Hamamatsu 浜松市

Hamamatsu was meant to be our final destination for the Rugby World Cup trip. Well, things don’t always go as planned..

Hamamatsu hosted the next rugby game Australia vs Georgia that was under thread of cancellation due to the typhoon. However, before that..

Before the announcement

We have arrived in a very nice hotel – located in the biggest building in the city – ACT Tower. We stayed on 40F and had the best city view that we could have. Moreover, the hotel had pretty good gym facilities, pool and amazing Japanese style sauna and spa. Cherry on the top was having Rugby Scottish team staying the same hotel! I managed to take a few selfies and chat about rugby with some of the best rugby players in the world!

As to Rugby, Hamamatsu has prepared itself well for the upcoming RWC. Local bakeries made some treats looking like rugby balls (on one shelf with Halloween sweets..:/), RWC village in the busiest part of the city, special deals in locals pubs and restaurants.  

The plan was to stay two days/nights in the city. We visited Hamamatsu Castle.. Didn’t impress me. I don’t want to be biased – I believe we have seen too way many shrines and castles so Hamamatsu one was not interesting at all. 

RWC stadium was easily accessible using the JR station. At some point I felt like back home coming closer to the venue and see Wallabies jerseys and yellow-green scarfs everywhere. Event logistics after the game was poor planned again – big crowds were slowly getting to the station in the rain and the empty roads (that could be used by these crowds) were locked away without any reasonable idea why. 

Hamamatsu Wedding Central Park is another attraction to see. Again, we have seen too way many parks already so was not impressive. However, the venue itself was well-built. It reminded me a building of European gothic style that definitely stood out from tiny old Japanese shrines. 

I have to say that Hamamatsu is event hub un Japan. There is a number of Congress venues, wedding and ceremonies halls. People are coming to Hamamatsu to book their events as it is close enough to Tokyo and centre of Japan, however, it is away from all this big city mess. 

We left just before the Hamamatsu Jazz Festival started. The “Hamamatsu Jazz Week” will be celebrated this year for the 28th time. This event, which aims for “music to be everywhere in the city, creating the city itself” has livened up Hamamatsu since 1992. It is famous across Japan and its main “Yamaha Jazz Festival” offers performances from internationally famous musicians.

During this event, jazz will take over the city in the form of “concerts for families (parents and children,)” a “street jazz festival,” a “student jazz festival” and many other activities. This week offers an opportunity for not only jazz lovers, but for everybody to experience the charm of jazz. While we were there, the preparation for the Jazz week reminded me Many Jazz festival i.e. posters around, small performances taking place in CBD, etc.

After the announcement

The storm has started on the day of the game – 11th October. Fortunately, the game did go ahead. 

However, some weird stuff happened next day. Tokyo and nearby prefectures (including Hamamatsu, Shizuoka) was isolated from the rest of the country and, I would say, from the rest of the world. Our flights had been cancelled and all Tokyo international airports stopped their operation for the next 48 hours without giving us any clarity of what’s on. 

The day of the typhoon – 12th October – people didn’t come out outdoor. I tried to find what to do and went for a walk – it was scaring quiet and depressive, like after end of the world movies. All supermarkets were close; convenience stores such as Family marts, Lawsons and 7/11s were half empty as people bought as much food as they can to survive in case of typhoon would hit the area hard. 

We couldn’t find much to do so I spend over 4 hours at the gym (proud!). We ended up at the hotel bar sipping James Bond’s martinis, making friends with one Japanese bloke and playing Uno. 

13th October – morning – no sign of any typhoon or storm. Beautiful sunny day and fresh air. I used it as an opportunity to go for a long distance run along the Hamamatsu river. Discovered another amazing thing that you will never experience in Australia – a bar where you can been any gun and do some shooting. I cannot event imagine this being approved in Australia – bar and guns in one.. That was a lot of fun and I managed to practice my showreel scenes for the upcoming projects – all details to be revealed next year…anyways.

14th October – another quiet day. We explored local shops and watched Japan vs Scotland at the hotel. We have watched the news and found out that over 40 people had died in Tokyo and around 10 Shinkansens had been permanently damaged. The country had gone through huge financial loss and RWC was seriously effected with 2 games cancelled. 

It is sad that such a lovely country with so kind people experience this type of natural disasters every year. There is a curious fact that Japanese natural disasters have been country’s cures and blessings at the same time. Throwing back to the history I learned in Tokyo Samurai museum. Japan experienced two Mongolian innovations in 13th century. Both times Japan was not ready to fight against one of the strongest armies in the world back that time. Both times Japan won because a typhoon destroyed Mongolian fleet. Japanese called this typhoon Kamikaze which means “divine wind”. This term was used later in World War II for aerial suicide attacks.

Anyways, we got some clarity on the 15th October – the earliest flight back home (could forget about the trip to Mexico already – too late) was 19th October..right back to Tokyo for Volume 2 adventures!

Ang xx

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