Our Trip To Nagano-shi

At last, here I am and manage to get my hands on the keyboard again. I have failed on my attempts to update this blog for a couple of times since my last entry. So, I think this time it is just the right time and right mood to actually complete and publish another one. I guess, this one is going to be a very long one since there are so many things for me to write down. Okay, that is actually a reminder or a warning =)

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

I cleaned up the entire house so that the home could greet us in its’ best once we got back after the tiring long journey soon. In the evening, I baked a coffee cake named Raspberry Boy Bait to be eaten during breakfasts and along the journey. Actually, it was the Blueberry Boy Bait but I substituted the blueberry with raspberry and so that’s why the name. Next time I should just use the blueberry because it would taste better. On the night, he got home late and I spent like hours in the bathroom working out with my tear ducts. I packed all our things into our backpacks, played games on the PC and finally fell asleep.

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

We got up early, had breakfast, took bath, made ourselves, packed up few more things into the backpacks, cleaned up few more things in the kitchen, turned off all the switches, turned on the air freshener and locked up everything necessary. Namiki-san arrived at 6.30 a.m to fetch and send us to the bus stop at the highway. It was so kind of him to agree to help us. In fact, he helped us a lot, always. We waited at the bust stop. It was already bright but the weather was still very chilly. Our bus arrived at about 6.50 a.m. The journey by bus only took about 2 hours and half. We reached Nagano-shi Train Terminal at 9.30 a.m. I went to the toilet, he bought a bottle of green tea and two onigiris, we went into the station and checked the city map there.

We just walked to the Nagano Immigration Office and reached there at about 10.00 a.m. His working visa will be expired on the end of this month. So he needed to renew his visa and apply for 3 years visa. He took out all the papers and submitted everything at the counter, filled in the forms needed, waited for the papers to be processed and finally got the receipt in his hand. Everything was smooth and no problem at all so he should get the visa approved for 2 or 3 years by this week too. I managed to finish up another one chapter of Sandra Brown’s, The Crush while waiting for him. Well, I got distracted with other foreigners with variety of languages, colors, faces and of course the high-pitched yelling of the toddlers and kids. Honestly, most of the time; I got distracted by some people who got distracted by me. They just loved to see me, I guessed ;P Well, I am different and special right, no?

At about 11.00 a.m we walked out the building and heading towards the Zenkoji Temple. It is one of the famous temples in Japan especially in Nagano. We asked a few people we encountered along the pedestrian walk and reached the temple after about 20 minutes of walking slowly. Since the weather was also very fine, the place was thronged with lots of people and most of them were Nihonjins. The area of the temple were very wide and we even had to walk quite far before we actually reached the main temple area. Still, we had to pass the sea of people in front of us starting far before we reached the main gate. We walked slowly and finally we were standing right in front of the main temple hall. I was afraid to get in. Actually, I was being silent since the night before that. He got mad when I didn’t want to enter the temple. We turned and took a bus back towards the train station.

We got into a fight again. We sat silently at one corner inside the wide train terminal hall. I ate one onigiri and 2 tablets of Panadol. My head was aching and my eyes were about to puff even more after that. Long silence. He asked. I answered. I asked. He answered. We argued. We yelled towards each other in very low controlled voice only enough for us to hear. He talked. I talked. I paused and couldn’t continue to blurt any more words. I knew people around near to us must be aware of me crying. I didn’t want to. But the tears kept running down my cheeks. I was only looking towards outside the glass pane. Looking at the train moving, the birds flying, the beautiful blue sky and thinking of why should I be like that at that time. I didn’t want it to happen, but it happened. I didn’t know how many people were actually looking at me and I never wanted to know tho’. Although I could be the center of attention because I might be the only girl in Nagano-shi who was wearing tudung at that time but I was so sure there were lots of people too who didn’t notice me crying. Okay, call me a ‘drama queen’. I think I just born to be one. But believe me, I never wished to. I was having the mood swing because of the period too and that what made the situation more worse. Perfect.

