Nagasaki II - the Ryoma trail

I feel like I should get all this tourist stuff posted up because I'm off to South Korea on Monday and will have even more to write.

My second day in Nagasaki, I hit the Ryoma trail hard.

For those that don't know, Sakamoto Ryoma was a samurai who played a major role in the downfall of the Shogunate in Japan.  He united different factions so this could be achieved without going to war.  Well that's a very quick explanation anyway.

While samurai have a romantic image for most people nowadays, really most of them were just low level public servants.  They had the prestige but most of them were really poor.

I think one of the reasons Ryoma could do what he did was that, while he came from a samurai family, other branches of his family were merchants (the ones that had the cash in old Japan).  Since one branch of this family were pawnbrokers so most of the bigwigs owed them shitloads of cash and that gave them a level of power.

Anyway, after going from his hometown of Kochi to Tokyo to study kendo, he helped set up the Japan navy in Kobe.  When that was disbanded, he moved to Nagasaki.  Japan had been forced to open up to foreigners but a lot of people still believed in joi (expel the foreigners).  Actually a lot still do.   But Ryoma wanted to learn from the West and for Japan to become a world power.

I thought it would be incredibly hard since the English language tourist map had NO Ryoma stuff on it whatsoever but I'd cross referenced it with the Japanese ones I had.  Plus a woman at the bus stop told me that the bus wasn't until 9.00 (I'd gotten up really early) but then I realised I was at the wrong stop.



Ryoma gazes out to sea.
 After wandering through a nice park, I found Ryoma.  I was the only person around so I got to spend some quiet time with him, just chatting.  As you will soon see, it's a good thing I appreciated the quiet time while I could.
Ryoma and the view he gets to enjoy.
 Ryoma had a big butt in this statue.  He doesn't in any of his other statues.  I think that is because he ate too much castella in Nagasaki.  I didn't really like castella but if you have never really had cake before, just those Japanese "sweets" then you'd probably stuff yourself sick on it.

 This way to the Ryoma boots.  The signs leading between places (have I mentioned how easy it is to find your way around in Nagasaki?) seem to have this strange mix.  I am guessing there were a few older, handmade signs from back when it was only history buffs and kids on school trips interested in seeing these sights then, after the Ryoma explosion caused by Ryomaden and, to a lesser extent, JIN, they put up a heap of shiny new signs.  I like the older ones best though.

I loved this cheeky minx Ryoma best.  As you might be able to tell from the photos, in real life Ryoma = not that hot.  But I think he must have had an amazing charisma and probably looked better in real life.  The Nagasaki statue is meant to be the most life like one of them.

On Ryoma Street.  Ok, I have to confess - I farted on Ryoma Street.  I didn't do it on purpose or out of disrespect.



 Want to sell more drinks?  Just add Ryoma to your vending machine!

My mum has made comments because I apparently am wearing this dress in every photo of me in Japan.  It's my favourite dress ok -- although the next person who calls me Minnie-chan will get destroyed (physically, not just verbally like last time).

I am wearing Ryoma's boots.  They are big boots to fill.  I think maybe they aren't to scale.  Just after I took this picture, a heap of school kids turned up and they seemed to follow me around all day.

After this I headed to the Kameyama Shachu, were I couldn't take photos of a lot of stuff.

Fake Ryoma
 Most of the stuff was replica though, including this replica Ryoma working there.  I think he was glad to get a break from saying "irrashimase" to school kids.

One of the many vending machines selling Ryoma charms and fortunes.
 I headed to the river area after that.  It was really freaken hot and I needed icecream and coffee.  There was some kind of hydregrana festival going on and the river was really pretty.

Kids amongst the flowers.

Spectacles bridge - it looks like a pair of glasses when reflected in the water.
 I spent the afternoon at the Glover gardens.  Glover was one of the early English settlers in the area and he made a shitload of cash trading with the Japanese.  He also got married to a Japanese woman (as did a lot of early traders) and had kids with her.

Doing some basic maths and figuring on a few generations, this means a lot of people in Nagasaki and maybe the rest of Japan AREN'T FULLBLOODED JAPANESE.  OMG zoinks! 
The Glover's liked their mod cons

I'm not going to post many photos of the house or gardens cos, let's face, you've seen one historic Western style house in any country, you have a general idea what it's like.  I really did appreciate the esculators in the garden though cos it would have been a freaken steep climb in the heat.



This isn't half the annoying schoolkids around the place.
 OMG though, it was like every school in Japan was having an excursion to Nagasaki.  If you have some kind of illusion that Japanese schoolkids are quite and well behaved, forget it.  They are real little shits.  And I think most of the teachers were in the smoking corner sucking on fags instead of trying to control them.
Pretty, colourful float

After the gardens, I had to go through the Nagasaki ye olde entertainment museum.  I was going to skip it but it was the only way and ended up being more interesting than I expected with lots of floats from the local festival.  Also, very peaceful until the kids turned up.


Oh, Nagasaki has the oldest (and probably one of the few) Catholic churches in Japan.  I'm not a religious person but I got very offended that there was a 300 yen charge to see it.  I know you get charged to go into every shitty little temple here but this is a church.  We don't pay to go to church!

Anyway, to add to the NQR-ness of it, I found the catholic Hello Kitty.  I'm not sure if she is meant to be Mary but she's dressed in a similar shade of blue.  More like Hail Kitty really...

Manju (steamed buns with pork) are another specialty food of Nagasaki.  I got a few free samples when I was walking around the area near Glover Gardens (I called it Omiyage Hill) so I bought one for dinner.  It wasn't nearly as good though in it's whole form.

If you go to Nagasaki, stick to the freebies is my advice.

The view was amazing but unfortunately my camera isn't.

I was going to catch the night view bus for a look at the city that night.  Nagasaki apparently has one of the best night views in the world.  Then I realised every single hotel I'd walked passed had a night view bus stop so half the 2 hour tour would be picking up and putting down people at hotels.

So I saved my 1500 yen and instead took a 320 yen return trip up one of the hills on the local bus.  Even splurged and got a 215 yen beer at the conbini to take with me.  Got to look at the view just as good and saved 1000 yen!

It was pretty misty so good thing I did.


Was going to go drinking in the former and, by the looks of it, current as well, pleasure quarters of Nagasaki but decided I couldn't be stuffed.  Instead had a long soak in the bathtub in my room and got ready to head off to Kochi the next day.