These links give the latest news on the status of my flights back – any delays should be visible here.
That was it – that was the last day, all done, just a sleep and I’m coming home.
Quite an eventful day really – dropped off my pack at the hotel then when and had coffee at about 7. A Japanese woman came to talk to me, this is nice I thought, not many are so friendly. Then it became apparent that she was drunk (she said she worked nights) and that she was actually trying to pick me up! So I had a train that I just had to catch.
So I went of the Shibuya area, this is a bit more up market – shops for Amarni, Jimmy Choo, Ralph Lauren (well their the names I recognised). Had a good wander, found another garden and shrine… the one where the Gothlollis hang out . Not many about as they were starting some vintage car event there and I think that had kept them away. So no TV program is complete without such a picture… why should I be different.
I spent last night in Shinjuku because that’s where the capsule hotel was. Left my pack in a station locker and just took the small one when I booked in. Luckily there was a staff guy there who had a few English words. So I worked out how the locker worked (very narrow locker) and went back out.
God! that place is busy on a Friday night. Did the calm aee with the skyscrapers first. You get a grest view from 53rd floor. A shrimp buger… then into the mad area. To be honest compared to my first night I found it a little scary. Not in a worried about my safety scary, but in a “my god I don’t understand what’s going on and there are too many people way”. I even had a couple of different guys come and tout me, one for a topless bar, no idea where the other wanted me to go.
The thing that kept popping into my head was the city from Bladerunner.
Survived my night in a capsule hotel. It was quite cozy really.
Last day! Shopping for small things I can fit in my bag.
Well yes… I saw the dome, the park, the memorial and the museum. The memorial hall with the personal descriptions and testaments is very moving.
A quick look at the castle and then a tram and ferry to Miyajima. Very pretty once again… has wild deer in the streets, cable cars, mountains and monkeys….
Nearly over, a day travelling tomorrow and an evening and a day left in Tokyo…. I hope I can get into a capsule hotel!
There I was getting nervous about a 5 minute slot to change trains at Okayama. I needn’t have worried – we get in on time, my second train is due in on the opposite side of the platform…. and yes…. arrives bang on time.
Golf seems to be big in Japan, everywhere I go on the train I can see huge driving ranges enclosed with nets.
I think I’m the closest I’m ever likely to get to being on another planet! I’m at Yunoshimakan and it is bordering on the surreal! Utterly, utterly amazing!
A porter takes your shoes away on entry and gives you some slippers. Then a maid wheels my luggage to my room. I was literally open mouthed when I saw my room, screens, tatanami mats and on two sides a veranda space with sliding windows. And from those windows a view of the mountain.
Then down into the bathroom…. sat on a stool and washed myself and into the indoor bath first…. then (naked I might add) wandered across to the outdoor bath. this was early so I had the place to myself, no chance to do idiotic foreigner things (except forgetting to take my slippers off as I walked into the changing area).
Then dinner… oh my god…. dinner!! Served in my room as I sit cross legged at the low table…. so much, so much variety, I couldn’t tell you what most of it was… but tasty! The staff don’t speak English, I don’t speak Japanese, which just adds to the weirdness. This will seem like a dream tomorrow.
My head has been bumped on beams and doorways several times.
The maid will be back later to lay out my futon….. In fact as I was writing this they did – two of them in a proffesional display of bed making.
And it’s the way everyone kneels and bows before leaving the room! Very odd for someone brought up on British service.
I think I may dare another evening bath, so what if I make mistakes of etiquette? (OK that concept pains my natural English concept of embarrassment.)
Right now I am a very very very long way from home.
Well there’s nothing like starting your day in an outdoor hot pool watching the mist roll down the mountain valleys. The water is hot; you can’t stay in too long.
And breakfast… well that’s another meal in it’s self. There were even little flame heaters again for the soup and some sort of spicy paste on a leaf.
I’ll soon have to get my western style clothes on again and leave for a day of traveling to Hiroshima.
Japan doesn’t have enough rubbish bins! I keep ending up carrying mine around for hours. No one seems to litter though.
God my feet ache! Really ache! Well I have been walking almost solidly for 7 days now. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s day of relaxing.
So the Takayama autumn festival… what’s it like? The weather was wonderful, clear blue skies and the floats are very pretty, especially the latern lit parade at night. Very, very busy with tourists, nearly all Japanese, many in big groups following their guide with the umbrella. Just a handful of Europeans or Americans to be seen.
You would not believe the size of the crowd for the marrionette show! They show it on TV to an over spill crowd. I missed the 1st one because I left it to late and spent nearly an hour standing in the sun to make sure I saw the second show. It was very very clever, but I think I’m missing the cultural background to applaud it as enthusiastically as the locals. And there was no crocodile and no string of sausages!
Just like us an event brings out the stalls and the tat for the kids and the junk food stalls. Loads of squid dumpling stalls; but I had barbequed meat on a stick, fried and sugared root vegetable of some sort, some things a bit like doughnut balls and a sort of square pancake filled with salad stuff ham and egg and cooked on a griddle; either I was hungry or it was delicious. You get chop sticks with it, but even so it didn’t last long. People don’t seem to walk and eat here though, you get your food then find a place to sit.
If you happen to be in Japan at the right time I would recommend a visit.
Repack the rucksack tonight to try and get room for the pressies and then an earlish night.