After about more than an hour, he asked whether we should continue our trip or just took a train and went home. At last, I managed to say that I didn’t want to go home or else everything would just be the same as usual. It won’t change anything in fact the same thing would happen again. At least I wanted things to be sorted out at other place far away from home. After some more talking, finally he coaxed me. He did it anyway even I knew he might be didn’t want to. He ate his onigiri and drank some water. Then he hugged me from behind, and he pulled me to sit on his lap. Finally we walked away and went to check the city map board again. I went to the toilet for a while to check my face. Fortunately, I still looked good =) After that we walked together side by side and he held my hand. Firstly, we got into the drug store and I got a female thermometer for myself. I am happy that at last I got one. It has a few cool functions which explained its’ 4000++ Yen price (about RM120++). Then we went to a cyber cafe since I needed to get my friend’s phone number. I forgot to message her earlier and saved her number in the hand phone. The cyber cafe itself was cool and looked very exclusive indeed. It got a cafe, comic section, and internet section for individual, business, groups and so on. He got us a free refillable orange ice-crushed and re-filled it two times during the one hour I used the internet. He was only browsing the comics there while waiting for me.

After that, at about 1.30 p.m we decided to search for the Smile Hotel we booked earlier from the internet. He noticed two Africans who kept staring at me while we were walking and he decided to turn back which made us had to walk around the same area twice before we could finally heading along the road towards the hotel. We encountered a Japanese old man who was pushing his bicycle and asked us, “Which country are you coming from?”. The blur me couldn’t catch what he was saying and I thought he was asking in Japanese but luckily hubby managed to answer, Malaysia to him. We didn’t stop in fact we just walked passed and smiling to him. Only after that I became conscious and felt pity to him and felt like wanted to turn back to have a nice chit-chat with that old man. Hoho saya memang cepat kesian. Sorryla pakcik, nanti kalau kiter jumpa lagi saya berenti lah and sembang2 dulu dengan pakcik yer. Saya memang kuat blur la pakcik. Anyway english pakcik memang mantap lah dan pakcik nampak sangat baik hati dan comel bila senyum. Rugila saya tak dapat beramah-mesra dengan pakcik =D

Then we came crossed a Body Shop and decided to get in. I bought a 60 ml Oceanus perfume and a black eye-liner for myself. Actually I wanted to buy the White Musk since mine is about to finish. But suddenly he suggested me to try the Oceanus and I also remembered a friend who really liked Oceanus. Found out that the Oceanus smelled sweet too but less strong than the just nice sweet-smelled White Musk. I had to spray the Oceanus many times since the smell didn’t last long or was it because the smell was indeed so soft? He said he could smell it on me while I couldn’t. Somehow, I was satisfied with the purchase as long as the smell isn’t the strong type. As for the eye-liner, I was planning to get myself a new one but haven’t decided yet the brand, type, color and all. But I just grabbed it and put it on right after that while getting ready for the evening walk =)

We reached the hotel at 3.15 p.m and checked-in into the hotel room, number 621 at level 6. The room window was heading towards the side view of a shopping complex which we could see the parking area. Not a magnificent view at all but still that was okay. I still could see many things that happening outside. We got a semi-double room for ourselves with the price of 5000++ Yen per night. I believe there are other cheap hotels available but that was the cheapest we could find. However, the small room was so much comfortable to us since everything was provided except for the air-conditioner that wasn’t functioning properly which made the room less cold. I think, they just had set it that way since the weather now is still the cold early spring. Besides, the room also got a shower and bath tub, the toilet attached, an electric flask, tv, make-up table, bla bla bla and the best part was they provided many towels too hehehe ;D (as if I don’t have many towels at home lah kan? ok tetiba rasa gedik dan suka masa tu). We rested until evening since we checked-in. We took bath and he performed his prayers then we got out again at 5.30 p.m to find place to eat. We hadn’t gotten many choices even though there were dozens of eateries available at every left and right side of the road. At last we ended up settling into a sushi restaurant. The restaurant just started to resume its’ operation after the afternoon break. There were a woman and her daughter who were about to leave when we entered. So we were the only customers left.

