Day 7 in Himeji: I woke up late because I didn’t have to work in the morning. Late for me being 9:45… I just lazed around after waking up, but decided to go for another walk around 11. I did do a lot of walking and hiking during my stay there!
First to the park behind the castle, where the castle’s reflection is visible in the ‘mirror windows’ of a museum. I walked around the park and up a little hill next to the museum, a hill that was accessible but might not have been meant for visitors. There was no sign saying I couldn’t go there, and there was a path, so why not?
I followed along the path, ran down the other (steep) side of the hill and followed the road behind the park (which goes around the outer moat of the castle) ending up at Otokoyama, where I had a great panoramic view of the city after climbing some incredibly steep stairs.
On my way back I bought yakisoba (fried soba noodles) at a street stall where I once again got answered in English though I asked them a question in proper Japanese (that question being sakana ya shiifuudo ga haiteimasu ka meaning ‘does this contain fish or seafood?’, to which they replied ‘no, is OK’ … -_-“). It was yummy and cheap though!
After finishing my lunch, I went to the guesthouse to do my laundry, and while waiting for it I quickly visited Daiso for a water bottle. They unfortunately didn’t have one, though they usually sell them. I woul have spared me a lot of money, always having to buy drinks while I had free water at my disposal. 😦
I then returned for my laundry, hung it up to dry and returned to the guesthouse once again for my evening shift. I finished the things Kyoko asked me to do, because she couldn’t do them in the morning. My first guest was in English, but later two Japanese girls arrived so I had to do check-in in Japanese for the first time. Kinchoushiteita! (I was nervous!) I failed but at least I tried! The next guest was Japanese as well, one of the only people staying for such a long time (I think he was going to stay for over three weeks). Eight check-ins in total! I’m really bad at talking to strangers so it was really nerve wrecking.
Kyoko had stopped by to prepare dinner for me, but forgot that I don’t eat fish (or at least not in Japan), so I only ate the rice and vegetables. When she came home in the evening, she realized she’d forgotten after seeing my leftovers so she made me a second dinner.
After that, I went home hoping no creepy insects or spiders would bother me again…
The next day I didn’t have to work at all, so I slept in until 10. The local from two days before sent me a message to ask whether I had plans for that day. Her daughter wanted to meet me. I had no plans so we agreed to meet up around 2 PM.
I went to the supermarket for milk and apple juice. In Fukuoka, I had made it a habit to drink apple juice every day, though I know the amount of vitamins in fruit juice isn’t that great, it’s the thought that counts… Fruit is expensive in Japan but the price for apple juice is quite alright. Since it was a habit I started to miss it and went out to buy some. Apple juice discounted, yatta! (hurray!) I’d bought instant cocoa before but after trying to make hot chocolate with water I realized that, yappari, hot cocoa need milk!
For lunch, I had the leftover dinner from the day before. Gyuudon (rice bowl with slices of beef)! After relaxing a bit, I got ready to meet up with two Himeji locals. The girl was really shy! We sat for a chat in Egret, some kind of meeting center in the same shoutengai as 588 Guesthouse, with great views of the castle and its surroundings. The mother tried so hard to make her daughter talk (the daughter who’d wanted to meet me), but het efforts were quite fruitless. After a while they took me to a purikura (‘print club’, awkward Japanese-style photo booth that instantly photoshops your appearance), which the daughter really wanted to take with me. I endured it to make the girl happy.
After purikura we walked to the station, from which we were supposed to get another great view of Himeji’s sightseeing spot. Zannen! (Too bad!) The rooftop floor was closed. We walked around the mall’s basement floor and found some interesting foreign drinks and foods (hurrah for Belgian beer…) and returned through the shoutengai. They treated me for the-cake-that-looks-like-a-fish, which I liked so much that I would definitely go there again to try other flavours.
When we returned to Egret we were supposed to say goodbye, but when the mother left me alone with the daughter for a moment to chat with an acquaintance, we finally had a bit of a conversation so the daughter asked the mother to chat inside Egret a bit more. But the daughter’s silence returned once we were inside. Maybe she was under pressure because her mom was there. Suddenly, the shutters at Egret were being closed (without warning) so we left. We said goodbye at 588 Guesthouse, where I entered to ask about dinner. Mada mada (not yet) said Megumi, so I hung out there and chatted about Belgium with a few guests.
Before returning home, I stopped by the supermarket for corn flakes (saved a lot on breakfast expenses!) and some Kitkat (mmm green tea!). I went to bed really early, hoping I would be sleeping soundly when Megumi came home (maybe I shouldn’t be writing this on my blog, but she was always really inconsiderate when leaving and returning).