Monday, June 29, 2009

Japan Trip - Day 1 - Nagasaki

Our first full day in Japan (Saturday, June 20) was mostly spent on a train. We woke up in Tokyo, had a quick breakfast, and headed for Tokyo Station. The subway in Tokyo is surprisingly easy to use and understand, and with our JR Passes, we could get on the main subway line for free.

The ride to Nagasaki started at 8:03am. We had to switch trains twice, but all three were the super fast Shinkansen (Bullet trains) and were very comfortable. My mom and I listed to Japanese Language podcasts on during the trip, to tried to learn as much as possible in a few hours. I think we got "Good morning," "Good day," "Good night," "Thank you," "I'm sorry," and "I don't understand," which is a pretty good start. We didn't have time to stop for lunch, so we tried our luck at various Japanese snacks.

At about 5pm, we arrived in Nagasaki, and my cousin, Drew, was there to meet us. Drew is studying abroad at a University in Nagasaki, and has been there for a few months now. He's fluent in Japanese, which is much more useful than just the six phrases we'd learned on the train. Our first stop was at a restaurant for dinner.

The restaurant was Takoyakijo - a restaurant that specializes in Takoyaki. Takoyaki is octopus and some cabbage cooked inside balls of dough. The sign for the restaurant has a picture of an octopus cooking Takoyaki and looking very worried.

They bring the batter to your table and you do most of the cooking yourself. Drew and I each ordered that for dinner, though everyone tried a little.

My mom ordered a noodle dish, and Mamie ordered something that was like a layered pancake.

After dinner, we headed to Kiyoko's house. Kiyoko had been Drew's host mom during the first half of his stay in Nagasaki, and she had invited us to stay with her while we were in town. We spent some time visiting with her, gave her the small gift/souveniers we'd brought her from each of our home states, and had some snacks. (I tried raw squid for the first time!) At the end of the night Drew headed home and we tried to get some rest for our first big day of sight-seeing.

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