On Saturday morning I got up quite early, to get the bus down to Yamaguchi City. Flick had drawn me a map, but the bus didn’t exactly work out – it didn’t stop at the bus stop, but kept going to the station. So I got off there, grabbed the timetable for the way back, and wandered off in the rain to the shopping area.
I wandered up and down, and did some shopping. I managed to stumble into Autumn Fashion Week at the department store, where instead of the standard fashion show, the store had hired a geisha girl to perform to some taped shamisen music. On the 3rd floor there was a western toilet (yay) and the man in the optometrist store made admiring noises over my glasses, and then offered to clean them! Up on the 5th floor was an amazing market with all kinds of omiyage for sale.
There were some really cool shops in Yamaguchi-shi. A rather large shop that sold vintage clothes – the only one I have ever seen in Japan! (and for that matter, the only vintage clothing store that I have heard of in Japan.) There is also a Muji – yay! Bought some things, of course.
The next morning I had to get up even earlier for my Shimonoseki train, than the Yamaguchi bus! I raced down to the station for a train that left just after 9am! The train ride was really beautiful – all along the coastline. It wasn’t even that hard – just a few “sumimasen (destination)” at various places to make sure I got there! I arrived in Shimonoseki just before midday, and had a wander around the mall, before finding a bus to the aquarium.
Out at the aquarium I met Mitch, Lucy, Phoebe and Nicole just after 2pm. It was Y1800 to get in, and there were levels of cool stuff. Jelly fish, heaps of different species of puffer fish, and a whole range of other speciments, including a finless porpoise and sea angels – mini jelly fish with neon pink centres. We watched the dolphin show in the rain. I mean, there was a roof, but the rain was practically coming in sideways! Then the dolphins started doing huge dives and making mega amounts of splashing so we moved a few rows back to avoid some of the water!
We were all kind of hungry, so went for a wander. The renowned kaiten sushi place (train sushi restaurant) was closed, so we went to the snack place, and got some fish on a stick – plain, herbed, squid and fish and spammy tasting fish. Edible, but less than brilliant. So we wandered around to SunLive and got ice cream!
Met up with Louise, and her friend Wakako and we had a great dinner – I had awesome pasta: sundried tomato, chilli and anchovy, in an olive oil based sauce. So delicious! Wakako drove us out to the station as it was still raining, and we got a train to Ozuki, and then a cab to Kikugawa – Phoebe’s inaka town.
Phoebe’s apartment is awesome – it’s almost like a house, but still in an apartment block. And she has heaps of rooms – her bedroom, a spare bedroom, kitchen/dining, lounge room, laundry, shower, and toilet. Nicole and I had the spare room – I had a super thick futon, and Nicole had the bed (nice change for her).
Monday morning Mitch, Nicole and I got on a 10:55am bus to Ozuki. Mitch took a train to Iwakuni – the nearest city to where he lives and Nicole and I went to Shimonoseki. Nicole and I got lunch from a French bakery, bought our train tickets, and then got on our train home. Even though it was raining a lot, the train ride was still beautiful.
And then, because I couldn't think of a better way to end a long weekend, I agreed to go to Koshigahama to do speech contest practice! Saito sensei (the english teacher at that school) picked me up at Higashi Hagi and took me out to Koshigahama for speech contest practice – we did some run throughs with each of the girls, and then a practice in the gym, so they would have an idea of what it will be like on the day.