30 June 2023

2023 Japan Adventure - Part 7: Nagasaki

I did not expect to take over a month to publish my next Japan Adventure post 😱 I'd like to record my thoughts about this first-in-my-lifetime experience before my memories start to fade, so here's hoping I can power through the rest of my adventure quickly!

Last time we departed Kagoshima and headed toward Nagasaki. It was close enough that we didn't need a day at sea to reach it, so I got to enjoy my second-ever docking event right away, which was a procedure I never tired of the entire trip 🥰

Saturday 18 March 2023 - Nagasaki

The view of Nagasaki growing ever closer was breathtaking.

We passed this little island on the way to the port and I thought it was so unique! Indeed, I never saw another quite like it on this trip. Doing a little research today, I've found its name to be Takabokojima, which means Tall Spearhead Island 🗡️

We could hear the welcome performance before we could see it...

...an epic taiko drumming show!!! 🥁🥁🥁

Something as simple as a banner made us feel not just welcomed but wanted 🥰

Our excursion this time took us to Arita, in Saga prefecture, a town famous for its ceramics. We started with a walking tour of one of the ceramics streets, which was almost all ceramics shops 😯 This was also basically the only day I got to enjoy using my umbrella!

This graveyard was interesting because the walls surrounding it are made from old kilns!

Here our tour group is entering Fukagawa Seiji, the seeming largest and most prestigious ceramics shop in the area. They have made banquet ware for the Imperial family!
My visit here is one of my fondest memories from this entire trip...

...because they sold VOC-style ware and I was able to talk to the proprietor, in Japanese, about why this was so exciting to me! (VOC = Dutch East India Trading Company) I bought this VOC cake plate, one of the spendiest souvenirs of my trip, but totally worth it!

I think the proprietor resonated with my excitement because he disappeared after having an employee show me the VOC section, and then reappeared later to give me these learning materials for free! You see, my excitement came from the early modern period art history classes I took as part of my illustration degree. I'm looking forward to sharing this story with my professor!

On top of all that, my visit to Fukagawa Seiji also ended up being my first experience acting as a translator! One of my fellow tourists was trying to ask the shop's proprietor about the difference between two plates he had shown everyone. She wanted to know if the yellow, opaque one was cheaper than the white, transluscent one. Turned out, the yellow one wasn't cheaper because it wasn't for sale at all. It was the result of a mistake! I have to admit I was extremely proud of myself for being able to help facilitate communication between these two people 😁

After our walking tour, we took a short drive to another fine ceramics shop, Genemongama, which was situated next to a museum and a lovely garden~

My husband, Sean, took this beautiful photo of the garden pond 🐟

On the bus ride back home (🛳️) our tour guide made things fun by running a game of bingo after teaching everyone numbers in Japanese. Afterwards, she gave us all handmade bookmarks featuring classic Japanese imagery 💖

This view of Nagasaki as we crossed a bridge was magnificent ✨

This is the most awesome advertisement for a museum!
We didn't get to go but it's definitely on my list for next time! 🦖

At departure time, the students of Yamazato Junior High offered us a farewell performance 🥰

The band played us several songs, including one from My Neighbor Totoro!

Once again, I was so moved by this generous farewell that I felt bittersweet about leaving!!!

Sean and I got some nice selfies with twilight Nagasaki before we left 🌆

Our ship, the Silver Muse, looks lovely at this time of night, too~

A view of us with the pool and attached restaurants. Dreamy!
We never ended up getting in the pool, though...my only regret!

After this, the ship departed while we enjoyed dinner and dessert, and then we went to bed! Our next stop? A brand new country for both of us: Korea 🇰🇷 I'll be writing about our stay there next time, including our first brave foray into a port city UNGUIDED Σ(っ °Ð” °;)っ Spoiler alert: It was awesome! Please look forward to it 😄 Until then, thank you for reading and please stay happy, healthy, and safe!

P.S. Here's a bonus photo of my VOC cake plate in its new home! Writing this post inspired me to finally set it out for display. It's on my bookshelf behind my PC workstation (where I am typing this very moment!) so that I can gaze at it every day while I work 😍 Appropriately, it's on the same shelf as my art history books~