SO, where are we exactly? Nagoya is on the main island of Japan, south west of Tokyo. In the map below the sprawling brown, tree-less area on the right edge is Tokyo (or part thereof) and the compact brown, tree-less area to the South East, surrounding a bay is Nagoya.
Here it is from just 40 miles.
And we live east of central Nagoya in an area called Kakuozan which you can see in the green area on this map – it’s not outer east but not inner east either, it takes 12 minutes by train to Nagoya Central station.
Nagoya is one of those cities which has semi-highrises and huge multi-lane roads and motorways all over it so it can be hard to tell where the ‘city’ as such ends and the suburbs begin – but we are definitely in the suburbs.
Nagoya is a city of contrasts… sigh, did I actually write that? Well, it fits. In Nagoya the old and new stand side by side – though not necessarily happily as much of the old is below code and is gradually being either lovingly brought up to standard (which means won’t collapse in an earthquake of 5.5 Richter) or, unfortunately, knocked down and replaced. This photo below was taken the car park of our local supermarket.
And this is around the corner from the supermarket on my way home, it really is a beautiful thing to see – I hope it doesn’t disappear…
Even the new has its cutenesses though, this is our local florist 🙂 As well as the obviously cute name, if you look carefully on the left of the door (your left, not the door’s) you will see white pointy things hanging down – these are small paper cones about the size and shape of a large waffle cone from a generous ice-cream parlour and they have small posies in them! There is something so delightfully child-like about them they always make me smile when I pass.
Bringing you closer to our new home now, this is our street – it is off a major road (6 lanes, I think) called Higashiyama-dori (dori being Japanese for road) – our railway line is Higashiyama and apparently it runs under the road for most of the way – I assume the railway line came after the road, though.
So, as I was saying, this is our street which is very green for Nagoya. I have no idea what the street is called – it does have a name but it’s in kanji which I can’t read and the addressing system is not related to your road so I have not yet had a chance or need to find out.
FYI the addressing system is rather confusing, everyone lives in a ‘cho’ which is an area and you live in a block within that cho, needless to say the GPS system in which you can enter phone numbers to find places has taken off here as even the Japanese find it difficult.
Kakuozan is very, very hilly and off our street are roads which are either like this not-so-steep one (seriously there is one near the supermarket which is more than 45degrees – no exaggeration!)
Or pedestrian-only streets like this one.
If you look carefully on the left edge of this shot, you will see Superman standing at the (out-of-shot) gate to our apartments!
And these are they – DEFINITELY a member of the ‘new’ architecture faction! I didn’t take this shot very well it looks like the building could go up and up forever but actually the window on the left (which is our study) has no building above it. The block is really more of a set of two story villa units built up the hill. You can’t see the first floor of our apartment at all because of the wall around the entrance porch but our front door is below the study window, as is the kitchen.
Not hugely interesting pictures I know, there has been little time for sightseeing as yet – there is a temple near by which I will visit soon and a local fire festival soon, too but for now the above is pretty much all of Kakuozan I have seen outside of ward offices and supermarkets/shops that sell things like bathmats and laundry supplies! Touristy pictures will flood in once I am a) driving and b) living in an apartment with furniture… but you’ll see how it is next post in a fascinating tour inside…