From my post about sumo and these Nagoya pictures you might think that Nagoya is a great place to visit. Let me disabuse you of that notion with this post, “Nagoya Sucks”.

1. It is a city of 2M people, where the streets feel deserted and everyone is waiting 45 minutes to eat dinner at the train station.

2. All I wanted was kishimen (local noodles), but instead I ended up wearing a pink smock, eating a $50 steak and listening to a woman warble Air Supply songs at a piano dinner show. [I did get kishimen for lunch the next day.]

3. Everything was closed by 9:30P.

4. Our hotel had a “Lounge Club ABBA” in the lobby, which we went to and it was CLOSED!! [But they did have a rotary phone in a quilted cozy on the cashier’s desk.]

5. The Linimo mag lev train rides 6 to 8 mm off the ground and leaves every 10 minutes from the outskirts of Nagoya to the World Expo Center, where noone lives and nothing generally happens.

6. The pillows in our ryokan actually bruised my head.

The Linimo and the Expo Center are cautionary tales about the Japanese love of modernization. The Expo Center is about 45 minutes outside of Nagoya in the countryside. It used to be trees and forest. The prefecture knocked down all the trees, built the Expo Center and a modern maglev train to access it. The train has futuristic computer circuitry upholstery and is said to float above the ground 6 to 8 mm! It is completely automated and leaves every 10 minutes. When we rode it, noone else was aboard.

The Expo Center itself is vast, crisply paved and landscaped and has a ferris wheel. It used to have endangered birds, so environmentalists objected when the prefecture proposed building the site. The environmentalists lost, the Expo Center was build and the official story is that the endangered birds were “relocated”. Yeah, relocated to heaven!

In their place now, the Limino train station has a pleasant fake bird sound piped into the waiting area and the Expo Center itself has a Forest Experience Zone. In explaining the “history of the area”, the website uses a *typical Japanese approach of I say this is typical based on Alex Kerr’s book/screed “Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Modern Japan” in which he notes the prevalence of this phenomenon