Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Roadside kitsch

This weekend was spent looking for some of the stranger local tourist attractions. First up we returned to Takayama, but this time we visited the Hikaru Museum, which is apparently run by some religious cult that thinks we get all of our feelings from light or something. They have a massive building that's eerily empty. We walked into the enormous lobby mid light/laser/music show, which was truly bizarre. Other exhibits included a dinosaur fossils, recreations of ancient works of art, and a giant room containing an enormous statue of the cult leader standing on a UFO. We also later visited their huge temple which contained a fish tank that stretched the entire length of the giant pulpit and they offered us free sake on the way out. Seemed a little too "try the Kool-aid!" to us so we declined.

On Sunday we decided to explore a little more of Ishikawa's Noto Peninsula. Our first stop was Hakui, Japan's UFO capital. They celebrate this status with a little museum. The girl selling tickets was very excited to repeat her speech encouraging us to take the "おもしろいエレベター” (interesting elevator) all the way to the second floor. It consisted of a black light and some glowing stickers. Up top the exhibits were a little more impressive, consisting mostly of life-size models of various spacecraft. Also present were several UFO photos, and this adorable alien autopsy model:

Besides rubber aliens, Hakui is famous for a beach you can drive on. The novelty of driving on the beach wears off after approximately 50 feet.

Our friend's car is adorable. There's an all electric version and if I were forced to drive for some reason I'd probably get one.

Next we went to the Ganmon caves, but the stop after that was probably the most pleasant serendipitous discovery. I was under the impression that I had been made aware of all of the Noto's tourist attractions, but somehow I missed THE SINGLE GREATEST SIGHT IN ALL OF THE NOTO. Screw Senmaida. The Wajima morning market? Fuggidaboutit. This, my friends, is the longest bench in the world. It goes on forever. Marvel at its beauty.