Articles on Japan / Travel

The Drive Home (Takeda Jō Part III)

久しぶり!

I’ve already told you about my trip to Takedo Jō and my experiences at the actual ruins, but our adventure was not completely finished there.

As I said in the earlier post, it was already getting to be dark and we probably should have headed home. However, we couldn’t help but think, what could be better than a daytrip to see (ruins of) a castle? TWO castles! I had already been to Himeji twice, once to visit the castle and once to visit a friend’s family, but when I heard Yuuki had never been there I knew we had to at least try. I also knew that the castle had been under reconstruction for quite some time now, but I was hoping it would at least be visible.

…yeah, that didn’t work out so well. This is the best picture of the castle I managed to take while we were driving. A majority of it was blocked off.

 

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It was also about 9 p.m. by the time we reached Himeji, so even the station mall and outdoor mall were closed. There was literally nothing else to do but…Park’n Park.

 

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Okay, so perhaps I found this a little more amusing than I should have.

 

We wandered around for a long time trying to find a decent place to eat with a decent price. But most of the decently priced restaurants were not decently open.

 

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Not even Hello Kitty would accommodate us.

 

It was mostly just izakaya. We wandered around looking in hopelessly at restaurants we couldn’t afford, much like how we spent Christmas. But then, oh glorious then, did we stumble upon a ramen restaurant.

 

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Yuuki attempting to blend in with the locals…and failing because he wasn’t alone.

 

But then the magic happened. We ordered ramen. And oh my, was it ramen. I don’t remember what the type of ramen is called where you dunk the noodles or add the broth yourself, but…that is what it was.

 

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I am not a huge pork or ham person. I usually avoid meat associated with pigs unless it’s in the form of bacon. Because bacon. But this pork was so incredibly tender and flavorful, I wanted to order a second helping of just the meat. Oh my gawd. I am salivating now, five months after the fact.

 

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We also got some gyuudon.

 

I left knowing very well why there were so many salary-men hanging out here.

 

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Thankfully unknowingly to us, we were not too far away from a famous chicken restaurant called 山ちゃん that Yuuki had always wanted to try. I say thankfully because then we might have eaten there instead and never had that beautiful ramen experience. We decided to get a box to go for the next day (they lasted until we got home at 2 a.m.).

 

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Granted we didn’t eat them fresh, but we were both underwhelmed by the chicken. It was good, no doubt about that, but not extraordinary or unique, at least to our discerning taste buds.

 

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I also found it weird that in a restaurant famous for its chicken, the glass between stalls was covered in designs of fish.

 

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With that we bid Himeji adieu…

 

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…and said a brief, drive-by hello to Kobe.

 

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I realized as we drove through the countryside at night how much I was going to miss this. It felt…normal. It was more what I had imagined having a boyfriend would be like, someone to join you on what could otherwise be mundane drives. With all the driving I was soon to do, bringing my sister to and back from college in Minnesota, there were still to come more than a few times where I would miss his company and wish we could have a normal relationship. After all, that’s what a companion’s supposed to do, right?

But I still remembered to enjoy it as it was happening. Yuuki was his normal goofy self, and I was happy to capture it on video! He doesn’t always show his silly side when there are others around, but now I have proof. I’m pretty sure he always has a song in his head. Keep in mind that at this point it was probably around 1 a.m. and we were both tired, the radio wouldn’t work, and Yuuki decided to entertain us both.

Oh, and we overslept and almost had to pay for a whole other rental car day. Luckily they were both directly under Yuuki’s apartment, and kind. They said if we got it there filled with gas within the next forty-five minutes they wouldn’t charge us. So we ran in our pajamas to the parking lot and sped over to the gas station. It was the first time I’d ever experienced one where they fill it up for you, it was so strange for me. Even stranger, that whole journey only came to about USD $30 (as far as gas goes). I just filled my tiny car up today…$40. Unbelievable.

I hope you enjoyed this virtual roadtrip!

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2 thoughts on “The Drive Home (Takeda Jō Part III)

  1. Pingback: Takeda Jō (Part II): Japan’s Machu Picchu | An Inkling

  2. Pingback: The Trip to Takeda Jō (Part I): A Photo Blog | An Inkling

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