Japan 2011

Oct 2011 28

Day 15: Tokyo to Christchurch

Woke up to a drenched Tokyo. At first I thought it was just the aircon I could hear, but no, the rain was so heavy I could hear it over the sound of the AC.

I spent some time trying to optimise the packing arrangement, checked out and headed for the train station. First stop, Mr Donut for a nutritious breakfast. Then onto the subway and off to Ueno. At Ueno I wandered around for some time till I found a locker to store the bags in. Liberated I headed for the platforms.

Spent a while taking photos here; with a train every couple of minutes it's not hard!

Notice how clean they are. After a while I hopped on a Yamanote Line train and stood right up the front where I could see the driver. Looked like a fairly advanced set up.


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Oct 2011 26

Day 14: Kyoto to Tokyo

(Slightly late…)

After climing Mt Fuji and having only hours sleep over the previous 48 hours, sleep was very welcome, however I was a little surprised when I heard a knock at the door, only to discover that it was almost midday… checkout time was 10am! Felt terrible and a furious scramble ensued to get out ASAP.

Teri and I headed down to the train station and caught a train to Kameoka.

Kyoto is fairly built up, but we soon entered a long tunnel and when we excited we were in the middle of a forest, flying over a river, then plunging into another tunnel, only to emerge over water again. The scenery was very pretty.

We soon arrived at Kameoka and started heading towards the river rafting place that Teri wanted to see.

Kameoka is fairly rural, as you can see from the great rice fields right next to the station.


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Aug 2011 29

Day 13: Mt Fuji to Kyoto

Continuing from yesterday…

About 1am: The girls are both starting to feel a bit dizzy and headachy; another sign of altitude sickness. We stop at the 8th station (I think) and enquire about mountain-side sleeping; 5000 yen! ($NZ75). We find a small space next to the hut and snuggle up together; Teri has a emergency blanket that looks like it would do nothing but actually works really well. I get an hour of half-sleep. When we wake again the girls are feeling better and we press on. I make a joke about turning two girls and an emergency blanket into a "comfortable" bed on the side of Mt Fuji.

Approaching 4am: In theory the distance between each station is getting less, however the guideline times obviously aren't made for us regular humans. Towards the top things start getitng pretty congested and we can see the sky starting to lighten. Around us we can hear people getting impatient but there isn't much that can be done;...

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Aug 2011 20

Day 12 - Tokushima to Mt Fuji

At 5;30am we were jogging down the road as an impossibly large and orange sun emerged through the distant fog. We had all had between 30 minutes and a couple of hours of sleep and no we were on our way to climb the tallest mountain in Japan! Were we mad? Yes, most likely. First we had to catch a train and this was about 2km from Anna's apartment, and I am definitely not used to that much exercise, that early in the morning!

We caught our train though, a real bucket of bolts and seemed to take forever to get moving after each stop. At Tokushima we quickly transferred to a rapid express made up of fancy new green "Eco" DMUs. The different was amazing and after each stop we flew up to line speed in no time at all. Sometimes we would pass through a station on a curve and the tilting effect was amazing; it didn't feel like a sharp corner, but you could clearly see the difference in height from one side of the train to the other.

At Takumatsu we transferred again to a "ma...

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Aug 2011 20

Day 11 - Tokushima and Awa Odori

My hopes of a nice long sleep were cut short as we had to make it to the train station in Tokushima by 9:30am. This meant an hour drive, plus breakfast time, and Anna had to iron her komono. Anna's apartment is in a pretty quiet little town called Anan. Here is her somewhat imfamous garden and the neighbour's rice field.


Turns out ironing a komono for the first time is fairly involved and we were a bit late making it to the train station. Already Tokushima was bustling and there was no sign of Teri, another friend from Christchurch who had ventured over to Japan to volunteer around the Fukushima area, specifically looking after children who had been living within the evacuation zone.

We eventually found Teri, or rather she found us, and we set off to do some sight seeing in the tiny amount of time we had. The only thing that we could really fit in was a trip to the whirl pools that inhabit the straight between Honshu an...

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