The sushi there was slightly expensive than at the restaurant we used to go near to our place. Hubby said the sushi tasted more delicious and fresher but as for me I thought the opposite. I thought the sushi was less interesting, less choices, the shoyu was too salty, the desserts weren’t in many varieties, the ginger pickle was too hot, less juicy and less sweet, I didn’t like the seat we sat at, I didn’t like the tea cup because it was too hot and I couldn’t handle it and I didn’t like the water because it was too cold. Besides, I didn’t understand and very curious to know why the sushi makers were whispering and giving signs towards each other and while we were eating I noticed one of them checked our backs from afar and gave an O.K sign to another one standing in the sushi counter in front of us. Hubby said that might be they wanted to check whether we were eating or not since that kind of sushi restaurant has professional sushi makers ready to take our order and instantly prepared fresh sushi for us. So, since we weren’t making any request, they were just standing in the counter, walking back and forth and once in a while I noticed them looking at us with the tail of their eyes. Hey I’m good at noticing people who actually talking about me or looking at me even from afar. In fact, sometimes I knew what are they talking about and could even read their lips, looks and minds hehehe ;P Ouh not to forget, I am a good complainer too. As an overall, the sushi was okay also were the restaurant and the professional sushi makers =) But I still prefer the sushi restaurant available at our place because of many reasons plus the best part is the sushi is cheaper and we didn’t have to look at the plate design and worry about the price at all =P We finished eating at 6.00 p.m. More customers were coming in when we wanted to leave.

After that, we enjoyed the evening and night live atmosphere. At our place, the town nearest to us has already dead at 7.00 p.m. It was fun looking at the people, the variety lamps colors, the activities held and so on. We went into Midori, a shopping complex. I found a snicker same as mine except that the stripes were in metallic pink which was the one I preferred. I found variety of Nike snickers which I first planned to buy before. I was also attracted to cute and cool Skechers snickers available there. I also found soo many handbags suited my likings not to forget a sling back in brown color PVC or leather exactly the type that I had been eyeing since long ago. To add even more, there were the type of jackets, coats, tops and hair accessories that I had been searching high and low to buy. Unfortunately, I had already bought a snicker and a sling bag a couple of weeks ago. Same thing went to tops, jackets and coats. Some of the mentioned things haven’t even been used or worn yet okay. Honestly, I was feeling SO BROKE and DISAPPOINTED. So SAD okay and I was about to cry since even though at last I found the things I desperately wanted but I ended up couldn’t buy them. I had learnt my lesson. Next time I should just keep waiting and hold myself from buying anything until at last I manage to buy the things exactly as I want. WAIT FOREVER if I have to!!! Huwaaa!!! Hubby knew I was sad, I lost my mood and I decided to hurriedly get out of there. No point of luring at them and made my heart aching and torchered at the same time. Although I blamed him but I knew he was right that I shouldn’t really follow my desire only. He still hesitated-ly agreed to buy the sling bag or handbag for me but I didn’t like to make him feel uneasy because at the end I would feel unhappy with the purchase too. Alright, thought about money saving already! =P

We walked back towards our hotel and stopped at Tully’s to have coffee. I had a hot cafe latte and a cheese cake while he had a cold honey cappuccino something and a New York pumpkin cheese cake. We talked about many things when we were there. The weather was chilly but I felt comfortable and nice with the environment. At least, it lessened a bit the missing towards the city hometown in Malaysia. We snapped a few pictures before at last we decided to go back. It was only 8.30 p.m but we were both already exhausted. At that time we haven’t confirmed yet whether we wanted to go back on the tomorrow of the day or extend our stay for one more day. We watched the Jurassic Park movie showed on tv until finished, he slept for a while, I prepared the bath tub, I woke him up, we had our body soaked in the hot water right in the midnight, changed our clothes and slept soundly.

