Kyoto, Awesomely-Bad Eiga Mura, Kobe

I told myself that instead of wasting precious personal time writing journal entries, I’d do it at work when I needed to keep myself awake. Now, is one of those times. I’ve tried desperately to stay awake and do something, but I’m SO tired, and my head just keeps leaning forward for un-natural lengths of time… it’d be impossible for coworkers not to notice. It’s much better to appear busy, working or not, than to appear sleeping. *sigh*

This last weekend was great. So relaxing. Tanoshikatta. Shirley, Ben, and I headed over to Kyoto to visit Briar. We went to an extremely tacky movie-theme park called “Eiga Mura” (“Movie Land”). It was so bad that it was actually amusing – but I’m never in a million years going back. There was a HORRIBLE “special effects pond,” similar to the Universal Studios Jaws display, where a plastic dragon rises from the water with mist abound (you can see the nozzles) and turns its mechanical head spraying mist. Woooh… scary. Then there’s the trees that needed oil… oh man, so bad. Pictures simply won’t do it justice. We also saw a live samurai performance which was embarrassingly entertaining. But, I especially liked the robot ninja that “scrolled” between buildings, and then back again – backwards! Oh, and the crappy movie from the eighties with vibrating seats that made absollutely no sense. We could be heard laughing out loud when we were suppose to be having a “thrilling” ride of our lives.

Anyways, after that “interesting” experience, we went back to Briar’s dormitory – she was kind enough to host all of us, that night! However, as in most dormitories, visitors are not allowed to stay overnight – we had to sneak inside. Briar had bought this Takoyaki (octopus cake) maker for 1000yen, and that was our plan for dinner. We had bought the ingredients earlier that day, and we were excited to get to try homemade takoyaki. What’s even better, we added CHEESE! I haven’t had much cheese since coming to Japan, and it was very welcome. These were the best damn takoyaki I’ve ever had! Conclusion: I will search for one of these 1000yen specials. We must’ve ate nearly 20 cakes each! It’s similar to eating fondue – it takes a while, and everyone’s talking while doing it. Very social, very delicious, very fun. After indulging ourselves, we talked for a long time, and finally went to sleep.

The next day…

…Briar made pancakes for us! Thanks!! After sneaking back out of Briar’s dorm – we were very lucky – we went to Kobe and met Patrick. We all couldn’t help but think of Vancouver when in Kobe: it is situated between the mountains and the ocean; a very beautiful city. Kobe is known for some of the best beef in the world. The fat and the meat are very evenly distributed, creating a marble-like effect. We did not have any Kobe beef, we did not have time, or money (very expensive). But, we did go to the water-front where there was a flea-market, of sorts. Most of that stuff had probably fallen off a truck, but we bought some anyways. It was also the largest collection of cool Japanese hippies I had ever seen. =) Each setup consisted of the proprietor (hippie) sitting on the grass in front of his/her odd collection (whatever they could “get a hold of”), awaiting foreigners like us to spot a bargain. I bought a beanie baby (reaper) for 100yen, and a Sublime shirt for 300 yen. I was tempted by the “Smokemon” shirt, but Pat grabbed that so quickly.

We continued to walk along the waterfront (where I purchased a small bag for 980yen), passing a small amusement park, a couple restaurants, and a massive cathedral. Next, we strolled to Chinatown for dinner – the cleanest Chinatown I have ever seen! It was difficult to find a a place to eat that wasn’t packed. Eventually, we gave up and just asked one of the guys who was handing out pamphlets for a restaurant where that place was. He led us to a small place where we were led upstairs to a circular table. A circular table!! Not a Japanese thing. Dinner was… nothing to write about (so why am I?), but it was very cheap.

By that time, the Gifu people had to head back – we still had to double Shirley back to her apartment from Ogaki and then ride back to our dormitory. We headed for the train, which took a few hours before arriving in Ogaki, and that was that. A very nice weekend. Thank you, Briar, for hosting!

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