What was supposed to be a 3 day “mini-vacation” in Nagoya turned out to be a 24 hour whirlwind due to bad weather, bad headaches (self-induced) and a bad case of apathy. With yet another public holiday thrown into our laps (Tuesday was Labour Thanksgiving Day) we had originally decided to take our talents to Nagoya for a long weekend, planning on leaving Saturday evening after Heather got done work and returning sometime Tuesday afternoon…(enter your favorite literary quote involving mice and men here).
At 1 p.m. Sunday I knew that it was put up or shut up time, and being a man of action, I rolled out of bed, made a bagel, and did what I do best: spent an hour searching online for the best hotel deal I could find. Oh, and what a deal it was; one night in the Chisun Inn, located right in the happening downtown district known as Sakae for a measly 4,400 yen ($50). Motivated by my good work, and spurred on by my desire to see just how much of a dump this place really would really be, we packed, hopped the train and found ourselves in Nagoya by 5:30 p.m. Sunday, only a day off schedule.
Wanting to see the city, we decided to hike it to the hotel, about a mile and a half from Nagoya Station. Luckily we did, or else we never would have found The Hub, a true British sports pub offering legitimate happy hour specials ($2.50 pint sized gin and tonics!), buffalo wings, and a 45 inch plasma showing real sports (well, soccer) in English, all rarities in Japan. I was pulled away kicking and screaming, but vowing to return.
Upon arriving at the hotel, we found that the location was actually better than we thought; one door to the left was Mos Burger, directly across the street was a Starbucks and a measly one block away was a Smackies! Not even finding a crack pipe under the bed (a true event that occurred at The Martinique in Atlantic City) could have dampened my enthusiasm. Luckily, the room was fairly large, the bed comfortable, and there was nary a crack pipe in sight.
Dinner Sunday brought an even higher level of elation in the form of Shooters, a true-blue American sports bar filled with pool, darts, live music, and curly fries covered in Cheez Whiz.
As the four of us in attendance attempted to fill three and a half months of missed pub grub meals into one night, I also reveled in two of the greatest sports bar decorations I have ever seen. Whether the comedic value is intentional or not, I’m not sure, and I don’t think it even matters. Big Mac, you’re still alive in the hearts of the Japanese!
The rest of the night can be summed up in two words that the Japanese hold near and dear: karaoke and McDonald’s.
Monday was supposed to be a day full of sight-seeing but was cut short by the deluge of rain, the first time the skies had opened up in a whole month. We still made it to Nagoya Castle, a must see, even if it is just for the giant gold fish (gold fish, not goldfish) and the Nagoya Noh Theater, where they let you try on a mask or two. By 5:00 p.m. we were back on the train headed east towards Hamamatsu, our feet wet but our bellies full.