March Madness

March saw Mr. Evans indulge himself in a trip to Nagahama. Why Nagahama you might ask? Good question. Basically because I couldn't think of any other one day trips to a place I hadn't been before. So I headed up past Kyoto to eat Somen [left] in a town on the shore of Lake Biwa with majestic mountains towering over its citizens [right].

Nagahama's most famous district is Kuro Kabe Square [black wall square] which sells glass from its many glass makers as well as glass goods from around the world [I saw a considerable amount of goods from Venice]. Its also got old men pounding rice in the streets to make delicious rice cakes for passersby to partake in [left]. And as if glass and rice cakes [sold separately as a safety precaution] weren't enough to draw in the crowds they also rebuilt the ridiculously undersized Nagahama Castle. I decided to not pay to go inside and I stand by that decision to this day.

Now I don't know about you the reader of this page, but if Phill Evans is going to a glass town he's going to join in all the magical fun that glassware has to offer. That includes designing his own sandblasted glass goods. The picture to the left shows the three steps involved in the process. First one draws a picture on some duct tape, then one painstakingly [took me two hours] cuts out all the tape that he didn't draw on, and finally the kind shop people sand blast the piece for the customer. All that's left then is to peel off the tape and enjoy the beauty beneath [or in Phill's case the hideous failure beneath, which is why I chose to post a picture of the example piece from the gallery instead of my own results here].

The town of Nagahama was not without other charms though. I enjoyed meandering along its streets and seeing some oldish buildings [left]. Surprisingly nobody else wanted to join me on my Nagahummana-hummana journey.

However, my new conversational partner, who happens to work in the ticket office which sells tickets to the Spring Sumo Tournament in Osaka, did accompany (actually the reverse is more accurate) to some free seats. It was my first time to sit in the Masu-seki seats [right]. They're usually too expensive and difficult for the likes of me to get a hold of, so to enjoy them for free was terrific.

I had a pretty good view of the ring, certainly better than the last couple of times I went. I also got to eat sumo hall Yakitori [chicken on a stick] for the first time and my belly has been thanking me ever since. Yum yum.

But if you think my life simply revolves around half naked men, Venetian glassware, and shishkabobs then you sure aint thinking right. Cause there's a large part of my heart which is filled with plum blossoms at Osaka Castle Park. I try and make it out every year and since 2006 is a year, I made it out.

And you all know what comes after Plum Blossoms right? That's right Cherry Blossoms! [granted, Plum doesn't come after Cherry alphabetically, but chronologically there's no argument here in Japan] So look for pictures of Cherry Blossom based debauchery in the coming weeks.


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