15th July 2017: 1,176.2 km with a stop {Japan, summer 2017}

Shinkansen are a wonderful invention (although the air-con regulation could use some work). D****e and I jumped on one to go to Nagoya [名古屋] from Yokohama at around 8.20. We were to be at Zepp Nagoya at 11:00 for the VAMPARK that was held there, which was a sort of exclusive film documentary of the previous year’s activities.

Zepp Nagoya Logo with a notice that reads Vampark 2017 and the date - 15th July 2017

After the VAMPARK and a forgettable lunch at an Indian restaurant in Nagoya station D****e headed to the airport and I continued on another shinkansen to head off to Kumamoto, where we had a concert the following day. This was because I had a RailPass but for her flying was cheaper.

In the end, it took me about 5 hours 20 minutes on trains from Yokohama to Kumamoto [熊本] in three different shinkansen. Once in Kumamoto, I got to meet the city’s mascot, Kumamon, a huge friendly black bear.

A giant Kumamon head rising from the floor. Kumamon is the Kumamoto mascot, a cartoon giant black bear with red cheeks and white snout and eyebrows

I had to invest a bit until I figured out the tram system, and that made it that – funnily enough – both D****e and I arrived at our hotel within 10 minutes of each other. After checking in we headed off to have a bite with a bunch of VAMPS fan friends at a freezing izakaya where I tried raw horse (basashi [馬刺し]) for the first time o.o.

Plate of raw meat with lemon and wasabi