October 15, 2012

Shonai River by bike: a fraction of nature in Nagoya

Yesterday I rode past Shonai River with an aim to visit Cube Climbing Gym north from Nagoya.

Well, despite the clear instruction the gym was nowhere to be found and after an hour of wandering all over Kitaku district, I gave up searching.

So as a substitute to bouldering in a gym, which looks more like a rusty steel factory (check out Google street view here), I decided to cycle along the Shonai River.

Met with this saxophone playing dude above who told he has to rehearse outside to avoid being thrown out of his apartment.

The 96 km long river makes a half circle around the and presents a rare opportunity to see a tiny piece of nature as a contrast to Nagoya's endless concrete maze and heavy traffic.

On the way back I couldn't resist stopping by at  the UFO thing in the very center where, for the first time in my life, I witnessed an uncommon episode: Japanese couple kissing publicly. 

October 14, 2012

Oosu Festival, Nagoya, Oct. 13 - do not bother to visit

I witnessed, forgive the direct expression, one of the most monotonous festivals so far: the Oosu Festival, held every October.

All I saw was a bunch of women and, judging from the stature, one male dressed as geisha walking tardily back and forth the shopping arcade of Oosu.

I asked around why the celebration but no one knew the reason so I was compelled to search through the Internet afterwards.

So the Oosu festival celebrates the day (October 14, 1978) when post-war Nagoya reached population of 500,000.

Oosu (name of a city section) is a result of post-war urban planning and during 70s was seen as the heart of the city.

Now the city population has grown to 2,27 million and the core has spread to a wider area where Oosu represents the city as it used to be in the 70s. The place is well worth a visit but the festival isn't.

Friday afternoon stroll in Imaike

Nagoya Station towers viewed from a lonely street in Imaike.

With 59 floors, the 245 meter tall complex is roughly two times taller than Tampere's landmark Näsineula.

October 6, 2012

How to switch to vacation mode?

Be free from any schedule.

Go for a ride without a map or destination.

Rest your eyes on a vivid blue sky.

Feel a gentle afternoon breeze touch your skin.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath.

Immerse yourself in a novel. 

October 5, 2012

Yoshinoya, a fast food restaurant Japanese way

Three plus one justified arguments why choose Yoshinoya for your lunch or dinner or what ever meal: healthy, cheap and awesomely quick plus delicious (if you happen to like beef)!

A visit to Yoshinoya makes me think why other restaurants make you wait.

When we sit down the waiter arrives next to us at an instant to take an order. Yumiko ordered the normal set below: beef on rice, miso soup and coleslaw. Delivery time after order 1 min 15 sec.

My order below: Yakiniku-don, otherwise same as the normal set but the beef is seasoned differently and fried - apparently a seasonal campaign... Delivery time 2 min 10 sec.

Both sets consumed in 15 minutes.

In a fancy restaurant you wait for what... 45 minutes? And as the dish is so gorgeously tiny, it's gone in 10 mins. Well, that leaves plenty of time for blabbering, which is special merit for a date.

Conclusion: don't take your beloved to a dinner in Yoshinoya. Your date will be over in a flash and moreover, you'll give the impression that whom you're with is not worth more.

Our total bill was 1060 yen / 10 e.

Oh, and one more thing: in Yoshinoya, you'll never spend too long looking at the menu. Out of the handful of options, point the photo you like most and choose bowl size. Eat. Pay. Exit.

October 4, 2012

Checking out Thumbs Up climbing gym in Nagya

Arrived to Japan yesterday tired but safe!

While Yumiko was on her habitual 4 hour hairdresser visit, I took a visit to Thumbs Up climbing gym, a new  wall gym near the city center, Sakae. Like there was nothing else to do in Nagoya...

Important: if you're looking for people to climb with, don't drag your self to the gym before evening. Hardly anyone comes there at day time.

Above first view of the bouldering area. A colorful sight as usual in Japan.

Best quality gym I've visited in Japan so far. Clean holds, clearly marked routes, well maintained free areas. How many other places I've visited? One.

Specialty: a 17 m outdoor wall with both top rope and lead climbing possibility built on an apartment wall. 

Routes were graded by the Japanese grading system, Dankyu. 9 (purple) is the easiest and 1 the most difficult Kyu-grade. The black color is for Dan grades, which are a class more difficult than Kyu grades. Yes, same coloring is used in Japanese martial arts.

The gym had a narrow but extensive selection climbing magazines: Every publication of Rock and Ice from 1958 to today. The one on the photo was out on the same year I was born.

Routes are coded with color symbols. One hold may be a part of multiple routes. I prefer same color holds color for one route but ways both have their arguments...

October 1, 2012




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