Bye Takayama on to Himeji
08.11.2009 - 08.11.2009 13 °C
Up at 6am we decided to check out the jinya mae morning markets in old town. We jumped in a taxi and got dropped off directly at the markets. The air was very crisp and we were both chilled to the bone but it really did add a certain charm to the whole atmosphere. The markets are a small number of stalls where the farmers wives sell their produce every morning. Vanessa bought an apple the size of her head!
Before leaving the markets we decided to try some mystery food on a stick we saw the locals buying. Turned out to be these warm glutinous balls that were quite soft and chewy. Funnily enough they tasted like vegemite!
We spent the next 2 hours wandering around takayama looking for somewhere to eat breakfast (and get out of the cold). Unfortunately as it was a sunday nothing was open before 9am and most of the restaurants weren't due to open until 11.30am. Still it was nice walking around while the streets were empty (kind of eerie with the fog).
Just when we had given up and decided to eat rice crackers we came across a small window that sold hida beef sushi on a huge rice cracker. It was basically thinly slice fatty beef, hit with a blowtorch for like 3 seconds and then put on a thumb of rice. Two of these were then place on an oversized rice cracker plate. It was truly delicious, we ended up going back for seconds. Before leaving we picked up some takeaway sushi for eating later.
Appetite sorted we headed off to the north end of takayama where there are a cluster of temples and shrines.
Had a bit of a wander, took a few photos and then it was time to go back to the hotel to get our bags. We were booked for the 12:45pm train to himeji our next stop. We decided to give the green cars a try (first class) which really aren't that much different to the regular non-reserved seats. The trip is around 4.5 hours all up which includes a train change at nagoya. I spent the first hour catching up on the travel diary on the netbook with the rest of the trip spent watching tv shows on the netbook.
The train change at Nagoya was a bag of lol's. Only 10 mins to find the next platform (of which there are 18 altogethor, we arrive on platform 3). It's a big corridor of platform signs all of which are in kanji, so we start to panic and run to the end where there is a big board showing all the trains and we find ours but again the platform number is in kanji. Vanessa finally asks someone who tells us we have to exit this part of the station to get to platform 16. So after two failed attempts to exit the station (turns out when you have 3 tickets for the journey you put them all in the gate at once and it keeps what it needs and spits out the rest) we finally manage to get on the correct train to finish our journey to himeji.
By this time I am actually starting to get sick. I have a dry cough and am now feeling that head fuckedness you get when sick. We drop our bags at the hotel and grab a quick bite to eat. I get seared whole squid and chips, vanessa gets chicken with shallots and bean sprouts and we split a gyoza. All washed down with a few beers and a cold sake. It was time to find a chemist, get some cough syrup. After much pantomine and fumbling with phrasebooks we managed to get some medicine. Although for all we know they might have given me some hemroid ointment that is to be applied externally or even better has a massive warning beware may cause anal leakage. My acting never was very good.
By this time I am well and truly ready for bed but getting back to the hotel room we realise the air conditioner is broken and it's very hot. Luckily the windows open so we open them up and go to sleep in our very tiny bed. Not even the drunks laughing from a nearby balcony could keep me from falling asleep.