Previously: We visited the nearby city Tokushima and had convey belt sushi.
Since I landing a couple days ago, a sickness had been creeping up on me: my voice was hoarse and my nose was stuffy. By November 5th, I had a full-blown cold.
Jessica was rebounding from her own flu-bug, but we both agreed to take it easy that Saturday. Besides, my luggage had a scheduled delivery for between 2 and 5pm, so I wanted to be in the apartment during that time.
Thus, we had a small day planned.
We started with another quick tour of Naruto, this time passing by the schools Jessica worked at. Nearby ‘the nice middle school,’ was a ramen shop she visited with her coworkers. It was a traditional type of restaurant where the menu hung from the wall.
Because Jessica had a much better understanding of the Japanese language, she ordered for me. I got a meat bowl – apparently the extra meat one because there was more beef than noodles.
I don’t know if all traditional ramen places do this, but when ordering we got a little colour-based token. We took a seat and were given glasses of water. A few minutes later, we were served the ramen and our tokens were taken. I understand that the tokens helped keep orders in check, but it seemed like a weird system to me. Better than numbers though, since I wouldn’t be able to distinguish my order.
Oh! I’ll also briefly mention that on our way to this restaurant we passed by a woman walking her Shiba Inu and I really wanted to pet it, but I respected that not all pet owners are cool with that. We just, kinda said hi to the lady and the dog. Sadly, I never got to pet a Shiba on the trip.
Our big stop of the day was Ōnaruto bridge, the same bridge I came in on via bus.
Ōnaruto bridge, and the town of Naruto overall, is known for whirlpools. Big, tourist attraction, whirlpools that situate right under the bridge. They even have an observation deck to look at them directly from above.
Being November, however, it wasn’t the season for them. Sure, there was movement in the water, but it wasn’t the best it could be, so we opted to just observe from afar.
The Ōnaruto Bridge Museum and Eska Hill and on the top of a mountain with roads that twist and wind at a surprisingly steep angle. Since it was the weekend, there were a lot of tour buses of elderly groups. Again, I gotta appreciate the internal tourism industry in Japan.
Eska Hill is an observatory point at the top of a long, long escalator. I swear it was a 90 second ride, some ridiculous amount of time that messed with your head. It’s hard to explain in words, but the corridor was structure made me feel like I was standing at a 45 degree angle the whole way. Looking down felt like a steep drop and looking up felt like a steeper climb.
The top of Eska Hill was strangely run down. It appeared to have a lot of people pass through, but at the same time there was an abandoned dinning hall. It was an interesting place.
Anyway, we reach the observation deck and get beautiful views of the area. There was a fog (smog? Haze?) the further away we looked, so my landscape photos turned out very picturesque. It was just a fantastic day, so we got great pictures. The bridge made a great background, so we modeled a bit for each other.
We investigated the park just a few steps away from the deck, but we didn’t venture too deep into it.
We went back down the escalator, subsequently feeling a weird falling sensation, and checked out the souvenir shop and café.
If there’s a proper name for them, I don’t know it, but the souvenir shops found throughout Japan are a great way to understand an area. They’ll sell their regions ‘thing’ (oranges, yams, red bean pastes) and items with their mascot. I didn’t buy anything, but they had a good selection of stuff.
Since we had a big lunch from the ramen shop, we only got ice cream at the café. Although it was November, the sun made it a warm day.
It was getting close to 2PM, so we decided it was time to head home.
Back at the apartment, we settled into some Netflix. It was a lazy afternoon, to the point Jessica took a nap.
But I was vigilant.
I wanted my luggage – I wanted my stuff, my clothes, my conditioner. It was a quiet neighbourhood so the sound of a car always got me up and looking out the window. I must’ve gotten up and faced disappointment 10 or so times. I was just eager and desperate.
At the tail end of the window, a rugged sounding vehicle once again bought me to my feet. I leaned over the balcony, into the parking lot, and my heart sored! It was a delivery van and from it the driver was pulling my suitcase.
I can’t stress enough how much of a relief it was to see my bag, especially since I was very worried that they would screw it up and send me someone else’s luggage.
But it was my proper suitcase! I rushed out the door to meet the driver at the stairs. I compared my passport to the name on his papers and we confirmed it was mine. I thanked him as much as I could despite the language barrier.
I brought my suitcase back in and started rummaging through, enjoying all the new, fresh clothes I could wear. And my pajamas! It’s the little things that you miss…
The rest of November 5th was pretty uneventful. We visited the nearby Lawson, Jessica’s self-proclaimed best convenience store chain, to grab snacks and dinner. The rest of the night we just watched Black Mirror and other Netflix shows.
But the evening didn’t end with too much of a whimper, however, because we had one last walkabout.
Sometime around sunset, Jessica took us on a talk to the local egg vending machine. It was a novelty in the community and since she needed eggs, she figured we could go visit it for some innocent fun.
We walked through the neighbour down a different path from November 4th. I remember we commented on the architecture of the houses – some were traditionally Japanese, others were much more western.
I won’t be the first nor the last to talk about the variety of vending machines in Japan. I think I’m the one of the few, however, that will tell you what little variety there is. 95% of the vending machines I saw on this trip were strictly drinks, hot and cold. Sure, the middle of nowhere Japan or the top of mount Fuji is gonna have a vending machine, but they’re both going to serve Hot Milk Tea and Boss Coffee.
The egg vending machine plays into the honour system found around Japan. Similar to fortunes at shrines, there are a lot of places that will offer a product and have a drop-box for the money. I mean, anyone could steal this stuff, but because Japan is a community-based society, no one’s gonna do that. IIRC, such a system was right next to the eggs offering produce.
The egg vending machine, however, was a bit more sophisticated. It was legitimate, with compartments and everything.
Unfortunately, when we visited rather late into the evening, a lot of the eggs had been taken. We could see there were some left, but the doors were jammed and couldn’t be opened. Those poor eggs couldn’t be bought.
Disappointed, we turned back and ended the day with another quiet evening.
Next time: We visit a real-life onsen! And monkeys!!