Thursday, July 08, 2010

Japan Day 6 25/06

I am not sure where we had breakfast for our first morning. We had bought postcards for families and friends, yours is still in the post sorry, and V had told us where the small post office was located. The Japan Post Office was privatised, much to the dislike of the general population, but they offered us good service. It was fairly hot this day and we slowly wandered some streets and tried to locate V's apartment. We knew roughly where it was but could not locate it. We bought some wine and headed back to the hotel.

I knew our weekend plans and I was concerned that we were running out of yen. We tried the foreign exchange bank. We were sat down with a staff member who could not speak English, but she quickly realised what we wanted, that is cash from our Australian bank accounts. I think it is rare when you travel that you can withdraw cash from your savings account when you are overseas, so we knew it would be a credit card cash advance. The lass kept chatting away in Japanese but eventually she held her two forefingers crossed, indicating it was not possible. Ok, we will try the ATM outside. She must have spied us outside and came out and tried to help us, but again with success.

I recalled what a workmate said after he and his Japanese born boyfriend visited Japan. 711 ATMs have English. There is not a 711 in Hirosaki, but there is a department store owned by 711. Sure enough, there was an English button and we succeeded getting 10,000 yen, but that seemed to be the daily limit. I know if you use overseas ATMs, they can cost you dearly in fees, so we wanted to make one transaction. Ok, 10,000 is enough to be going on with. Back to our hotel for freshening up.

Our key was missing from the hotel desk. Sorry Sir, your room is being cleaned. Can you come back later? He then told us that it would not be ready until 3pm and it was only 11.30. We wanted to rest for a while. The standard seemed to be four hours for room cleaning. The clerk escorted us to the room for us to get rid of our stuff and I am not sure how we then filled the time until 1pm when we went to V's office. Normally a hotel cleans a room in half an hour or so.

She had just finished some work and she took us to the big post office for us to try the ATM there. It was the same as the first, but we realised we could get more than 10,000 yen. We extracted another 30,000 which was more the enough for the rest of our stay.

We then walked to Hirosaki Park. It was very hot and very humid, but the park was superb. We had to pay an entry fee for the castle area and after we finished with the park, we had afternoon tea at a teahouse.

V is a vegetarian and was cooking dinner for us that night and we had a fine repast. We stopped on the walk to Vs at an expensive bakery to buy a very long baguette. It was interesting to see where V lived, more spacious than I thought and it had a nice balcony. The entrance wasn't grand, but I guess this is Japanese standard. There are some pretty bad Australian flat entrances too.

We ate well and probably drank too much. We slept the sleep of the innocent.

What are these things called love? No idea, but they seem to require a flooding at times.

Ponds in Japan always seemed to have fish in them. I took many photos of the fish but most weren't so good. This one is not bad.

Just another stunning Japanese garden.

A peacock, the same as you see anywhere.

One of the gatehouses for Hirosaki Castle. Trivia, as the you get nearer to the castle, the streets get more winding and confusing, a deliberate ploy to bother attackers.

Every year I post you photos and a link to the Hirosaki Castle webcam when the cherry blossoms bloom. Often the red railed bridge is to be seen on the webcam.

Nice footings. This is the inner moat. There is an outer one too.

We climbed the steep stairs to the top of the castle.

From the top of the castle we had a fine view of Mount Iwaki, the second highest mountain in Japan.

Some artwork on the river as we walked home


  1. Is it Japan where a pond with goldfish is thought to be a sign of/bring prosperity/good luck?

  2. Scratching my head Jayne. I have heard of it but I can't recall which Asian country.

  3. Anonymous8:37 am

    Strange place for an art gallery.

  4. It was odd Anon, but an interesting distraction.

  5. Andrew wrote: "What are these things called love? No idea, but they seem to require a flooding at times."

    Rice paddies?

  6. Yes, I thought that Altissima, as I was typing. I've never actually seen rice growing close up. There were many paddies, tiny and large and of course Japanese rice is quite different to ours.