Friday, November 2, 2012

Kumamoto, or where I attempted to create a battle.

After a good night's sleep, Elaine had to go to work and Ben and I headed to Kumamoto Castle. It was built between 1467 and 1610, though a lot of it is a reconstruction. It's one of the most famous castles in Japan.

We got there pretty early and wandered around the grounds. The weather was beautiful. A little chilly in the morning, but quite warm by the afternoon.

We headed inside the castle. There were a lot of very low entrances to rooms.
The floors were very creaky and covered with cones, marking places where people had stepped through the floor. The cones were very reassuring.

Needless to say, I spent much of my time worrying I was going to fall through the floor.

We looked outside and watched the construction. We realized immediately that all the construction workers were woman, which was unusual.

Here's the view from the first battlement that we entered.

Here I am in the castle.

Yes, that is a bag with my shoes inside them. I wore my converses for comfort, not thinking I'd have to take off my shoes in every building we entered. I tied my shows about 12 times that day. I attempted to just tuck my shoelaces into my shoe, but my shoelaces are a bit short, since Minerva ate my other ones. Thus, the excessive tying of the shoes continued.
The stairs were extremely steep. The time not spent worrying I'd fall through the floor was spent trying not to fall down the stairs.
This is Buddhist art. I know this because it is only black and white.

And because Ben told me.

Ben and I sitting on the tiny seats. The time not spent worrying about falling through the floor or down the stairs, I spent worrying I'd break the tiny chairs.

We then wandered through a tunnel.
Took some pictures in front of the castle.

Went to the museum in the castle. Most of the museum we couldn't take pictures, but I took a few of the Japanese writing.

Then we took some pictures in here, naturally.

These rooms were very beautiful.

We headed down to the gardens. We briefly forgot it was October because the weather was so great, and expected there to be flowers in the flower garden, but there were not, obviously.
The walls were extremely tall, as you can see by my ant-sized self.
And Ben's ant-sized self. Proof that I'm not just extremely short.

We then headed to the Kumamoto museum, just outside the castle grounds.

Here is a giant, unstable tree on the walk to the museum.
Around here we saw a sign that said "Kumamoto Museum-500 meters."
Here's a tree in the middle of the sidewalk.
The path was very beautiful.

A short time later, we realized we were walking the wrong way.

We realized that because we saw a sign that said, "Kumamoto Museum 750 meters" and we had walked a long distance and were farther away from the museum.

After walking by a baseball stadium and down a hill, we arrived at the museum. It was closed because it was Monday. So we headed to lunch. at least we tried.

This was a great, above ground root system.
Elaine recommended curry for lunch. Apparently, we did not go to the correct curry place. She informed us later that, no, the curry place she recommended did not have a machine where you chose your order, paid then gave your receipt to the cook.

But, the curry was still delicious, so it was ok to go to the wrong location.
We saw Kumamoto the Bear.

We then headed to the Japanese Zen Garden.

We got off the tram late, walked back, then discovered we'd actually gotten off the tram early and took the tram a few stops further down the street and made it to the gardens.

We did some souvenir shopping outside of the gardens, then headed inside

The gardens were very beautiful. They were very peaceful and uncrowded, which was great.

This series of pictures is Ben trying to teach me how to pose for pictures.

It didn't work, obviously.

Ben had an underwater camera and took pictures of the fish in the lake, which caused a mass congregation of fish, who seemed to think he was feeding them.

Notice the ripples in the water-those are the fish coming to see what is going on and why there's a hand in the water.

Ben got bit by a fish.

No, that didn't happen, I just thought it would.

We drank some water. I don't know if that is taboo or not. Ben got camera happy while I was drinking the water.

Now, I know not to give him my camera for safety.

Some bamboo.

We walked around the gardens chatting and enjoying the scenery.

We bought some bread from an old woman to feed the fish.

The fish and the ducks were fighting over the bread.

Notice the fish and the ducks together.

Ben accused me of trying to choke the fish with giant chunks of bread. I still maintain that they were easily swallowing the bread with their giant mouths.

He also accused me of trying to get them to fight with the ducks over the food, just to get a good picture.

I whole-heatedly deny that accusation.

Just kidding. I completely admit that.

The fish followed us for a while, thinking we had more bread.
We then wandered out of the gardens, to a house across the street, which was pretty cool looking but definitely a private house.
See said house.

After wandering a bit, we headed back to Elaine's apartment to meet her and head out to dinner. Also, we played Bananagrams, otherwise known as speed scrabble, but instead of saying "Take Two" you say "peel" which led to me saying "take-PEEL!" a lot.
Sunset view from Elaine's apartment.

Before heading to dinner, we walked around the area near her apartment, which including prime flooding areas in monsoon season, completely with sandbags and a Buddhist Temple.
This was a cool building.

The temple.

We then headed to a restaurant, where we ate Yakisoba and something that looks like pancakes, but isn't. And I can't remember the name of them. I documented the entire experience, which was great.
Elaine was very embarrassed by my documentation, saying, "I have to return here!"

First, we oiled the grill, which was on our table.
Then we mixed all the ingredients together.
Added the mandu/dumplings to the grill.
Put the pancakes on.
And the yakisoba.
Here we are making the food.
Well, Ben making the food.
At the end, you add sauce. I saw another table adding their sauce and exclaimed, "They are currently brushing the sauce onto their pancake!"

I was needlessly made fun of for that comment. Apparently I sounded very urgent. I was just stating facts.

At least I know the making fun of me is done in loving jest. Just as certain people comparing my speaking to Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey (cough**Blossom, Craig, Ben, Allison, Adrienne, J, Mother***cough).

Oh wait, maybe it's true...

We then went shopping a little bit more.

I found this gem. It's stomach medicine. The before picture.

And the after, "Yay I'm better!" picture.
We walked around the castle grounds once more, since it's very beautiful at night.

We then headed back to Elaine's apartment, bought some amazing milk tea in a bottle, and played bananagrams.

We had to head to the airport the next morning. We took the bus, got to the airport in plenty of time and got on the plane. We landed at 1:10 PM, ran to customs, got on the train back home, showered and were at work by 3:30.

No comments:

Post a Comment