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Nagoya, Japan

The morning after we arrived was spent sleeping in till about 8am as no matter how comfortable your airline seat is, you still have to deal with circadian issues that wake one up at 2:30 am. Regardless, the thing that surprised me was that Halloween is here. We met for breakfast then went for a walk out on the town and an an after breakfast latte with a melon brioche (bizarre but very tasty with a hint of bitter currant) at a Tulley’s Coffee that had pumpkins drawn all over the place before having lunch at Cafe de Crie before returning to get some work done and prepare for work tomorrow. Cafe de Crie had these green tea lattes that I had to try and would most happily try again and again.

Japan is total eye candy with things to see everywhere that please the eye and people are most interesting to watch The Japanese culture is so conservative in some respects that the way for young people in particular to express themselves is through their appearance.  You will see everything from the 1950s greaser look to hoochie mamma skirts to punk mashups with other world cultural aspects to goth kids.  It’s awesome. Hopefully I can get some pictures later of some of the kids. I am looking for a park with some cosplay kids, but that may be more of a Tokyo thing…

I’ve also been quite pleased to see all the bicycles here in Japan and this is reflected in the dedicated bike lanes seen all over Japan. I might add that while looking down, one really begins to appreciate all of the details that make Japan so wonderful. Everything from the care and attention placed on the sidewalk next to buildings, to the paving guides for the blind to the manhole covers to the no smoking signs on the steps coming out of the subway. I love it.

There is an amazing amount of growth in Nagoya as buildings are torn down and rebuilt, updated or renovated and just about everywhere you look across the city, you can see construction cranes. One can really appreciate a resurgent Japanese economy, though given the reports I’ve had from friends who visited Japan in the middle of their economic slowdown a few years ago claimed that one would never know from all the cell phones, clothes and accouterments of economic progress.

On the way over to the central part of town, just past the Karaoke clubs, we ran into a parade with cub scouts and the Nagoya chapter of the Lions Eye Club. Given our mission here, Robert and I took this to be a sign of good luck.

About 5km or so from out hotel was Oasis 21, an amazing combination tourist attraction/art show/entertainment venue next to the Nagoya TV tower that demonstrates how willing the Japanese are to integrate frivolity and technology together in public spaces. It is an impressive structure with a glass top covered in water that supposedly is lit up at night with different color lights. I am absolutely going to have to come back at night. I also managed to get in a pic with my Lijit T-shirt on top of Oasis 21 to do a little international evangelism for the Lijit folks. Thanks Tara.

Other sights on the street in addition to Tommy Lee Jones‘ face promoting Suntory Boss (which reminded me so much of Bill Murray in Sophia Coppola‘s movie Lost in Translation) include a number of bizarre vehicular mashups that one would no doubt fail to meet street legal requirements in the US.

On the way back, we discovered that right across the street from the Hotel, is a little park with cats, pigeons, some bonsai trees, water features and beautiful paving stones.

The final picture for today, since we do have to prepare for the day tomorrow, is a local playboy just across the street from our hotel.

Categories: Travel.

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3 Responses

  1. I really love your pictures! They are so different from what all the travel brochures show that Japan is supposed to look like. I love how you captured the “realness” of this beautiful country! I particularly like the manhole cover – how cool!

  2. Thanks. It is the little details that I really love about Japan, and why I need to figure out how to get back sooner rather than later.

    bwjonesJuly 20, 2010 @ 9:57 amReply

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  1. […] The image of the Japanese Flag is from a trip to Nagoya, Japan I took some time ago.  Requests to use this image for charitable purposes are absolutely granted […]