Nagasaki! Two years later than I had originally intended, and I finally made it!
Travel note: One of my most invaluable tools that I used for my last 2 trips was Hyperdia. It does an excellent job of allowing you to plan out station to station travel throughout practically all of Japan. You can plan for multiple segments and set it to search by private or JR and even airplane. There's also an Android app available. I constantly used this to plan routes, and change my itinerary on the fly. Without this, my travel speed would have been reduced significantly by having to study maps and timetables to figure out how to get anywhere. Google Maps was still a good cross reference, but Hyperdia is my gold standard.
I'm quite a fan of slice of life, so when I see scenes like this:
I wonder what the story is. Are these two friends at the end of a trip together or reuniting after some time apart. Are these coworkers on one of their last days? What do you think?
Here's a little reminder of how Japan was introduced to the western world, via the arrival of the Black Ships:
Can't quite think of Nagasaki, without a dragon or two. Here's one!
Nagaski has an operational tram system, that's pretty convenient to use to get to a good portion of the city.
Here's my base of operations for this portion of the trip. I've stayed at their other locations and liked it. This location was similarly nice and was noted for its European stylings (in keeping with the nature of the city).
I ATE THE BONES! (Well, I don't think boneless chicken made it out there yet.) The Colonel and KFC are pretty big in Japan, believe it or not.
Castella! Sadly, I kept on putting off getting some and ended up leaving without having any or bringing any along.
Aflac! Much more so than anywhere else in the world, I feel that Japan loves mascots.
So without a very strict plan on where I wanted to go, I eventually stumbled upon Meganebashi or the Spectacles Bridge. Hopefully it's obvious why.
The tram system was pretty affordable, and I tried to use it as much as I could. There was a one day pass that you could get that I took full advantage of. I bought mine at my hotel, and I assume most midrange hotels would have the same service.
Unintentionally offensive sign design?
What I find very compelling about this city and this story is not only was this one of the main entry points for Christianity/Catholicism into Japan, but this spot was a battleground for unwavering faith. It was this moment that 26 adults and children chose to die for what they believed in. (The youngest was 12 years old).
It was intended to be a public spectacle, held on a hill that overlooked the city, and meant to be a warning to anyone that chose to continue to live as Christians. But rather than cause people to lose hope and discard their faith, it instead drove it underground. Practiced in secret, passed down from generation to generation until the ban on Christianity was lifted centuries later.
I wonder that if we're ever put to a similar test, would our faith hold? For all that we complain about being able to express ourselves and what we believe in, our challenges pale in comparison to what our spiritual ancestors had to choose. Would we have the resolve to hold true and make tough decisions? I hope we're well past those days.
Wow, it's getting late! Time to head back.
When I see this:
I can't help but think of Aki!
I made a quick visit to Nagasaki's Chinatown.
And a quick preview of food I was going to have very very soon!
That's it for today! More again in the next post!