October 3, 2019

We had breakfast included in our hotel rate and so M & I waited until towards the end of breakfast time to have breakfast so we could sort of combine it with lunch and skip lunch. The breakfast is a wide spread of both local and western type breakfast. Most importantly I can get an decent americano (or two) and not have to pay R65 (or more).

After breakfast M and I walked up to Hamamatsu Castle (about 1.5km from the hotel). It was built about 500 years using a stone packing technique. The stone packing is very strong because as you can tell the castle is still standing today. The castle itself (not the foundation bit) was damaged in WW2 raids but has been restored to its original condition.

The castle is surrounded by a park (surprisingly called the Castle Park!) and the grounds are quite extensive. It is a place of peace and tranquility. I said to M that you can see why gardens appeal to Japanese because they basically have no space at home (either inside their homes or around their homes). So you must value the open spaces you can access elsewhere. The different places in the garden had different significance but all the plaques were in Japanese only and google translate (while very handy for a trip like this) doesn’t do a great job on sentences.

As there isn’t a lot to do around Hamamatsu, we walked back to the hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon in the room. I managed to do some work and M wiled away the time on whatsapp and watching YouTube clips or whatever (and catching up on some sleep).

Later in the evening we headed out to get some dinner. We have eliminated the restaurants in the hotel as options as I don’t want to be bankrupt when I get home. One of the restaurants here has dinner for Yen20000 ($200 or roughly R3000) per person! There are a lot of restaurants around though at the station and also on the basement level of our hotel. We headed to the station and after not finding anything that grabbed our attention we realised we actually felt like a burger and so headed back to basement level where we knew there was a burger place. The only issue is that none of their staff spoke any English and our Japanese is limited to arigatou and hai (which the Japanese use a lot by the way).

The staff kept talking to us in full sentences like we could understand them and when we looked blankly at them they repeated it but much slower. It seems that speaking slower when people don’t understand your language isn’t just a think English speaking people do! Needless to say them speaking slower didn’t help us but we did manage to muddle our way through placing an order and we got the right things so we consider ourselves to have been successful. Japan does food well (whatever you end up eating) and the burgers were no exception.

And that was it for the day. Until tomorrow …

P & M

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