Friday, January 23, 2009

Hachinohe day

Today we went on a tour of Hachinohe- the nearest big city to Misawa, about 40 minutes away. It was fun! Here’s a rundown of our activities:

Our first stop was the Hachinohe fish market.

This place is AWESOME! We walked around for an hour, looking at, sampling and buying all kinds of sea specimens. I’ve never seen so much fish in my life- row after row after row of gigantic fresh stuff, half of which I’ve never seen or heard of before today. Octopus tentacle, anyone?

We tasted various pickled items, different raw fish (fishes?), multiple types of fish eggs, fresh crab (YUM!), squid cakes, and a few things that I couldn’t distinguish for the life of me. Some of it was delicious, some was just OK, and one thing had me struggling not to make rude grossed-out faces and heave right there on the floor. I held a giant live crab for the first time. We became buddies.

After the fish market we went to the Hachinohe train station for an introduction to the bullet train system. I’m excited to ride the bullet train one day, but it’s fairly expensive. We’re discovering that all travel within Japan is actually really expensive. We’re just going to have to suck it up and make a big travel fund because there is way too much cool stuff here to miss! At the train station they had a giant float from a summer festival a few years back that took up an entire 2-story room (and apparently that’s a small one).

Our next stop was to a Shinto shrine. I’m not a particularly religious person, but I’m actually kind of into this particular one. It seems really interesting. The shrine was beautiful- I’ve seen several of them around now and I love how they’re all tucked away in the middle of trees. With the shapes and colors, there’s just something really appealing about them to me. This first picture is the entrance to the shrine and the one underneath is of Corey “purifying” himself before going into the Tori gate (the big red pillars).

Our last stop was to a mall in the city. Nothing too exciting, but it was lunchtime and I got a nice big bowl of ramen.

Now we’re back to base, Corey is out taking care of some paperwork for the car we bought, and I’m getting ready for a nap. My arm has sort of been flaring up a bit the last 2 days and I haven’t been sleeping very well. Hopefully that will improve!

By the way, it hasn’t snowed all week and most of the ice on the ground is melted. I like it this way much beter!!

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