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

We woke up at 8.30 a.m and he said he didn’t want to go back yet. I told him to go to the lobby and inform the check-in counter first while I took my bath. At 9.45 a.m he got back to the room and decided to continue sleeping since he still felt restless. So, I continued to sleep too. We woke up again at noon. We took bath and he performed prayers. We went out at about 1.45 p.m and headed to Lotteria to had breakfast cum brunch cum lunch there. We had ebi burgers, frise and soft drinks. I was delighted since it had been months we haven’t had munched any burger since our last time at Burger King at Taipan. After that we took a bus to go to Zenkoji Temple again. The distant was actually quite near and we only paid 100 Yen per person. Unfortunately it was damp and rainy on that day. Once we reached, we bought a small umbrella first from a shop. Even though the weather wasn’t fine but there were still many people visiting the temple.

The temple is believed to be at about 300 years of age already and it is one of the oldest temples in Japan. There were many souvenir shops along the left and right sides of the straight path towards the temple. After a while walking, we encountered a gate which has a very tall and big sculptured Demon on the left and right side of the gate. The Demon’s feet were chained and they both were imprisoned in the gate walls. The Demons face and skin looked very scary to me. They have the faces of somewhat like a wolf with sharp teeth. Each of them was holding a stick something like devil’s hook. Of course I didn’t take any picture of them okay, unless someone would pay me at least thousand bucks then only I would re-consider. But still I would delete the picture straight away =P There were also sculptured objects at the behind of each Demon. The objects were also guarded within the wall and seriously the wall was very dark in it. I could hardly see what was inside it even though it was in the middle of day bright. Well, no way for me to attentively checked them tho’. Thanks a lot ;P

We continued to walk up and there were somewhat like small houses or traditional small buildings along each side of walking path that are used for worshipment activities or prayers. We also started to encounter a few smaller worshipment sculptures and then after that we reached the tall and huge main gate. We went through it and we saw the main temple standing right in front of us. There were many people praying and doing worshipment activities around the area. We could also see a few other tourists but of course I was the only one who looked very different. There was an Indonesian girl with her Indian or Bangladesh looked boyfriend with their 3 others Indian friends. The girl approached us and we spoke like chicken and ducks and at last hubby and she were speaking Nihongo between each other hahaha funny okay! I didn’t answer her first because I was blurring whether to speak English or Malay even though she asked me in Indonesia and of course I did understand her. Okay, silly me ;P Happened that she is doing her diploma in Japan and I don’t think she is a Muslim. Ouh yeahhh, her bf and his friends were kept looking at hubby and I said to him that might be they thought he was from the same country as them and then I laughed hahaha ;P ‘Hey you guys, my hubby is Malaysian okay and can’t you see he is much fairer?’ Of course I didn’t say that hehehe =D

Hubby was eager to get into the main temple hall. I wasn’t so sure whether actually we could enter the temple’s worshipment and prayer hall and be in there or not. Hubby said it was okay but actually I scared if there would be any people who felt uneasy with our presence in there, that’s all. We entered anyway. It was so dark inside there and there were many people praying and doing worshipment activities. There were many statues big and small and I could see a gold statue being touched and rubbed by worshippers. Far inside the hall, there was the main worshipped area, statues, and objects. I hardly could see what were there because it was so dark but I could see many objects with gold in color with the help of mere dim light from outside. There were smoke and smell of burned joss-sticks everywhere especially inside the main temple hall. We got out after about nearly 5 minutes being in there. Furthermore, I didn’t think it was a good idea for us to get in further too. We continued to walk all around the temple area. There were many worshipment buildings used for particular activities, old cemeteries were scattered all around the temple area, statues and sculptured objects were everywhere, a traditional hand washing area and beautiful trees and sakura trees which started to grow leaves and buds. Unfortunately for us, there were many buildings were under reconstruction or maintenance and that wasn’t the time to have a great view of the temple too. It was still in the beginning of spring and merely few trees and flowers started to grow leaves and flowers while most of them were still in naked state. We saw a few postcards sold that showed the view of the temple during the four seasons, and the pictures were magnificent.

