We took the trolley back to our usual place near the ropeway, but headed to the shopping arcade across the street first. I wanted to find some arm-covers, which are ubiquitous among (mostly older) Japanese women in the summer, along with higasa. They are long, fingerless gloves that protect your arms from the sun & they seem very practical to me. Tomoko had found hers at Mujirushi, so we went there first.
Mujirushi is a rather unique store, selling only their own Muji line of goods, many of them recycled or streamlined & very basic. They have everything from clothes to housewares, furniture to food. I found a pair of arm-covers in cotton & a pair in silk on sale- woot! Charlie & Brendan really enjoyed looking at the food section. There were the usual beverages like iced tea, but then they had an assortment of interesting sodas- Brendan & I both tried the sumomo plum flavoured one. They had everything from preserved squid & octopus in packages, to candy, soy milk doughnuts, & a whole line of do-it-yourself packaged foods, like puddings, spaghetti sauces, curry sauces, & baked goods mixes. We bought a few to bring home, & some soy milk doughnuts for breakfast tomorrow :)
We ad a little time till lunch, so we headed to the big Mitsukoshi department store across the way. Tomoko told us that the flagship store is in the Ginza in Tokyo, & it was one of the first big, successful department stores in Japan.
We were kind of wandering around there when I spotted some ties on sale, so we went to look (Charlie is always looking for ties for work :). He found a couple that would match some of his shirts (including a purple one with white polka-dots!), & then he saw they had spring-type tie clips. He has an awful time finding these in the states, so he was delighted to see some on sale here. He got one for himself & then suggested Brendan pick one out, since he is entering his time of interviewing for school & jobs, etc. We felt like we'd scored quite the booty here at Mitsukoshi :)
It was time to find our lunch place, so we headed back to the ropeway to find it. Yuka-san had suggested that we try one of the few vegetarian restaurants in Matsuyama, & with a name like "Charlie's Vegetable" how could we resist?
|Lisa's bi-king lunch|
The after-lunch plan was that Charlie would join Tomoko & her mom, who were going to meet Tomoko's Matsuyama aunts (her father's sisters) & then all go to see Matsuyama-jo, the castle on the top of the mountain in the middle of Matsuyama. After reading about it, the castle seemed a bit difficult for me to navigate (you'll see why later) so Brendan & I planned to go back to the hotel & rest a bit.
Since there was some time until everyone was meeting, we headed to Starbucks for dessert :) We promised to meet again when we come back in two years & then Brendan & I said goodbye to Nobuko-san & Tomoko & got on a trolley back to the hotel. It was hard to say goodbye!!!
While we rested, Charlie had quite the adventure, on a few levels. He was the only guy meeting some (elderly) Japanese ladies he'd never met before, & fortunately Tomoko could translate for him. Also, the castle is only accessible by many, many stairs or a cable car- they chose cable car:
We got it together to go find dinner after this. There was a little temple I wanted to visit before it closed, that Charlie had seen & told me about, so we headed over to the Enmanji Buddhist shrine before dinner. It's tiny, & right in the middle of a parking lot, but it has some beautiful statues & cute omamori.
|Enmanji omamori & friends :)|
Then we unpacked & repacked our luggage (arrrrrgh!!!) to try to make everything fit. Tomorrow we make the long journey (~7 hours) by train back to Tokyo.