Hamamatsu, Shizuoka!

Hello again! It’s getting a little hard to keep up but I’m doing my best! I will have to have a weekend where I do nothing but write and just get these posts done. D:<

Anyway! This post is about Hamamatsu, which is a city I vistited with my friends right at the end of August (29th – 30th)! So this is a little late, but better late than never, right?! After this post, I am officially caught up with August, phew!

Anyway, our friend Justin has a friend named Rebecca who is working in Shizuoka prefecture, also teaching English.  She lives and works in Hamamatsu, which is a city on the coast of Shizuoka.

Hamamatsu, which is pretty close to where we live!

Rebecca was kind enough to invite us all to visit and stay at her lovely, adorable, and visually inspirational apartment (visiting her apartment convinced me that it was OK to sink some money, decorate my own place, and make myself at home).  It took us a while because we opted not to take the Shinkansen (bullet train), but we had a nice 2-3 hour train ride over with a few easy transfers. On our train ride we tried this horrendous banana milk tea that tasted like medicine you used to take when you were younger… the kind that they try to make delicious but actually tastes worse than it would have if they just left it alone. :'(

Cloudy mountains from the train! <3

Hamamatsu was also my first feeling of a real city since Tokyo! Just walking around felt amazing – I didn’t realize how much I missed the city until I visited here! Look at all the signs and colors. :’) And even though it was raining, it was still very lovely! It was the kind of slow, lazy, drizzling kind of rain that makes you feel sleepy but doesn’t make you dread leaving your house.

People call this street “Happy Street” but I forgot why… What happens when you write a post two months after the events, ahhhhhhh!!
I LOVE THIS GUY but I also forgot his name. He has some kind of presence in Japanese culture, maybe folklore? I will have to make another post, maybe dedicate it just to this little fellow.

Rebecca first took us to her place, where we unloaded our things and marvelled at how cute it was. The colors in apartment were so nice – a lot of light blues! It was the coziest studio ever and made me wish my place looked like that. :’) Then, we went to an Indian place, where we had some delicious, delicious food (especially comforting and delicious on a rainy day). Once we had eaten, we killed some more time, and then Rebecca took us through a park to see a “castle”. I will explain why castle is in quotes in a bit!!

This eeny weeny turtle trying to climb over a divider in the pond. One of his legs was hurt. :'(
Me, Rebecca, and Ashley in the park!

Then we headed towards the Hamamatsu Castle. So castles here are not castles in the medieval sense of the word. See pictures below to see what it looked like! I don’t know why I expected a full on stone castle with towers and a draw bridge, but I was a little confused when I saw it.  It has three tiers and four stories, and the top floor is about 50 m high off the ground. You can see for pretty far from up there though!

They had this crazy cut out of this man named Tokugawa Ieyasu… who was a warrior living in the Hamamatsu Castle who later became the shogun (military governor).  He united Japan through military victories in the 1600s, and did his best to stabalize Japan and increase trade with foreign countries. Most of the pictures we saw of him were in this position! PS: This is NOT the castle hahaha.
Why does this miniature soldier have butterfly wings? I am not sure, but I dig it. :D
Aaaaaaand, this is the castle!! Very beautiful but very different from what I was expecting!
This is a figure of Tokugawa Ieyasu I believe? Regardless, the attention to detail here is amazing! I was blown away! I stood looking at this for a good 15 minutes beacuse I expected him to blink. D:
This is the mascot of Hamamatsu! :) His name is Ieyasu-kun, or the Daimyo of Success. He is based off the Tokugawa Ieyasu, who I mentioned before! He has a little piano skirt, orange slices on his chest, and a little eel on the top of his head, since Hamamatsu is known for unagi eel!
A shrine near the castle with these really cute, steep steps that you had to climb up to get to it.

When we were done at the castle, we walked around some more, and headed to a mall to look around, take some purikura (photobooth pictures) and then ate dinner.

Curvy street and cute street lamps. <3
Ieyasu-kun, the city mascot, as a bush in front of the train station!
Signs in front of the purikura machines. The different combinations of who is and who is not allowed to enter… :o
After we took our pictures, we got to decorate them together on the other side of the photobooth! (:
Voila!

That night, we went out with Rebecca’s friends and explored Hamamatsu at night a little bit.  The next morning we took it easy and left for home in the early afternoon.  We tried to swing by Nagoya to get some Peking duck, since it’s a big city and we don’t have anything like that in our smaller towns, but we couldn’t find the restaurant… Google maps sent us to the headquarters of the restaurant instead of the actual restaurant. We ended up eating at a Chinese place where I had the best shaved ice I had ever had in my life. (:

And that was my trip to Hamamatsu! It was a lot of fun, and Rebecca was super nice! She even visited us in Mie a few weeks ago, which was a lot of fun. We visited some onsen together too! (:

That’s it for today!! :D

A

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