Imbe (Bizen) · Okayama

So, I chose to come here in the spring to avoid the humidity of summer… and it turns out it’s been so humid (and rather hot) all weekend it made me all grumpy. After Florida I never wanted to live through this again. I finally bought some soap scented wipes so I can at least have the feeling that I took a shower when my face is dripping, but when I did that, the weather suddenly remembered we’re in early April, and changed to freezing cold. Much better.

So, Okayama. Why? It’s a rather convenient city for day trips and I really enjoyed my time there when I came in 2010 and 2012. It’s also filled with the French equivalent of Engrish. If you want a laugh, in English, French, Italian, German or Spanish, and probably in Chinese and Korean as well, head to the tiny noodle restaurant facing the castle. There are two of them. Coming from the suspended bridge, turn right, and it’s the last one, the smallest. They have handwritten menus in all these languages, and while they did try very hard without Google Translate, you’ll probably laugh so much you won’t be able to order your food. To this day, it’s still the most hysterical laughter I’ve ever had.

Anyway.

Grey skies here as well, but the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. We visited the gardens, much prettier than Kanazawa, then Mom wanted to see some pottery exhibitions (without matcha thank you very much) so I brought her to the different spots and left her there so I could wander the streets and go read near the canal. She also visited the castle, which I had already seen in 2010.

Yesterday was Mom’s day: I brought her to Imbe, a small town on the Ako line between Okayama and Himeji, and cradle of Bizen-yaki, a kind of pottery she really enjoys (I didn’t say it but she’s a potter, so there is a reason for her interest). It took less than an hour to reach the town, and after walking around with her for a while we both decided I should go back to Okayama unless I wanted to be bored to death. It’s a cute spot with a few shrines and traditional houses but after an hour, if you don’t like pottery, you’ll be dying. Leaving her there was a little bit stressful but I made sure she could find her way back.

And today was my day, another Yuri on Ice-themed afternoon, even though I didn’t plan it at all. We were in the gigantic AEON mall and were browsing the shelves of Tokyu Hands when I stumbled upon life-sized cardboard cutouts of the main characters. It made me want to go to Animate, just on the other side of the street, so off we went. Between the goods and doujins I found (so many things compared to Tokyo), I was given a coupon for the Animate Café, the same one we couldn’t go to with Ally because we had to book it. I didn’t understand any of it, I just showed it to the girl at the door of the café to ask if it was valid all day and she said yes. Mom and I went to a pizzeria and I tried to book a slot at the café. Unfortunately my name wasn’t accepted, even though I tried writing it in romaji, hiragana and katakana when asked for furigana. So I decided to try my luck and went back to the café, then showed the error message on the website. They let us in.

Screenshot_2017-04-10-16-29-32
stupid error message after I did everything correctly grrr

We had a drink (since we just had a pizza a few minutes earlier) to the sound of Theme of King JJ, Allegro Appassionato and Stammi Vicino, which means they’ll all be stuck in my head for the rest of the trip. It’s not like I already woke up with Stammi Vicino in my brain this morning.

I then bought even more stuff, before getting us both lost in Don Quijote (a hugely messy store selling everything from fireworks to underwear and snacks) to buy chocolate and weird basil drinks.

We’ll go to Kurashiki tomorrow and spend the last days in Tokyo.

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