Our last day together, and last day in Nagasaki, started out with a ride on the street car down to Glover house. Nagasaki has a really interesting history, not only for the bad that happened here, but the beginnings of the opening of Japan to western culture and knowledge. Mr Glover came to Japan at the age of 21 and started setting up companies and took advantage of the opening of Japan to create businesses and wealth. Along with him came other westerners who created this little perch of a settlement that has the oldest western home in Japan still standing.
After spending a while walking around the gardens and houses, we walked around more to other shrines and finally to ‘MeganeBashi’, a bridge that with the reflection in the water, looks like a pair of bifocals. We had another nice Sashimi lunch of raw fish, and continued walking around the town.to
At the end of our walking around, we found a small street with shops, so we started to look around at things. This was the real Japan that I was wanting to get something from, off the beaten path, but things available for festivals such as dolls, decorations for various holidays and such. I found a really cool drum, but it was a little big for what I pictured for an item in my bookshelf. We then came across a shop with an old man inside who at first seemed not very energetic, but when I started speaking in Japanese asking questions about things, he jumped at the opportunity to speak to me.
Since he was a young man, he’s participated in the Nagasaki Glee club, a quartet of 4 men, and absolutely loves musicals. So much so that at the ripe old age of 79, he is still planning yet another trip to New York (after his trip somewhat recently to see Phantom of the Opera) hopefully soon.
All the items in the shop were hundreds of dollars, so definitely out of the range of what I was looking for, and a bit too nice as well. However, when I got to the back of the store, there was this cute little stand that held a beautiful robe for the traditional boy’s day celebration. The price tag was $30, so I asked if that was just the stand, but it was the entire set. It was beautiful, so I ended up getting it.
We continued our walk, and found a total hole in the wall antique shop that was so narrow, I had to literally back up without turning around to retrieve myself from the items. There were all sorts of things from pottery, to clocks, to fabrics. However, on the bottom of this little stand, sat an old steel Kabuto hat, shapely and the perfect size of what I’d been looking for. The gold wings that shoot straight up from the center of the hate had a patina of sorts on it, and the tattered orange cords and tassels were worn and ragged. But it was perfect. I told myself before I went on this trip, that I should not hesitate if I see something that I would love to showcase at home, and this is when that came in handy.
Thinking how I would send this home, I asked if she had a box for something like that to ship. She didn’t really have anything, but coincidently, sitting literally beside it was an old box with Japanese characters reading, ‘Official documents Box.’ It was a perfectly wooden box with a latch, old and ragged, but very cool and sturdy. We put the Kabuto inside, and it was a perfect fit for being able to ship home, along with anything else I want to ship in the next day or so.
After the purchase, we carried it back to the hotel where I got my backpack and we were ready to part ways. Shoko’s plane leaves tonight, and I’m making my way back down the island to Kagoshima to see Mt. Sakurajima, the volcano at the very bottom of Japan. Nagasaki was a really beautiful seaside town with hills, history, and interesting mix of western an eastern architecture, and definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in Kyushu.