Sunday – April 9th, 2017
Today was the first day that the group split up. Dan stayed in Osaka to see a bunch of sites in the city while Pete and I ventured out to Aichi Prefecture to visit a few car sites.
First however, we had to get there. Rather than go into the details of our travel, I’ll give you the cliff notes:
We got up around 6:30 and left the apartment by 7:30-ish. First we took the subway from Nippombashi to Namba Station (1). Next we took the subway from Namba Station to Shin-Osaka Station (2). Then we took a Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Nagoya Station (3). Here is where things got a little tricky.
In my notes it said to take the Higashiyama train from Nagoya to Fujigaoke Station. However, what I failed to add was that in order to access the Higashiyama train, you need to exit the station and enter at a different part that is, for whatever reason, not connected underground. This led to us going the wrong way a bunch of times and eventually asking an attendant where to go.
Once we figured it out, we stopped and grabbed breakfast at the Mermaid Cafe in Nagoya Station. After, it was back to smooth sailing and we took the subway from Nagoya to Fujigaoke Station (4). On the train, Pete and I noticed the guy standing in front of us had a cool design on his shirt. I told him so and at the next station we got out.
We then transferred to the Linimo train (light rail) -which also required us to get out of the station and enter a different one- and when we got to the platform, who was standing there but cool shirt guy. Somehow we got to talking and came to find out we were all bound for the Toyota Automobile Museum. We took the tram from Fujigaoke to Geidaidori Station (6; total number of trains it took us to get to the museum).
As we rode to the museum we basically became “single serving friends” (see Fight Club). He told us he his name is George and was/is from the Czech Republic and we commiserated over our love of cars.
This entire train process took about 3 and a half hours.
Toyota Automobile Museum
When we got to Geidaidori Station we walked to the Toyota Automobile Museum together and unofficially decided to check out the museum together. The first thing that stood out about the museum was that the employees, mostly female, were super traditional and respectful, bowing any time you did… anything. Next, for whatever reason, instead of it costing 1,000 Yen, it only cost 500 Yen (~$4).
Toyota 2000GT and a Sports 800
The museum was laid out in historical order ie. older cars first, newest cars last. While George and I were looking at an original Fiat 500L, an older gentleman/employee opened the door for us so we could see inside. He explained things about the car and would continue to do this -opening doors and hoods for us- intermittently throughout the museum.
Eventually we got to a Mercedes 300SL (Gullwing) and when George saw it, he turned into a little boy. He ran over and immediately started taking pictures. It was adorable. As we continued through the museum, the inevitable happened, I was at the end of the hall and moving on to the next and Pete was just beginning the hall; taking pictures and looking at EVERYTHING.
Because I knew we had one other thing to do in the area and because I wanted to get back to Osaka in time to get more than just these two things done today, I was sort of in a rush. Naturally however, Pete took his sweet old time.
I made the mistake of telling him there was an “Annex” too, and so of course he wanted to check it out. Then he want to shmy in the gift shop. Then he wanted to go to the car meet in the parking lot and had to have a super long conversation with the owners. Then he had to look at a classic Mini Cooper in the parking lot and had a chat with the owner. All of this led to leaving 2 and a half hours later than I wanted to.
Next we made our way to Liberty Walk, a wide body kit company that’s popular in the tuner car scene. Getting to LW involved taking the Linimo train from Geidaidori to Yakusa Station (the end of the line (7)). There we switched to the Aichikanjo Tetsudo train -for which we could not use our IC (PASMO) card and had to buy a regular ticket- from Yakusa to Setoshi Station (8).
Next we had to get out and change stations to take the Meitetsu train from Shinseto to Sango Station (9). From there it was a straightforward (12 minute) stroll to Liberty Walk. When we got there, I was wondering if Kato-san would be there. No sooner did I mention this sentiment to Pete did I look up and there he was talking with some kids a few cars away. I was going to walk over but I didn’t want to disturb him.
Liberty Walk Cafe
I kept looking at cars until an employee came over and asked if I needed help. I told him I was looking for Kato-san, and he brought me to the LW cafe. There he was, sitting with an older gentleman. I walked over and started chatting with Kato-san. He smiled but did not respond. Seeing this, the same employee came over to me. “He doesn’t speak english.” I had the employee translate and during our conversation, found out that he is Kato’s son!
Huma (pronounced Hue-mah) took a picture of me and Kato-san and then, after instructions from his father, gave us a drink on the house. After that he gave us a tour of the two LW facilities. We chatted and hung out and got pictures of the shops. Pete took his sweet time looking at everything and finally, after we both got some merch, we made our way back to Osaka.
Liberty Walk Garage
We went from Sango to Sakaemachi Station (10). There we switched to Sakae and took the train to Nagoya Station (11). From Nagoya we took the shinkansen to Shin-Osaka station (12). And finally we took the train from Shin-Osaka to Namba Station (for a total of 13 trains in one day).
From there we walked back to the Air BnB and met up with Dan outside.
When we got back to the Air BnB, Pete took a nap, I organized some stuff on my computer and Dan did the same on his computer. After about an hour or an hour and a half of chilling, Dan and I were ready to go, so we woke up Pete and we headed out. Pete and I had only had breakfast and we were starving so we grabbed a bite at a greasy meat/noodle place down the street from our Air BnB.
When we were done, the game-plan was to go to Dotonbori and maybe to a bar. I was pretty chilly and had been to Dotonbori the night before so I deiced to go home and write this. Pete and Dan ventured into the night and I let them in about an hour and a half later. I then contined to write until I completed the day.
So, because of all this I’ve decided that on our next free day, I’m breaking away and doing my own thing so I can finally accomplish all of the things I’ve been putting off. If I don’t, I’m gonna start resenting people and that will put a dark cloud over the trip.