Japan 2023: Day 7

I just spent 6 hours watching videos on how to identify back pain by a PT and so far I think I have problems with my piriformis but I also have ruled out the piriformis. At least I ruled out just about everything else as well. At this point I think it’s muscular, and I sure wish I was at home so I could get a decent massage. The ones here I know about are nice but they’re more “relaxation massage” and I need deep tissue. It’s a very unlocalized (i.e. not sharp) pain in the side of my hip and it hurts so bad that I’ve considered cutting my trip short. Walking makes it worse, going up stairs makes it worse, and I think the only thing that really helps is lying down.

I haven’t been getting great sleep either. I thought I’d sleep better since it was colder but I remember looking at the clock at 4AM and then next thinking it was time to get up and it was only 4:10AM. I passed out on the train this morning and once in the afternoon and I’ve been in the hotel since checkin time at 3pm. I also had dreams during my 10 minute nap at 5pm, which isn’t right. And I even had a dream about my college girlfriend last night. Weird.

But enough complaining. Here’s MORE COMPLAINING.

I got up to get my “free” Toyoko Inn breakfast and since it takes a while for the hip/leg thing to loosen up, I didn’t have an appetite. They even had curry rice! The miso soup had clams in it and there were other things on the menu that I didn’t grab. This is all I had from the buffet.

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After that I took three ibuprofen and bought some back plasters for my side. That is what made me so sleepy that I was unable to stay awake on the train. I got to Saga without much trouble and I suppose there really isn’t that much here. But the little that is here was pretty interesting. At breakfast I met an elderly Australian couple who were on a two month trip visiting their kids and they mentioned the castle in Saga was only one story. Not all Japanese castles were big towers on hills. I decided to go and had to take a lot of breaks even with the aid of the Advil and back plasters. Here’s a picture of the main gate. The rest was a huge sprawling one-level house.

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As with most castle reproductions I’ve been to in Japan, it was a museum of the local history. Saga is a big city with an important history building some of the earliest forges to produce cannons and ships and trains. Sadly Saga doesn’t have a lot of interesting attractions so, like I said, it’s always at the bottom of the list for the most beautiful prefectures and usually in last place unless it gets beat out by Ishikawa prefecture. I don’t think it deserves to be down towards the bottom.

I then walked to a neighborhood with several old houses, walking through two very large shrines that were right next to one another. Luckily there were plenty of places to sit on the way. When I got to the “old bank” I noticed there was a cafe inside and decided to have some lunch. I probably overdid it.

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Here’s another picture of the salad on its own. It wasn’t tiny.

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I even had dessert. (That’s ginger ale in case you were thinking it was booze.)

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Then I decided to go to the free observation deck of the prefectural offices and it was really nice.

After that I took the bus back to the hotel and checked in at 3pm to watch videos on how to fix your back pain. Six hours later I knew nothing other than it’s probably not something awful. It still feels like it though.

I did leave at 7-ish to get some dinner. I was still pretty full from lunch and was thinking rice balls and sandwiches from the convenience store but I went to a bakery. I didn’t bother taking a good picture.

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The bread would’ve been better fresh but it wasn’t bad. Curry pan, cheese pan, something with beef, and that one at the bottom is an oddly shaped melon pan.

Oh and I’m staying at the Comfort Hotel. It’s quite a bit more expensive than the Toyoko Inn but most of the improvements are cosmetic. I’ve decided I’m really not a fan. It’s clean, though, and I hope I get some better sleep tonight. (I just realized the pillow is only a couple of inches thick.)

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