Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sendai 仙台

Saturday marks my first real trip to Sendai. I went up there with my friend Kumiko to do some Christmas shopping, and I can honestly say I am now 75 percent finished with my shopping! Whether I get everything shipped in time is another matter.

Sendai is a very large city North of my city, Koriyama. It is famous for its lights festival, which takes place sometime in mid December, and is about the closest I will ever get to Christmas lights here in Japan. It was apparently heavily bombed during the Second World War, and has the trademark wide avenues and slightly more logical layout of Japanese cities that were extensively rebuilt during the occupation. Now the city center is filled with overpriced department stores.

We went shopping and looking around at a number of different places, and I ran across a LEGO store, and a big bookstore. I picked up a guidebook to prepare for my coming trip to Korea, as well as a copy of The Chrysanthemum and the Sword. The book is an anthropological survey of Japan conducted during the War. It goes into extensive detail about Japanese culture, character, and attitudes. I have started reading it, and I'm finding it extremely fascinating.

Kumiko also took me to a great restaurant where I tried awamori for the first time. Awamori is a kind of liquor indigenous to Okinawa. It tastes kind of like a mix between yellow listerine and paint thinner. Think of a spicy Italian grappa, only served up steaming hot. It was definitely a kick in the pants.

Also in the big city of Sendai, they have Eddie Bauer! Unfortunately things were WAY overpriced (khaki slacks were going for about 80 bucks), and I figure I can wait until my next trip back to North America. They also have a Subway, but I had already eaten by the time I learned of its presence.

Stay tuned for when I visit Sendai again during their "Lights festival."

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