It’s been a weird past month and a half, one of the busiest times I’ve had in a while. For a bit I felt like I did in school, starved for sleep and cramming something into every second of the day. I enjoyed it, or at least thrived off of it in University and I still do now, despite the fact that it isn’t healthy. But this past week or so has been more relaxed and I’ve gotten back into the swing of things. Sunday was my school’s first baseball game of the summer tournament. We won, thankfully, although it broke my heart to see the other team walking by us with tears streaming down their faces. Like most baseball games it was held at a baseball stadium in the middle of nowhere (for someone without a car). I was able to take the bus there with my school and then walked from the stadium, took two trains, and finally made it into Toyama city to see a teacher’s orchestra perform. I spent the rest of the sunny afternoon wandering around the city and refilling my water bottle whenever I got the chance. I love Toyama city in all it’s quietness.
Cherry Blossoms in Toyama City
Matsukawa is a big river that runs through Toyama city. It’s pretty all year round, but especially beautiful in spring when the cherry blossoms come. On the weekend, and most weekdays, the riverbed and surrounding park are filled with people eating and drinking together. It’s pretty popular for companies to have an outing and to see large groups of businessmen eating dinner together on big blue tarps. I went during the week this year and it pretty quiet, probably because it was so cold!
This spring has been really strange. A month ago the weather was flip-flopping, going from warm enough to wear just a shirt to cold enough I was back in my winter coat. My teacher told me it was called “三寒四温” Sankanshion – three days cold, four days warm. Although I took it as more of an expression it seemed to be a pretty accurate description. The cherry blossoms in Toyama Prefecture bloomed about a week and a half ago, and sadly I think all the petals are just about to start falling. Matsukawa river was just as pretty as last year, although definitely colder.
The Shinkansen comes to Toyama!
In the last year year or so I’ve grown accustomed to seeing the construction around Toyama station every week, the building dark on the inside and surrounded by fences and construction machines. I walked through the station for the first time on Sunday (the day after it opened) and was surprised at how moved I felt. It’s huge and beautiful and it feels like a really important moment for Toyama.
This is an image of most of the station. On the left you can see a sign that says “Toyama city” and the gate after that is for local trains and lead to the same tracks that we used before the new station was built. The big gate on the right is for the new Shinkansen. (*^▽^*)
The Shinkansen means an increase in tourism and and there is an entire new building attached to the east side of the station full of fancy omiyage. Here’s the new store that is in the station itself, which seems to have more budget friendly omiyage and souvenirs like key chains.
I know what you’re thinking, why is there a random patch of weird coloured tiles in the middle of the station? It’s actually some sort of holographic(?) tile that has different coloured lights shining on it from above. There’s also faint bird and nature noises playing that I could only hear when I walked through this area.
On the west side of the station there is a little elevated area with tables where people can eat and study. There’s also this elevator from the future.
On the east side of the station is the new terminal for the Toyama tram lines.
And a new bathroom. ( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ
And after all that excitement I was back to my usual platform waiting for my train back. On the left is one of the older JR trains and on the right is one of the newer trains that have been here for almost a year. They used to only go towards Kanazawa but now they also make the trip east. The company running the main train lines in Toyama has changed. It used to be JR but it is now privately owned.
While Toyama is not exactly a tourist destination, the Shinkansen means more and more people will be dropping in. There’s been major renovations to the buildings near the station, and even smaller cities have made changes like an increase in English menus and signs. It’s exciting to see Toyama growing and I can’t wait to take the Shinkansen somewhere, even if only the short trip to Kanazawa!