We managed to snap a few pictures but of course we avoided to snap the pictures of the ‘interesting’ and ‘important’ parts of the temple. Hubby didn’t mind but as for me, I just didn’t feel right. We got into the souvenir shops and bought an omiyage for Namiki-san, two key-chains which have Zenkoji Temple written on them, a traditional Japanese accessories case and a packet of black sesame for cooking (as if I couldn’t buy it from the suppa kat rumah, ngengada ok =P). We walked towards a shopping street which I forgot its name. Hubby was so excited to get there and we imagined the place somewhat like Sanjo Kyoto (I couldn’t find any other better websites that have the pictures of Sanjo Kyoto) where we had been to before, only after that we found ourselves very disappointed once we reached there. The street wasn’t happening and interesting at all and seemed half-dead. We didn’t get anything there except that suddenly we came across a game or pachinko center. We got in because I had been dreading to take fancy pictures of us. We had done one before when we went to Sanjyou Kyoto but we didn’t really know how to make it. This time was okay but still hubby was panicked as usual and we only got 3 poses of us printed even though 6 poses were snapped earlier. Apa lah Abang ni hehehe ;P I love doing that thing, and I’m sure going to make it again someday so that I could make a collection of our fancy pictures =D

Right after that, we planned to go back to hotel but unfortunately we got lost. The rain was drizzling even more, we got wet and our shoes got dirty. Obviously, it wasn’t a good idea to share a small umbrella. We wrongly bought that umbrella earlier before that haihhh. At last, we managed to get back into the hotel after a few minutes arguing over which way to go. We bought onigiris, strawberry tea, cafe latte and junk foods from the mini convenient store in front of the hotel. We were starving okay. After eating, we rested and lying in the bed and finally fell asleep. I woke up at about 8.30 p.m and prepared the bath tub. It was still raining outside and he cancelled to go out furthermore we couldn’t think of any suitable place to eat. Of course there were lots of eateries but we had the halal issue there too. At about 9.15 p.m we took bath and got soaked in the bath tub together again. I prepared the water to be less hot and just nice not to make me hardly to breathe as yesterday. Not that we don’t have a bath tub at home. But at least we didn’t have to think about the water bill when we were at the hotel hohoho. We had a really long slow talk when we were in the bath tub. Okay, don’t get me wrong. We weren’t having major marriage crisis or whatsoever. It just that sometimes marriage could be very complicated. I had read somewhere that one of the toughest things to handle after marriage is the process to know and tolerate with each other’s partner. So, I thought that’s what happening to us. We thought we knew and understand each other so much already. But still why there were things we couldn’t understand and tolerate with? Came to think back, it was ridiculous that we always got into fights over small particular matters. Every time this kind of thing happened, it would usually turn into major and we both became…SAD. Somehow, we love each other and we knew no body was wrong and no body was right too. We came to the conclusion that we have to work much harder to win each other’s heart and make each other happy. That’s all. Well, nothing is easy right? So does marriage also has its’ ups and downs. It lies to us on how we want to overcome all the challenges and obstacles together.

After like more than an hour in the bath tub, he performed his prayers and went to the mini convenient store again. I was waving to him when he was in front of the shop and he was searching for me. But he couldn’t find me since he was looking not left enough towards our room. He bought drinks and foods. We ate. Brushed our teeth, washed our faces and went to sleep. I was awakened two times, first at 2.00 a.m and second at 4.00 a.m when I heard someone trying to open and push our door. I was so furious and curious to know who and why on earth he did that??? I got up every time I heard the noise and walked slowly towards the door but I couldn’t see anyone through the door hole. Perhaps he had left. Hubby said might be someone was drunk and falsely thought this was his room. But I said that couldn’t he read his room number huh? Duh~~~! I noticed that there was a group of Nihonjins staying in couple of rooms around our rooms. Might be they were having business trip or whatsoever. But they kept making noises all the time. Hubby said he saw one of them in only towel locked outside his room, one was changing shirt with the door opened and a few others letting their doors wide opened too. Okay, I understood the joyfulness when being in group, so never mind.

