Yesterday, I reverted into tourist mode again and went to the nearby Himeji castle for a look-see. I was determined to take in views of the castle before it gets all covered in scaffolding. I hadn’t thought much about it until last week, when the ex-ALT (a guy who did not recontract, but who has decided to stay in our town anyway) said “Oh yeah, the scaffold thing. They’ve already started that.”
I paged through my planner with vigor, searching for a weekend wherein I could take the 45 minute drive down to this White Crane Castle. I’m pretty booked for the next couple of months, it turns out.. birthday parties, Cirqu du Soleil, international festivals and speech contests.. trips to places like Hiroshima, Kyoto… then Halloween… this is amazing to me, to begin with, but I’ve also fixed “October” in my mind as the time when the castle gets covered up by workmen’s materials.
But then, luckily, fellow JETs informed me that our plans to go to Tajima Car Rally were actually for Sunday only, and that they were kind of iffy anyway. So I sent out a mass email, and went down to Himeji with JET-L. We toured the castle just before closing time, and walked around the adjacent park for a while, before we went to a used bookstore selling books in English and had dinner of Iranian food. Last stop was the three-story hyaku-en store where I bought way too much crap and had to haul it (plates, cups, and bowls) back to the car.
But our touristy Himeji day was nice. If I get a chance to go and do it again, this time without going inside the castle, just visiting the ten “best viewing spots,” I shall. It’ll be a shame when that exterior view is covered for seven years.
They HAD begun to set up scaffolding, but just on one of the outbuildings. No panic.. yet.