The morning after Nara, I had a bit of time before I could go to the hostel-hotel thing I was staying at in Osaka, as such I decided to wonder around Nagoya in the daylight for once.
After checking out of the hotel, I then left my bags with the front desk. That was a nice change. One I would repeat in Osaka and Hiroshima as well, which made sense to me, as I had such a limited time in each location that to waste those hours between check out and check in time would have been quite foolish.
I didn’t wander too far, just exploring the nearby park, the Nagoya TV tower, and a pretty looking mall/bus station.
The park separated the street, acting as a giant, occasionally raised median and like in Sapporo spanned multiple blocks, it also similarly incorporated a large tower.
On the bright side, the North (and also West, but I didn’t head West) doesn’t house the effective red light district, unlike the Eastern bit, so it was a bit less… odd, as I wondered about. Again, the only restraint was time, as I wanted to have some time in Osaka before the sun went down, so I didn’t stray too far.
As it turns out, Nagoya is Los Angeles’ sister city. Who knew? Oh? Right, lots of people live in LA and probably did. Well, fine. Okay, who reading this knew that? Hmm? Oh? Maybe those people. Right. Um… I’ve lost this one haven’t I? Well that was later anyway. Also a… brother city with the Mexico City. I didn’t know there were brother cities, and what makes it stranger is that ciudad is feminine. Whatever. Also later.
ANYWAY there was this really cool fountain in one of the parks, it was all asymmetrical and quite blue. With the asymmetry you can get neat cascades.
Oh, so I guess the French helped make the park? It’s a really diverse place. Rather confusing, but hey, whatever. I guess I could toss that into bablegooglewhatever since I don’t read French as well as Spanish, but what do you want from me, research into what I’m writing about? Isn’t my writing about it enough to satisfy you people? So demanding.
Actually it’s pretty straight forward. Easier to read than the signs in Spanish due to it being almost entirely cognates. If you can’t read it, I hope it’s just because of the low contrast. But rather than being a dick about it… It says the dealie is in memory of the amicable/friendly cooperation between the Committee of the Champs-Élysées and the Association for the Development of the Central Avenue of Nagoya. Maybe they’re sister streets? Brother streets? Second cousins once removed?
So perhaps after that you wonder why I keep calling it Central Park, instead of, say Central Avenue, or something like The Park in the Middle of That One Street in the Sakae District of Nagoya?
After that I headed across the street to the East to take a look at a very interesting structure that turned out to be a bus station that in the basement had some stores and then connected into to the multi-block under ground mall or “arcade” (see that entrance in the picture above?). I wasn’t sure, but from across the street it looked like they were making it look like there was water above it, like one of those suspended pools between glass that you can walk on, but given that it was Japan, I figured it could even be fake, using some sort of LCD to simulate water shadows. On the other hand, that is a lot of support structure for just some people and glass.
In the cement park on the ground floor, I couldn’t help but think it would make for a fantastic little launch point for a skate courier with smart wheels to ‘poon onto a bus, or even a Nipponese bimbo box. Maybe that was just the Snow Crash talking.
One interesting thing I should note, the music playing at the complex wasn’t muzak, nor even an obvious low-fi MIDI rendition of Nirvana (yeah I heard that in a grocery store), no, it was American rap like hip-hops, and it was quite explicit. No radio edit here.
It just struck me as odd, a mall/bus station playing rap laced with profanity, and in the middle of the day no less. It is important to note though, the Japanese don’t really have profanity like we do. With the rigid forms of politeness built into the language you can be insultingly rude simply by choosing to speak using a less polite form. One of the more insulting words you can use is baka, which is basically saying something foolish or idiotic. Yeah, in Japanese culture, that’s a notable insult. In American culture, we idolize ignorance. Hilarious.
The structure itself was pretty neat, though even up close I couldn’t be absolutely positive as to the nature of the apparent water, as the shadows looked oddly almost pixelated, but that could just be due to the waves and the support structure. Looking up, it did look like actual water. Maybe I could walk on it, that would be fun. I also noticed logos on the elevator for the floors, neat.
I headed up, to the Roof Floor (though I used the stairs), I followed the rules, and what do you know? It was an open top thin pool of water up there. Also turns out they call it the Aqua Spaceship. I guess it does have weird protrusions and is ovular.
As I was up there I also took pictures from the higher vantage, I just missed getting pictures of a guy in the TV tower doing a bit of a dance while wiping down a window. It was also about this time I really started intentionally taking pictures of buildings reflecting in other buildings. I had done it a little in Sapporo, but from here on, it would be a thing. Oh that dumb Tokyo Tower picture.
It’s funny, Trilobyte is comparatively just as old, and about as relevant.
Oh, then there was trouble. Beyond the cool clock and the dinosaurs there was an NHK Character Shop, which sold not just Domo-kun, not stopping with an addition of Wallace & Gromit, it was also the coolest, most complete Ghibli shop I’ve seen. Had the prices been a bit more reasonable, I would have had a harder time walking away with nothing. THEY HAD A WOODEN CATBUS CRATE WITH WHEELS. They had merch from Kiki’s Delivery Serivce, My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and even Porco Rosso, and that’s the least favorite (though they were just towels and I couldn’t get a good picture of them).
Thankfully the prices triggered an instant “NOPE” so I didn’t need to worry. I eventually managed to escape, not that it wasn’t fraught with dangers. I visited some fish in the next section beyond the tower, and then went across the street.
It was in this next part that I discovered the whole Los Angeles sister city thing. Right in front of a water thing that was being pumped and cleaned. They had a partial replica of the walk of fame, which I thought was kind of amusing. I didn’t actually take pictures of the names with icons indicating what they primarily were known for, there weren’t a whole lot, and it wasn’t particularly interesting; however, I found the Eagle and the hand+footprints around it much more so. Also, there’s a handy directional sign, I don’t think I’ll walk.
Hell yes, Gregory Edgewo… er, Peck.
At the end, there is the section covering the whole brother city aspect with Mexico City. They too had a few cultural exchanges, an Aztec calendar as mentioned in the sign above, an circular… thing (the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui), and a Toltec style column figure.
I don’t really have a whole lot more to say about Nagoya, as after that I needed to walk back and catch the train to Osaka. I was going to write about Osaka in this post as well, but this ended up being long enough to sustain itself.
Still, what I saw was nice, even if the red light section was oddly in between the center of the city and the area with the non-clothing stores.
I guess I’ll end with one more picture.