After looking at the greenery I crossed another pedestrian bridge and found myself in a park. I explored a bit and suddenly stood in front of some European castle-like building. Interesting… All other people went up the same stairs, but I, as always, chose to explore the more ‘adventurous’ path. I even wondered whether I was actually allowed to entered that side, but since I couldn’t spot any 立入禁止 (tachi iri kinshi/do not enter) sign, I assumed it was alright. It was more interesting that way. 😉
There was a nice view of the city and especially the surrounding mountains. I spotted another miniature German castle and found out about an observation deck… I walked around the deck twice but was unable to find an entrance. I found signs saying “please take the elevator to go upstairs” but the elevator was nowhere to be found! No observation deck then… Zannen! (Too bad!)
As I walked down the little mountain, I found a deserted and overgrown playground. I always find strange, eerie or interesting places while walking around aimlessly… That’s why I prefer this over “hey, let’s go where this guide book recommends us to go!” (which reminds me of something that happened two weeks ago… A co-worker at the book event I sometimes work at told me they had the Lonely Planet for Japan and for Tokyo, to which I replied I don’t use guide books because they’re always outdated so quickly… But of course also because 1. they’re heavy, 2. they can never mentioned everything and 3. exploring and ‘getting lost’ is so much more fun!)
It was half past 3 when I left the mountain and took a different way back. A way that, with its dismal atmosphere, wasn’t the best choice, so I kept on walking in the direction of the big street I came by. By the time I finally found that street again, I was only a few meters away from the station.
I came home about an hour later and didn’t do much afterwards. For dinner, I decided to get Lotteria (like McDo). I had only eaten at Lotteria in Korea before, but it was okay there so I thought why not… Boy, was I wrong! I got a set with teriyaki burger and my usual melon soda. I could only taste salt, the burger was the thinnest burger I’d ever seen and even my beloved melon soda tasted like chemicals. A big waste of 620 yen! (4,70 euros) I even finished the whole meal in less than 15 minutes, and I’m a slow eater…
On my way back, I noticed how deserted the shoutengai (shopping arcade) was. Compared to other places I’ve visited in Japan, Himeji really is kind of like countryside. It’s a city, but you don’t notice. Shops and restaurants close by 9 PM or earlier, even places like fast food restaurants and coffee shops are closed by that time. Okay, compared to Belgium they’re still open late, but for Japan I felt like it was really strange.
In any case, I came home and didn’t do much, my cold was still horrible so I didn’t feel like doing much anymore. I wanted to get some sleep but Megumi would probably wake me up again when she came home, so I waited for her to come home first. When she was already asleep, a weird sound came from outside the window. An insect chirping inconsistently. An insect chirping isn’t all that bad, but the inconsistency of the sounds annoyed me so much. Can’t these animals just make a consistent sound so I can finally sleep?!
I was still awake by 2:30, so I decided to try an earplug in one ear… which turned out to work really well. Should have thought of that sooner! 😉