which is useful to warm up your body before going to bed. The idea is that you have a shower and you wash yourself outside of the bath and then you enter to this warm water and have your body warmed up. In the next picture you can see an ofuro from the hotel I went to in Hakone (see next post).

After the O-Furo I planned my next day with the help of Mitsue and Google Earth, and then I went to sleep in a Futon (the Japanese style beds).

1 comment:

frkgm966 said...

Hi! Daniel
I was very happy!!!
Thank you for Daniel's coming to Japan. My parents have spoken with the foreigner in them life first time. They said that Daniel is very nice personality and we were very happy!!!
Kinkonkankon♪ rings in the school and some companies at the start and the last
time. It is amusing.
Kamakura's ramen shop called "Hirano"that is delicious and famous. There is fully a person always.
Japan's southern island (Okinawa,Yakushima,Amamioshima) is wonderful. Please come to Japan again. And, please come to Chigasaki again.
I should study Spanish. And, I want to go to Camino Norte.
See you in spein! Mitsue