Well how can I describe it? The charitable description is “like a British seaside town out of season” the less charitable version is “a bit of a hole”.

To be fair I think it is effectively a resort town for the Fuji-san climbing season; which is now over.

I arrived by a little two carriage train which rocked through the mountains on single track line (and a private line so not covered by my rail pass). I think foreigners are still a bit scarey because at one stop a whole class of primary school chi
dren got on for a trip to the next stop (yes it was THAT sort of train) and filled all availble seats except the 3 around me!

When I get there it’s so misty I can’t see Mount Fuji – yet alone it’s summit.

When I left the station and there was no obvious town centre to head for so I consultied a map in the station and headed off. I did actually manage to ask a guy sitting having a fag “where is hotel?” and he must have understood because he pointed to big building 50 yards to my right with “hotel” written on it.

Great, one problem solved! So off I go only to discover (after taking the lift up to dark floor) that it’s closed – steel shutter down closed. Downstairs there is what I think is a girlie bar – so by now I’m less than chuffed with the town. Even more so when I have a 3 minute panic until I discover which pocket I stowed my wallet in.

My mood is lightened when a group of passing school girls “konnichi wa” me and have a fit of the giggles when I “konnichi wa” back.

After re-consulting the station map I head off to another hotel which is open but gives the air of that I’m the onky guest! Still comfortable enough.

After a shower I go wandering for food. The place puts me in mind of Canadian/American towns; development along lots of roads but I can’t find “downtown”.

I eat in a restaurant with a sushi conveyer belt! Cool! And the Japanese can put it away, the two guys’ pile of plates next to me soon towers over my puny 4!

I’m hoping the weather is clear tomorrow morning, then once I’ve seen Fuji I think I may leave earlier. This was so close to a disaster – but recovered enough for it to be funny now. The tale will grow in the telling.