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

We woke up at 8.15 a.m and straightly had breakfast with the foods left from last night. We packed up our things, took bath and continued packing after that. We cleaned and cleared the room to be a bit decent. At about 9.20 a.m, both of us were readied and hubby suggested that we took our last picture in the hotel room. I climbed and jumped on the bed when suddenly I felt the bed shaking. He was about to angry with me since he thought I jumped very hard that made the bed shaking. But no, the bed continued shaking even more followed by soft rumble sounds of the building and earth. Okay, it was an earthquake and I asked him, “Abang, tak nak lari ke? (I was still sitting in the bed)”. He said, “Takpe kot (still standing with the camera in his hand)”. The shaking became slower but suddenly it continued shaking harder and at last became slower again then disappeared. The Nihonjins group were screaming and making noises with each other. They said the jishin was very long, it happened continuously two times, the shaking was quite hard and it was so scary. Of course we felt and thought the same too. I jumped off the bed and hurriedly wore my socks and shoes. But still we snapped a simple picture of us together sitting on the bed. There was no time for extra poses just in case the jishin struck again.

Thinking about staying at the 6th level, of course it was much scarier. The Nihonjins were still having havoc conversation in their friend’s room. It was funny too to see their acts hehehe. Of course we would act the same if we were in group ;P We checked out from the hotel and walked towards the train station. He checked the trained available and bought the tickets. There were many train delayed or cancelled because of the jishin. Actually I planned earlier to meet my friend but after considering a few circumstances, we cancelled the plan. Coincidentally she wasn’t at home and was having a fever when I called to inform that we planned to go back earlier. We went to Lotteria again and had ebi burger as our lunch and then only we took the 11.23 a.m to 15.16 p.m train. It was so tiring to be in the train for more than 3 hours. It wasn’t fun to have the sight seeing since the sights were not at its’ best yet. Mostly everything still looked dull, most of the trees were still naked without flowers and leaves, the soil didn’t looked green yet but still pale brown, blackish or dark, so were the branches and sticks of other kind of trees, a few sakuras have just started to flower only and the sights of the mountains weren’t splendid at all. Plus the gloomy weather, that made the sights even boring.

We reached the eki near our house at about 3.20 p.m and walked up the hill towards home. Once we opened the door, the sweet-smelled home sweet home smell greeted us and how we were happy to reach home safely. Everything was organized and in its’ order just the way we left them. I took bath and unpacked our backpacks and fell asleep. As for hubby, his friend came over so he went to trainees’ house to meet his friend. On the night, we just had simple dinner and hubby slept after we watched a short tv series. I was waiting to watch the Seniman Bujang Lapok on the VTTV via the internet when suddenly I watched the Dunia Jam 10 at TV2 which reported and showed the jishin in Japan which happened earlier in the morning. Only that I realized how high the magnitude and the place we been were actually quite far away from the place where the jishin struck. No wonder I could obviously feel the jishin and the real swaying and shaking moments. It was so scary okay. I fell asleep after watching Seniman Bujang Lapok half way. I was so sleepy and worn out, of course.

Monday, March 26th, 2007

I told him about the jishin and only that he realized how bad the jishin was. Then I told him, next time we should just ran away no matter how hard or slow the jishin would be before it would be too late. Okay, he got what I meant. As an overall, the trip to Nagano-shi was okay. But there weren’t so many interesting things to discover in Nagano-shi itself. Plus we were being concentrating on one area only because we taught other area also got not many interesting things to offer. I think, Nagoya-shi and Osaka are much more fun to travel to. Still, I enjoyed the trip so much. At least we did refresh ourselves too. We were happy and we are still now =)

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