Friday, December 29, 2006

- nagano chapter: nagisa -

currently listening to – Kouya Ruten (Fiction-Junction YUUKA)
mood – upset

sidetrack 1:
the printer doesn’t wanna cooperate with me. tried switching computers in the lab but it still didn’t work. and it’s kinda saddening to see everyone else, who came later than me, leaving earlier than me with their printed papers.

sidetrack 2:
just finished watching Black Lagoon. it’s been a while since I last watched an anime which is related to mafia and crime. nice, but the plot’s slightly naïve at some points. then again every story has it’s own “naïve” points. looking forward to season 2. :D

started on Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto (?)… it’s 幕末機関説いろはにほへと in Japanese (I know, a not-so-short title). I remember learning the olden Japanese-style A.I.U.E.O during kobun lessons, the Iroha Song, which goes like this.. いろはにほへと ちりぬるを わかよたれそ つねならむ うゐのおくやま けふこえて あさきゆめみし ゑひもせす… “irohanihoheto chirinuruwo wakayotareso tsunenaramu uwinookuyama kefukoete asakiyumemishi wehimosesu”, which sounds terribly horrible if you read as it is. however, there’s actually a special way of pronouncing these phrases. the style of pronunciation was invented during the Heian Period, if im not mistaken? and it sounds something like this, “iro wa nioedo chirinuru wo, wagayo darezo tsunenaran, ui no okuyama kyou koete, asaki yume mishi ei mo sezu”. oh well, judging by the arrangement of the words in the title (it’s like.. “iroha + ni + hoheto”), I doubt that it’s “iro wa nioedo”….

back to the anime.. another bakumatsu story (oh yeah.. Kouya Ruten by Fiction-Junction YUUKA, the song that im currently listening to, is the opening theme for this anime. another typical Kajiura Yuki song..)… never get bored of bakumatsu, ne? and I’ve just found myself yet another source for my graduation thesis. **peace**

by the way, the theme of my sotsuron is Shinsengumi.


this is a continuation of what happened on Christmas, 25th December 2006.

woke up later in the morning (or was it afternoon..).. we ate our Christmas cake after singing the birthday song to Jesus (err… like.. happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to Jesus~….), and set foot for Nagisa 1-Chome, a place near Matsumoto Station. we didn’t actually know the directions, but im telling you, Japanese town maps are so efficient that even a directionless idiot, like me, could lead an entire gang of foreigners to the destination, without much trouble. one thing that makes life easier in Japan is that, things do stay at a place for some time. unlike some certain places in the world, where it’s even possible for locals to get lost due to mass renovations of buildings and roads..

Nagisa 1-Chome consists of an onsen (the Zuisho Onsen), a small shopping complex, an electronic goods shop, and a few restaurants. a fine place to spare one’s leisure time.

first we went to the bookstore to laze around. it was about the same size as the one we have near our university, not an exceptionally huge one, but has quite a variety of books. unfortunately, the English books section was pathetically small. there were only a few storybooks and novels written by relatively famous writers. if it hadn’t been my friends who were making a fuss about how few English books are found in Japanese bookstores, I wouldn’t have noticed that the number of these books are way less than what I’ve imagined. for one thing, you can’t find MPH in Japan (duh).

later, we had our second onsen session of our trip in Nagano. this onsen’s relatively larger than the previous one, with more variety in the types of bath. first, after cleaning yourself thoroughly, for the shallow bath for your feet, there were seats and lukewarm water flowed out from the top of the seats, so when you sit on it you’ll feel as if you’re lying against a river that flows vertically. then for the outdoor baths, there’s the usual boiling-hot one, as well as the lying-down type (which was further separated into 2 types, the sheltered and unsheltered ones), where one can lie down and relax in the hot bath. there’re also “personal” bathtubs, where only one person can enter at a time. other than that, we also saw a “meditation” onsen, which was hidden in a tiny building. I didn’t dare to enter coz it was too dark and steamy.

after attacking the outdoor baths, we retreated inside. we saw a milky bath, an ice-cold bath and some Jacuzzi-type baths. the Jacuzzi ones were fantastic. again, there’re 2 types – the standing ones and the sitting ones. personally I preferred the sitting one because the waist massage was incredibly good. the ice-cold one… of course I attacked. didn’t know we could actually dip our entire body inside (we got scolded for dipping our towels in the water) until we saw a lady practically swimming in the cold bath. this was even more shocking than the previous onsen outing. I could feel my whole body going numb after staying in the cold water for long enough..

siok sendiri, ne?

^ the foodcourt in Zuisho Onsen ^

^ very nice settings.. ^

^ the resting place outside the bathrooms ^

at night, we had our Christmas dinner at Royal Host, the family restaurant opposite the onsen-restaurant-bookstore-shop place. without realizing (yet) how much money I’ve spent, I ordered the special set which cost more than 1,600 yen (that’s at least twice the amount of money that I spend on my usual dinners).. which included a bowl of soup, a small lasagna, a plate of pork with lemon sauce, a plate of rice and free drinks. satisfying, I must say. although I do hope that I can find a larger plate of lasagna someday in Japan..

one of our friends (my Santa) wasn’t feeling well, so we separated into 2 groups – one to accompany her to the clinic, and the other to return at our own pace. I was in the latter group, because I was still busy attacking my cheesecake when the first group was about to leave. we finished our desserts, stole a few more teabags, paid the bills and finally, left the restaurant. we chitchatted along the way, making fun of each other….

without realizing that we went the wrong way from the point we left Royal Host.

had to trace back a little and take a shortcut by relying on the town map…. it took us ages to finally arrive at the Matsumoto bus terminal. to find out that there were no more buses back to the inn. dammit…. so we had to take a cab (coz somebody suggested that we should exercise a bit in the cold to burn our fats)…….. the problem is, the cab driver didn’t know where’s the inn and he refused to cooperate with us at first (we suggested that he follow our directions, we didn’t know the exact address). thank goodness at last we managed to reach the inn safely.

since it was our last night in the inn, the inn keepers had a little “bonding session” with all of us. we talked a lot about each of our countries (and about which university we’re applying to as well =[]=;……..) and had some shouchuu. I find this inn a very nice place to stay, economical and safe (and convenient), despite that some certain cab driver didn’t know anything about it. if I ever visit Matsumoto again, I’d definitely try to apply for a room in this inn..

with that, our journey in Nagano had come to an end. the next day, the rest of the group returned to Osaka by bus early in the morning, and my Bruneian friend and I proceeded to Tokyo.


1) kobun – classical Japanese. or is it ancient Japanese?
2) bakumatsu – the end of Edo Bakufu Period.
3) sotsuron – graduation thesis. “sotsugyou (graduation)” + “ronbun (thesis)”, get it?
4) shouchuu – a kind of… Japanese liquor?


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