When given the opportunity to make a free return trip to Nagasaki on Wednesday to record voice-overs for a TV commercial, we happily hopped on a Kamome rapid train and made a day of it. Although it was our fourth time to visit Nagasaki City, it's been over four years since our last trip so we were really excited to return. On past visits we covered all of the main tourist spots we were interested in (Gunkanjima, the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, Glover Garden, Chinatown etc.), so this time we had the whole afternoon and no plans but to wander around exploring the streets at leisure: taking a long break at the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, finding cheap records at a great shop called Sonny Boy, and consuming our favourite local specialties - kakuni manju and sara udon.
There's a lot to love about the city: abodes piled up the sides of mountains and hills, filling your field of vision as soon as you arrive; The tram system (complete with retro-style trams) which ensures the hustle and bustle of the city is kept above ground; The mixture of cultures that makes Nagasaki unique, with Dutch and Chinese influence all around; The back streets with eateries and bars packed in together tight and messy, lanterns and a jumble of power lines above your head...
As one of the first places we explored after moving to Fukuoka, it's one close to my heart and I'm so glad we had an opportunity to go back this week.
We took the two-hour trip from Hakata Station to Nagasaki on the Kamome Ltd. Express train, with stunning scenery the whole way. The brand-new green of spring is a refreshing sight after winter, and I was excited to spot from my window the giant fruit-shaped bus stops of Isahaya City as we whizzed past. Arriving at Nagasaki Station we grabbed a quick kakuni manju (pork belly steamed bun) for lunch on our way to the recording studio.
The whole reason for our visit was to record voice overs for a bowling alley's TV commercials - the company was after "foreign voices" and despite our lack of experience we were deemed worthy. Personally I was rather nervous about it all, but when we started recording I found that it was actually quite fun. We were finished in about 15 minutes, leaving us with the whole afternoon free to wander around Nagasaki, but as Kamil has a cold (which I'm now fighting off) we decided to take it easy at first with a nice break at the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum.
Next, we walked to Chinatown and enjoyed the colours and sights of the main shotengai.
Having purchased a portable record player recently, Kamil is on the hunt for records in Japan which is great for me as I love rummaging through secondhand stores of almost any kind as much as I love listening to records at home. On the train to Nagasaki I did a quick web search and found "Sonny Boy", a well rated record shop in the city which we visited and had a good long browse (bringing home some cheap Beatles albums and a great compilation of The Everley Brothers).
On the hunt for dinner, we were disappointed to find out that the shops we had researched were all closed on a Wednesday. This took us on a meandering walk through a labyrinth of back streets.
Eventually, after around an hour's search for dinner, we gave up and went back to the main Chinatown area for a quick Sara Udon before embarking on our long journey home.
Thanks for the good times Nagasaki x