Chasing Cherry Blossoms
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Matsuyam-aaaaaah, let's get trollied!

Because you can never have too much puri-kura, baby.

Another weekend, another opportunity to escape to the big city! It’d been a while since I’d seen Tom from Hiroshima, so we’d planned a weekend in Matsuyama together: a chance for Tom to see Shikoku for the first time, and for me to reacquaint myself with city living (and puri-kura!).
I was woken up on Saturday morning by a terrifyingly-close sounding crack of thunder. Looking out of my window, it was clear to see the Weather Gods were smiling down on Ainan once more...(PSYCH). Still, I didn’t let it deter me from the mission at hand: hood and umbrella up, I hopped on a bus to Matsuyama!
By the time I arrived, it was getting dark; and with Tom’s ferry not due for a few more hours, the mission of finding somewhere to stay for the night was mine. I’d arrived with no reservations and figured I’d be able to make something happen... sometime later, having been turned away from four fully-booked hotels, and one available hotel wanting to charge £130 for a night (no wonder it was bloody available!), I started to wonder whether I’d been too impulsive. That is, until I stumbled upon a quaint little backstreet guesthouse! Figuring I had nothing left to lose, I ventured in. But before I could even get up the stairs, I bumped into a super-genki California gurrrrl called Erika. Speaking to her, I learned that she’d only arrived in Japan the night before and was here working at the guesthouse as a cookery teacher. That being so, she was more than happy to fix me up with the last remaining room! And at just £13 a night, it was cheaper than even the local Capsule Hotel (and a LOT more comfortable!). ...looks like they’ve found themselves a brand new regular customer!

Lunch with Erika... oiiishiiiiiiii!

 Erika having been in Japan for little over 24 hours, I agreed I’d show her some of my favourite local drinking haunts – I don’t really know the city that well, but having stayed there for almost three weeks last month, I certainly remember a few good places to quench your first! So off we trotted to a 300 Yen bar to begin the night’s festivities... not realising at that point that we wouldn’t be back home until 6AM. I don’t know how we managed eight hours straight drinking... all I know is that, by the end of it, I was SHATTERED. We’d asked the owner of the 300 Yen bar if he knew where the closest place offering nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) was, and in typical Japanese fashion, he not only knew a place, but personally took us to his favourite spot. What a hero. And when you rock up to a bar and the first thing you see is a local emerge, take one step and fall flat on his face, full-on taking a billboard down with him, you know it’s a place you wanna be. So that’s where we stayed. Until sunlight. With a short break in-between for puri-kura, of course.

Erika and Tom!

Yup, that’s the beauty of Japan right there: I woke up in the countryside not knowing where, or with whom, I was going to spend the night, and I ended up drinking in the city until the sun rose with a brand new Californian friend. Awesome.

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