Oh boy, sorry for the delay. It’s been almost a month since my last post! Yikes! Well after recovering from a cold and a busy October I am back in the game.
About two month ago a friend invited me on a day trip to Nagasaki. We took the first train out of Karatsu at 6 am and after a brief mix up at the Saga Station we arrived in the port city around 10 am. Our goal for the day was be full out tourists.
When I travel I tend to meander back and forth through cities instead of plotting my route and following a time table. I have no hate for tourists and tourism, I just prefer to explore off the path and hate being rushed. I let K handle the navigation and we set off with a list of places to visit.
Our first stop was Hollander Slope and the Story Book Museum and Book Store. Unfortunately I don’t have decent pictures of Hollander slope. It was my first peak into Nagasaki’s international history. Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to arrive in Nagasaki in the mid 1500s and set up trade with Portugal. Later the Dutch would bring in their own cultural influence. What we seen now is a mix of Japanese and European culture that stretches through religion, architecture, and food to name a few.
Hollander Slope is aptly named due to its Dutch influences. The sloping road is all cobblestone and the buildings lining the road were a mix of European architecture. Shops sell souvenirs/omiyage, castella cake, flowers, clothes, and food. On a bright sunny day it’s a cute route to walk.
The Story Book Museum was something we stumbled upon walking up Hollander slope while making our way to the Oura Cathedral. This adorable museum and bookstore sits in an old brick mansion a little ways back from the road. A small stone path lined with flowers and a small yard (which is rarely in a big city) lead you entrance.
Above the door you can see this statue of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin perched within the vines. Inside you slip into guest slippers and surround yourself with children’s books. The bookstore takes up the first floor and I was surprised to find many foreign fairy tales and books translated into Japanese. There were also many Japanese stories mixed in.
One of the best ways to learn a foreign language is to read in that language. Fairy tales and children’s books are a great place to start for beginners. With this in mind I chose the Russian fairy tale Baba Yaga. It’s a bit unconventional considering children’s books are also a great way to learn about Japanese culture, but I kept returning to it as I perused the aisles. After purchasing the book, K and I made the executive decision to skip the Museum on the second floor. Time was a-wasting and our list was long. It’s not like the shop was going anywhere and I would be back.
Hopping back onto Hollander slope we continued on our way to the famous Oura Cathedral.
Stay tuned for Part 2!