05.12.2019 - 05.12.2019
Crack of dawn start, again. 5:30 this time. These thin hostel mattresses are starting to get annoying. Can’t wait for a proper bed in the hotel for the tournament. Don't think I woke anyone else in the hostel up, but since the person to my right kept their light on all night (it was spilling onto my eyes, really hard to get to sleep), I think people in here can sleep through anything. Made it to Ota City alright, got to take the monorail which was fun. Tried to take a photo on the bridge, and what do you know, I managed to grab the faulty camera that says it's got lots of charge but dies as soon as you try to take a photo. Not happy!
Getting into the auction house was a bit confusing, but I got there in the end. Really abandoned place on the level I was allowed on (lvl 2) - thank goodness for signs directing me to the visitor route. On their website it said to let the guard know I was there & to ask for a pamphlet, but I couldn't find anyone to ask so I just had a wander.
I got inside right before it started, 7am, so I got to watch them all getting ready. An announcement came on at 7 sharp, then all the auction workers bowed in unison and we were off to the races! There were two auction houses, one much more full and one quieter. This was the flower auction, as I didn't fancy getting up even earlier to get to the fish or fruit auctions. It was pretty bloody cool to watch, I've gotta say. Call me a nerd, but I enjoyed it! It was all so fastpaced.
I stayed there for a bit then headed to Anamori Inari Shrine. It was under repair so was a little disappointing. I grabbed some cutlets (little fried meat thingies) for breakfast and took the train to Nishi Rokugo Park.
Or I tried to, but Someone messed up which train to go on. No one else to blame but me I guess! Still got there, just took a little longer.
On the way to the park I found some cheap bananas from a nice man in a covered arcade. I think he made a joke about Chinese cabbages but I didn't understand. I managed to tell him I didn't want a plastic bag and he understood! Normally they're too quick for me to say anything. Their coins are so confusing, and I'm terrified to give them NZ money again by accident! The park itself was... disappointing. Which is a shame, but it's obviously aimed at kids so it's not really for me.
On the way back to the station, I passed a nursery and someone is playing piano, and it sounded like home. I stopped off to look at fish outside a tiny pet store and the man said "good morning" in Japanese to me and I can respond (I feel like my pronunciation is shit though). One of the men directing traffic (and by directing traffic, I mean he stood by a sign in high vis and a hard hat. I don't actually know what he's been told to do? Keep people out of that street he's in front of I guess) has like six teeth, and I had a quick chat when he said a few words of greeting in English. He thought I'm from Canada at first. I didn't know what he's saying in Japanese but it's nice to talk. I'm starting to recognise some of the characters on the signs I pass. This area was definitely not designed for tourists. There's a bench outside the station, which frankly is a miracle in itself. Maybe being obviously not from here is a good thing: that old man directing traffic never would have said hello if I looked like I belonged here. I feel like I can do this, on my own, all the bells and whistles. I'm navigating fine, after all.
Two more stops around Kawasaki to go, and it's only ten am. I'm going to go back to the hostel for a break after these I think, then wander around Tokyo for a bit.
Kawasaki Daishi was anything but disappointing. Was a total gem, so unexpected too! Took my breath away a bit. I was lucky enough to arrive while the monks were doing a daily ritual - fire and drums and changing and wow! Incredible to think that there are still monks carrying out old traditions all over the world. Huge temple grounds, a lovely wander around.
Next was a bit of a longer train hike to Keihin Fushimi Inari-jinja Shrine. I almost missed it on my way past, serves me right for not looking up! It was really quite pretty. Not a super fan of the foxes, they look kinda creepy, but they were pretty cool!
It was a really hot day so I grabbed an ice cream on my way back to the hostel. I got to the hostel by maybe 3:30, and I just crashed. Long day! I headed out again a bit later on, to a go salon I had found online. It seemed relatively cheap. It was in Sunshine City, a ginormous shopping mall complex smushed together with an office building. The go salon was on the 9th floor. There was an aquarium and planetarium on the roof, which I didn't investigate since it was a little late. It was really quiet at the salon, only the owner and his daughter and three other gentlemen. I played a game against the owner and two against his daughter, all of which I lost (through my own dumb mistakes against her). On my way home, I stopped off for a bit to watch this water jet display that Sunshine City just seemed to have running constantly. It was pretty cool how they timed it to the music.
Dinner, then home. It's pretty frustrating how they add tax after the advertised prices. Packed up some of my stuff for moving hotel tomorrow, then slept.