My days of long-haul operations and night stops feel like a lifetime ago.
Therefore, all the memories I possess of those glorious days are in shards and pieces—because that’s how memory really works. They are like a stack of old monochrome photos, with patches where the ink has faded, replaced by a splotch.
As I run through this stack of photos, I have fished out these few random memories of one of my favourite destinations (they eventually cancelled the route): Nagoya.
I’ve had many long stays in Nagoya. Sometimes I just camp out in the room, going to the restaurant downstairs once a day to pack enough food for a small army.
Other times, I might take a walk to the terminal—the airline put us in an airport hotel that was connected to the main terminal by a bridge.
When I’m feeling broke, I’ll have a sandwich from Subway at the airport. Only 500 yen (approximately RM 20, which is freaking cheap by Japanese standards) for a shrimp with avocado sandwich. Ooof! Subways in Malaysia could use that neat addition.
Yet other times, Broady tagged along, or me with him on his Nagoya night stop. Usually, that’s when we log more adventurous.
I enjoyed the slower paced Nagoya. Unlike Tokyo and Osaka, Nagoya is laid back. People don’t rush around like their lives depend on it. Nor do they threaten to steamroll you for existing in their path. (But they won’t verbally or physically threaten you, of course. Japanese are way too polite.)
One of the first places we visited was Nagoya Castle.
Honestly, I was expecting Nagoya Castle to be like Osaka Castle. It wasn’t, but it was fun to explore nonetheless.
Although Nagoya is more peaceful than the big cities in Japan that I’ve visited, it is no kampung.
As you can see in the picture below, it is a small city.
Exploring the city was a lot of fun. Broady and I walked aimlessly for quite a bit. At one point, we arrived at Nagoya TV Tower.
The lights were pretty, and for anywhere with pretty lights, count me in.
Of all the places in Nagoya, Nagashima Spaland has one of the most lasting impact on me. This attraction has two parts. The first is a spa.
I went there with a cabin crew during night stop. It was an experience that will forever be lodged in my memory because I had to—
Yup. To access the Onsen (hot spring), we had to be stark naked.
If tattoos – no entry. We also had to put our hair up in a bun so that it won’t “pollute” the waters.
I felt like an oversize naked hippo among the skinny Japanese women.
But afterwards, back at the hotel, I weighed myself and discovered I was a whole 3 kgs lighter.
Because of the sweat, you see. I practically drained sweat out of my pores.
I regret to inform you, dear reader, that I regained that 3 kgs within the next 24 hours.
My second time there was with Broady, and we made our way to the other part of the attraction, which is none other than the *drumroll* theme park!
With this, I could tick one item off my bucket list—the world’s longest roller coaster, the Steel Dragon 2000!
Also memorable was the White Cyclone, a wooden roller coaster that was built in 1994 and is a testament of Japanese workmanship. In 2018, it was replaced with the Hakugei.
I lost count of the number of times we rode these two. To be young and not prone to old-age-roller-coaster-nausea-syndrome.
Ah, sweet memories.
I’ll end this post with a message to Covid-19: Be gone, Covid-19, so that we may once again traverse this Earth, the way the Lord meant us to.
P.S. As you can see, I don’t have anything much to contribute to this post. Consider it a reminiscence of a time when Covid-19 was not a threat and the borders were more permeable.