Nagoya: Things I Couldn't See
Nov 18, 2019
Suddenly I realize that I’m all alone in this strange country, with almost zero knowledge of the language and the fact that I don’t know anybody here. However in a certain moment like this I never really afraid of being alone or get lost, it’s more like a comfy feeling for being alone. Well, this journey officially turns into an adventure. The bus stop for a while at an amusement park called Fuji-Q Highland. From a distance, I can see a roller coaster spinning and the passengers scream out loud reverberate. A group of juveniles, which perhaps from the same high school, entering the bus. A female student nod as if need my consent for the seat beside me. In front of me, two of her friends peering back and chuckle as if want to tease their friend. I ask her where they’re heading but apparently she doesn’t understand English, so I type the question on Google translate and show her up the Japanese translation. “ah. Shizuoka!” she replies. I keep using the same way for the following questions and she replies in the same way as I do.
I arrive at Nagoya Meitetsu Bus Center around 10 PM. My hostel location is about one kilometer from the bus center. It is a men-only hostel, well.. this is a new experience for me, so I’m curious what is the underlying story since I haven’t encountered any kind of hotel/hostel like this except the typical ‘Syariah’ hostel in Indonesia which needs you to show your marriage proof or book if you bring a partner. But a hostel for men only? is this perhaps a kind of hostel for people on abstinence or avoiding sexual encounters. The building is concrete with several levels and it’s fully operated by old women. There are two receptionists who welcome me in a delicate gesture, they can’t speak English at all except for ‘check-in’ and ‘passport’. After handing me a form to be filled, one of them guides me to my room on the third floor. The interior of the hostel is constructed like a labyrinth full of interlaced aged pipes, murky hallways, tubes with a hole stuck on the wall to drop the key for check-out. It feels like in the middle of the ’90s. It looks like the scenes from Wong Kar Wai’s movies.
I’ve learned that in order to get noticed and suitable response, I should say a single word out loud and clear. Just like the old lesson of being lost in the middle of a crowd. Some people I have met seem understand English if I give them an individual word, not a long-phrase or sentence. For example, if I want to know where is the toilet location instead of saying ‘where is the toilet?’ I just say ‘toilet’ or ‘toire’ which slightly works as a clue. Like any of Indonesian words, Japanese words have a bunch of loanwords from English which have been assimilated with local nuance.
In the morning, I can barely wake up, I feel so lethargic, my calves are swollen, three big calli pop up on my feet and it’s painful when I put it on the floor. I lay my body again and sleep like a shrimp.
When I wake up, I can’t find the plastic of banana and orange juice that I’ve bought last night. Very weeeel. I might leave it somewhere. I secrete the callus liquid from my feet, it feels much better. I take a hot shower then ask the grandma about my plastic bag. Fortunately, she found it in front of the receptionist table and keep it in the refrigerator. I check-out around 10 AM and leave my bag at the receptionist.
Because of the soreness in my calves, I walk tiptoeing and limber while enduring the pain. I visit Nagoya castle. In front of the outer complex, a big samurai statue named Kato Kiyomasa sits tight, holds a sword handle on its left hand, and tassel on the right. The environment almost the same as the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The main castle is mighty and beautifully carved. I hope I can see the interior part of the main castle but it turns out there is maintenance inside. Visitors can still reach inside the complex. My disappointment at least is relieved by a samurai performance near the gate entrance and some ninjas in black suits wandering around and surrounded by people who asked for photos. On the way back to the hostel I encounter a shopping street called Endoji Shotengai. There is a street performer playing traditional Irish songs, an energetic boy doing step dance in the middle of the mini orchestra.
The thing that I still don’t understand since I was in Tokyo is why houses and buildings have plastic bottles in various sizes filled with water neatly arranged outside and only in specific parts around?
Hotel: Shochikubai Hostel No.3 - Men only
Hotel Environment: Cozy outmoded
Treatment: Not available
Others: Single room, hospitable, Meitetsu Bus Center about 10 min walk
Impression: time travel to 90s