Friday, July 15, 2016

Japan Road Trip: Giant Maneki Head

Day 16 was going to be an especially great day and an especially bad day. We woke up early to go check out a giant Maneki (lucky cat) sculpture which sits high up in Tokoname. The sculpture is named Tokonyan (Nyan being cat in Japanese) and he's only a head but he's huge and awesome! 

Below Tokonyan in the street (manekineko-dori) are a bunch of cat sculptures, representing everything from, health and long life to safety from earthquakes, peace, pet guardianship, safe travels, romantic success and my fav "prayer for beautiful women". I'll show you all the pretty pictures and tell you about my woes at the end (though feel free to skip that part!).

Giant lucky cat sculpture

Maneki instax

INSTAX! I did try and remember to take a few in Japan but I predictably resorted to digital most of the time.

The bridge you stand on to take photos of the Maneki, to be honest, it's not the most accessible sculpture in the world but I do like how he's perched up high overlooking everyone below :)

And the back of him where you can see he's only half built - gasp!

Ben snuck in for this one - it gives a good size comparison!

And the cat sculptures who sit directly below the giant Maneki head, created by a bunch of Japanese artists.

We both posed with our fav!

The bad part of the day: Later that day in the afternoon, Ben asked if I could drive. Ben had been doing some big stints of driving the past few days to make it back to Tokyo in time for our drop off the following day. I was super happy to oblige and did a few hours of driving whilst Ben got some zzzz's. At one point the GPS told me to take a left so I merged off the expressway not realising she just meant a left bend and in utter confusion I ended up in a ritzy resort place - not where I wanted to be. I knew I'd detoured wrong, so I pulled into a carpark to back out and turn around. A car had stopped for me so I could reverse out, so I backed out and as I was doing so, another car zipped around the stopped car and I backed into them. The owner beeped but it was too late. Cue the next three hours of me blubbering my eyes out, the Japanese guy in his fancy car super pissed and even more pissed we (or really Ben - I was mostly crying) couldn't communicate with him. The bad thing was the dints in his front bumper were so small and our dint magically popped out on its own by the next day but the whole thing still ended up costing me around 1000 Aus - a definite low point of the holiday. Despite the driver being super annoyed (far enough too, I royally messed up his day) the police were so delightful to us. It was many many hours and paperwork and going back to the station and background checks and phone calls but in the end all the police at the station came out to say their farewells whilst quietly urging Ben drive the rest of the way :p I still standby I'm a good driver but maybe lack the Japan, campervan driving skills :P

So that was a low point for sure but tomorrow meant goodbye driving, hello airbnb (our first one ever!) and Tokyo!!! Stay Tuned!


  1. Oh man, sorry to hear about your accident woes. I don't even know what I'd do if I every had an accident in a foreign country. You have my deepest sympathies.

    1. yeah, it was crazy or I handled it crazily, thanks to Ben for fumbling his way through it all heroically and remaining calm. You would of loved the police men though, there was a younger cop you spoke pretty good english and an older cop with okay English but he really wanted to do all of the speaking much to the annoyance of the younger cop. At one point, randomly through all the seriousness the older cop, looked over and saw a restaurant and motioned that I might want to go have something to eat, which made me stopped crying and smile :) It just seemed so bizarre and sweet and awesome all in one!

  2. Oh I'm so sorry about the accident. I think I would've been a complete mess and going back and forth from being so apologetic to the person I hit to being pissed at them for being so completely pissed too. lol -- i think you and Ben handled it so well and thank goodness for helpful police officers!

    1. I handled it, errrr, probably pretty poorly but I did pull myself out of my sad funk - which is sometimes hard for me so I'll award a gold star to myself for that :P Oh and the police officers definitely helped make me smile too!


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