Waiting for my laundry…(again)

Today, I saw the best fireworks I’ve ever seen, (and possibly, ever will see) in my entire life. Sugoi!

The day started early, meeting at the train station and waiting for friends to arrive. Once we were all together, in Gifu city, we headed off to Inuyama Castle (in Aichi), where we had a very interesting complementary tour-guide that spoke English AND German (one of our frieds is German). Apparently, this castle is the oldest castle left in Japan. I’ve been to a few castles now, and this is the only one that was NOT rebuilt. This was the original (real – yes, I’ve seen lots of fake!) wood from 1537. 1537!!! That’s SO OLD! The guide explained how the castle was designed with with cracks between the floor-boards so as the people above could see intruders below, and if they had long poles (people below) they would try to poke people above them… so the cracks were very important! Another cool thing, was this room that the lord would sit in to work (the classic room you’d see in anime and asian movies). The lord would sit in this room, but if there was any trouble, two samurai that hid and waited (and listened) in a small room behind him would jump out to protect their lord. That’s… just like a video-game! A final boss, or something! ^_^ Cool…. To quote Alex, “You know, it’s pretty cool actually coming to a place you’ve owned in a video game.” heheheh

The real reason we came to Gifu, was for the fireworks… it was, after all, Ben’s birthday. So, we left Inuyama Castle: back on the train. After we arrived back in Gifu, we had a long walk ahead of us. But so did MANY other people! We just followed the masses. Having come last week to the fireworks, we knew where would be a good spot, and we came prepared: we had mats/tarps to sit on; sake to drink; and snacks to eat – oh yes, we were doing things right! After our long walk (remind me never to wear sandles with bare feet again..) we found a spot on the road and claimed it. The pre-show fireworks made a very satisfying BOOM and you could feel it pound your chest. Nice. We were very close!

I had heard from somebody, that these fireworks were going to be bigger than the ones we saw last week, but I was not prepared for the show we got! Even if you don’t like fireworks, some of these would have blown you away! At points, the WHOLE SKY was covered in showers of pyro-technic colour. COOL! I couldn’t believe how many they would fire at one time! How to describe it… if you’ve been to The Symphony of Fire, you know that the various countries always have a finale. These fireworks, were like a constant finale, and at the end (of an awesome 1.5 hrs), it, of course, had its own finale. Seriously, at points, you couldn’t see all the firworks in the sky at one time without turning your head! I’ve never seen such a good show…. The Japanese take their hanabi very seriously!

The way home: wading through the sea of people all over again for a long walk. We took the train back to Hashima, and got our bikes. This ride home was going to be a little different, because we had graciously offered to double our visiting friends, who happened to be girls, back to Shirley’s apartment (they couldn’t stay with us, because they were girls and we live in “Sanyo Men’s Dormitory”). =( Anyways, I’d never tried doubling anyone on my sexy basket bike before. Muzukashi! It was so much harder than I thought it would be! Especially getting started… moving so slowly, the balance was really hard. So the ride poor Nina received from me was probably not the best initially, but I think I got the hang of it half way. I couldn’t do much about the metal she had to sit on, however. =/

Those cheap bikes… sometimes I wish I splurged a few thousand yen more… Two people is very difficult on them, I was very worried going over bumps that the weight caused the back wheel rim to actually be impacted directly by the pavement – that’s how it felt. I have to pump up the tires, again, already! And my handle bar has come loose, so I need to find an Alan-key to tighten those, or I may get into an accident…. Eventually, we got to Shirley’s (had to make a pit-stop at a circle-K convenience store first, of course) and dropped off the terrified passengers safely. *phew* Today was the HOTTEST day I’ve been in! Just walking around, I could jerk my head toward the ground and at least 5 drops of sweat would fall right off my face. I was not built for this tropical humidity! And riding the bike with the light enabled AND an extra person, AND compensating for my screwy handlebars… ingredients for Steve to perspire like his life depended on it!

I would probably be quite willing to sneak girls into the dormitory, as I’ve seen other people do it a couple times. =)

My laundry is done; it’s 3:04am; and I have to go to an amusement park tomorrow (for another friend’s birthday); so I’d better go to sleep now. So tired!

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