Today, Nagoya will be mostly closed for a typhoon. After a quick trip to the castle – closed -I found myself at the main station for a ride to the railway museum. But that (museum) was also closed; at least I found out before getting there, thanks to a member of staff jumping on my uncertain pause in front of the Aonami line. That was actually due to my subway day pass not working there, since that’s not a subway line, but it saved me the journey and the expense. The station has wifi, so I could check the list of sights and spot that the JR (Japanese railways) towers, built in 1999, were right above my head, with restaurants and beauty parlours on the panorama deck, floor 51.
I took a ride. The lift goes straight from floor 13 to 51, and I emerged feeling slightly nauseous. A ride in itself. The floor itself is small, and you can only get a peek at the view through the windows of the businesses up there. I decided I wasn’t coming without a look, so went for lunch. Lunch is generally the reasonably priced meal – seen as the time when people pay for themselves rather than on expenses – so although more expensive than other restaurants, it was perfectly okay at ¥2400, including fizzy wine, though this is nouvelle cuisine rather than a hearty fill. I amused myself halfway through, realising that it felt a little odd. I noticed then that the places were set with cutlery – I did just use it, but I double-took as I did so. After a burger (Japanese, but still) and now a meal with cutlery I probably owe my Japanese karma another pick at random from a menu I don’t understand. As for lunch, good food plus the view – totally recommended. After another ride down in the lift to floor 13 had left me a bit discombobulated, I let the escalators take me down through 2 floors of restaurants, French, Italian and more, and more shops. Nearer to ground are the ladieswear ones, though unlike Tokyo I managed not to ‘explore’ an entirely female floor, which had left me looking like some kind of Western lunatic. The basement, just like a mall I’d browsed in Asakusa, is full of food stalls selling weird, wonderful and fabulous smelling foodstuffs. It’s a sight to see all of its own.
In the afternoon, with most museums shut, I took the subway down to the port. Or it took me, potato potato. Cricket seems to be big here, every station pointing the way to the South and North Wicket. A big port, big ships, big container area, and all quite festive. Sea train land had a Ferris wheel-another one for me to eschew – as well as zombie panic and other rides. I pondered the wisdom and freshness of the ‘global seafood restaurant’, wondered why McDonalds was hidden behind the aquarium and looked at the pictures in the maritime museum. I watched a video, too, which combined with the large map of the port area to show me where everything was, and pictures too, and told me loads more about the sport fishing area, golf course and container port, none of which I understood. The weather had brightened, at least, so the wind that kicked up was only blowing odd bits of sand at me, not rain and everything else. I followed a tsunami exit route to find the subway and head back into town, feeling I’d had a day by the seaside, though the only beach is a long way from the subway, in the maritime park. It is a big port.
I still had a couple of hours of daylight left, so headed for the central shopping and eating district, Sakae. The (old) TV tower is here, offering elevated views, but I settled for photos after my 51st floor vision. The tower is set in a parkland strip (Hisaya Odori) that runs between two roads (and is itself crossed by other roads, so it’s not quite the running paradise it might be) which is lovely, and the usual stealth shopping rules in Japan apply. Above ground, shops, glitz and glamour of Gucci, Apple et al. Below ground, a mall, leading off the subway station. And tucked away on the 2nd, 3rd and other floors; other shops and restaurants. No suggestion they’re hidden, but there seems to be a virtue in putting your business wherever and then they will come. Shopping on a budget is a bit futile, so I rode back out to the castle and park. The park has an obvious running route round and was covered in runners of all speeds, but also plenty of sights for a non runner-even a windmill. The castle looked glorious with sun on, and I realised the day had become a lovely, by my standards that can’t cope with 30 degrees, sunny day thanks to the earlier rain and wind. I walked some of my running route from last night, glad to see it in daylight, before heading back, footsore and better disposed toward Nagoya than I had been the day before.