Amparo Bertram (spacealien_vamp) wrote,
Amparo Bertram

A capital time

Yesterday I took a trip to Otsu, which is the capital of Shiga Prefecture. My object in going was to locate Kinokuniya to pick up some reference materials for studying for the Japanese proficiency test and to check out the main branch of a craft store located there.

I found Kinokuniya without a problem, but finding the reference materials proved harder. Were they with the other language-learning reference books? No, that would be too obvious. Were they with the test-taking study guides? Nope. Were they even in the reference section at all? Not a chance. I finally broke down and asked someone where they were. Turns out they were on the complete opposite side of the store from the reference section, over by the magazines. Why?!

After that, I lugged my purchases across town to the location of the craft shop...only to find that it was closed. Now, generally, Japanese stores are closed one day per week, but--not being Christian--they have no obligation to make it Sunday. They usually choose a day like Wednesday or Thursday, for the convenience of people who work all week and go shopping on the weekends. Not this store, apparently.

Since that proved to be a bust, I went instead to their branch shop located inside a department store in Kusatsu. That, luckily, was open, and I had a chance to browse their goods. They had a semi-decent yarn collection, though they tended to focus on specialized yarn such as mohair or yarn with shiny metallic threads added. What surprised me the most was that they had a section devoted to Hawaiian-style dresses and skirts. Why?? They were pretty, but...why?

Since I was in Kusatsu, I used the opportunity to visit one of the restaurants my students recommended, a place called Carnival Buffet. For $10 ($13 on weekends) you can go in and have all you can eat and drink. (It kind of reminded me of a small-scale version of South Quad at U of M.) Considering that Japan is the land of No Free Refills where each glass of soda costs around $3-4, just having two refills means you've already gotten your money's worth. The food mostly had meat in it, though there were fries and au gratin potatoes and plain pizza (and a salad bar, not that I touched it). The one weak point was that there was no ketchup for the fries. ;_;
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