Day 29/35 – Thursday July 31st
We began with a visit to the extraordinary Museum of Musical Instruments in Hamamatsu. A city of engineering excellence (Honda Motor, Yamaha Motorcycles), it is also a city of superb craftsmanship. Kawai Piano, Roland, Yamaha and other excellent manufacturers of musical instruments are also based here.
The museum contains an amazing selection of musical instruments from around the world, with good descriptions and plenty of audio samples. There is everything from medieval stringed instruments from Europe, to wind instruments and samples from indigenous musical traditions. There is a room where you can play a wide range of instruments, and the staff often play the antique pianos, harpsichords and organs to explain how they gradually evolved as craftsmanship progressed. There is the inevitable gift shop, but it is quite quirky as well, and well worth a browse at least.
From here we headed to lunch. An eclectic menu in a faux German setting (only in Japan). Some of the students became fixated on the fresh pretzels. Didn’t see that one coming.
Next destination was the Nakatajima Sand Dunes and beach, a short (15 minutes) bus trip away. Hamamatsu is really close to the sea. It was only the handful of Japanese cities that in 1945 had to endure not only firebombing, but also shelling.
The sand dunes provide a vital nesting place for loggerhead sea turtles, who usually (if female) return after 20 years to bury their eggs. An endangered species, there are intensively active local groups trying to protect the eggs and the nests.
Today was a scorching hot one. In some places it almost looks like a desert. When we hit the sandy areas, some of the students asked if they could take their shoes off. “Yes. If you REALLY want to…”
About 30 seconds later we could hear the screams. Hot hot hot hot hot…… ouch.
Hats off to Howard for the question of the day. “Raise your right hand if you could see that coming?”
Once traversing the dunes, we could enjoy the ocean. Beautiful surf, beautiful beach, beautiful views.