And so, we arrived to Nagasaki. This was the place where we were almost going to experience a capsule hotel. Almost, because we were kind of cheating: the First Cabin Nagasaki is not a tomb-like capsule hotel, since you have a room as big as your bed (a normal sized bed) for yourself, wall to wall with your neighbours. And you have a proper ceiling. You do have shared facilities so really, apart from the less claustrophobic personal space, it is like an expensive hostel (it was not the cheapest place we stayed, it was actually more expensive than the accommodation in Yufuin! :O ). Also, the man at the reception was probably the first (and second to last, more of this later) rude Japanese in our entire journey.
Kakuni Manjo – so delicious
Once we dropped our suitcases we decided to go for lunch. Nagasaki is a city with a long commercial history; there is a big Chinese community there and a Chinatown, which is one of the biggest touristic spots in town. What better than going for lunch to Chinatown, then? And this is when, for the first (and I think last) time in Japan, we had an underwhelming meal. And expensive! We just ate a couple of (very meh) baos (we love baos, more of this later) and I can’t quite remember what else. We ran away from Chinatown not looking back, just after buying a Kakuni Manjo (a bao dough sandwich with pork belly filling) from a street vendor that was waaaaay nicer than the lunch we had just had.
We hopped on one of the horrific street cars that had given us an unforgettable ride to the hotel area from the train station and we went to the Bomb Museum. The second nuclear bomb was not dropped in the city centre, but in the industrial area north to the main portion of the city, which was protected somehow by the hills cradling it. There is no need really to talk more about the visit. It’s impacting, blood curdling, awful, and a must go to museum if you ever go to Nagasaki.
In the evening we went to Dejima, a man built island in Nagasaki bay. Nagasaki is a very tortuous city, nestled between hills and with a big, narrow harbor where, to this day, ships are still built by Mitsubishi.
The sight from the restaurants along the bay is beautiful and the place where we stopped for our dinner was also lovely: for a tenner each we had a bowl of food, side dish and soup, placidly gazing over the water.
We then went back to the hotel, where we separated: me and Cookie went to the girls cabins and Lunch went to the men capsules. How did the night go you ask? I loved the concept of the hotel, but, as always in these places, if people around you are not mindful, the noise can become quite annoying. The girl in front of me was a Rustler, for example: I don’t know how many packages of crisps and/or cookies, plastic bags and more paraphernalia she managed to take out of her suitcase, just to put it back in in a different order more than three times (and this only at night, since she went at it again in the morning). That, together with the noise that the blind makes when it’s slid down, made for quite a restless night.
When we finally got out of the hotel, we headed once again to the bay, to board our boat for Gunkanjima, the Battleship Island (of which we saw a lot of ads everywhere, not knowing what that was and thinking it was a weird poo emoji). The visit took the most of the morning, and it was very interesting since it gave us a beautiful view of the Nagasaki harbor, a nice trip out on the sea, and the incredible story of Hashima Island that was, for a brief moment in time, the most populated piece of land on the planet. What we thought of as the Weird Nagasaki Poo Emoji is in fact, a mine, above which the island was located. The trip is worth it, but don’t expect too much of the island itself. Since it’s very dangerous to walk around because the buildings are all in ruins, you are only allowed to walk on the island in very limited places and the time you spend on it is probably around 30 minutes. It’s worth the trip though, in my opinion.
Nicely toasted after the trip on the sea, we had another lovely meal at the same restaurant where we had been the night before, and we headed towards Glover Garden. Oh, on the way we finally tried the Clear Coke (they are crazy about “clear” stuff over there) and the verdict is: it tastes like Sprite with a hint of Coke, so why bother.
Up we went to Glover Garden, then, through conveniently placed escalators.
It’s lovely to have a walk overlooking the harbor, through old Western-styled houses, creaky wooden floors and beautifully kept ponds and gardens. We took our time there, and by the time we were back down in the city it was almost dusk.
We heard drums being played and we went to see what was happening. So we discovered, at the entrance of Chinatown, a group of school boys and girls rehearsing with a massive paper dragon. There was a tv crew, a guy who looked like a presenter, a guy who really looked the “director” and some curious people wandering around having a peek at the scene. The director called every passer-by to come closer (us included) and we managed to watch a very nice show put up by the students and become TV celebrities! We were asked by the director and the presenter where were we from and the bubbly (because he had a can in his hand) Sergeant Lunch replied: “Ailulando!”. Everyone seemed very impressed with us.
We later discovered that the presenter was this Yoshio Kojima, who was famous because of the following dance (yes, he always did it with the speedo):
Japan, uh! 😀
We found him thanks to the dance, because he did his move a couple of times and everyone seemed to be very pleased. Obviously, from then on that was my move too, whenever I was feeling like doing the idiot (which happens quite often).
After our 15 minutes of glory, we were happy to go for dinner close to the hotel. By chance, we wandered into an Izakaya where, after a highly embarrassing moment with our shoes (Where do we have to leave them? Do we have to take them off here? There? Oooh, we have to put them in these cute lockers…) we sat down for a lovely Japanese tapas meal and headed for our hotel, packing our bags (silently) before our trip to Osaka.
I realize in this post there aren’t many food pictures, but I am telling what we ate, broadly speaking… I was busier eating than taking pictures, which is always a good thing in my opinion 😉