Tag Archive: Kanazawa

Dec 25

There’s Another Train, There Always Is

So Kanazawa city is behind us now; we’ve just boarded the second of two trains that will carry us to Washizu; the city near Hamamatsu in which we’ll spend the night.

 

I’m not going to go through and do some travelogue.  The photos I’ve posted on Facebook and (shortly) on SmugMug will convey the general sense of the proceedings.

 

A few observations:

Kanazawa: as the saying goes, you might forget your o-bento, but don’t forget your umbrella.

Hotel bathrooms: having a European-style bath now makes me feel dirty.

Onsen: you can actually dry off using just the little towel that you carry on your head in the baths.  Amazing!

Hotel Towels: Jesus, has anyone ever heard of fabric softener?  I feel like my skin has been sanded!

Trains: 6 hours on a train goes really fast when you’re used to intercontinental flights on shit airlines like JAL.

Writing: you always think  you’ll get more done than you actually do.

 

So, one more day on the road, and then back home tomorrow evening… in time for the six-day run-up to hosting the Aragaki family New Year celebration on the 2nd.

Dec 23

SEISHUN 18 KIPPU – Day ONE

Arriving bleary-eyed at six in the morning; rushing along platform after platform to not only make your connection, but to get a good seat; finally pulling out your laptop and connecting to the internet to post your thoughts, just as the train plunges into a week-long tunnel; high school girls in their ridiculous full-length parkas, face masks, and athletics gear laughing at your clothes; amazing mountain scenery that you can’t be arsed to photograph because you’ll get a shit photo through the train window anyway; the disgusting smell of beer and dried squid (yes, before 8:00 in the morning) of the two old men riding across the aisle… this is all part of the great experience of training it through Japan.

 

My wife and I bought SEISHUN 18 KIPPU, hopped on the Moonlight Nagara train last night at 23:30ish, and have been in motion ever since (except for a 20-minute stopover in Maibara where I was able to brush my teeth).  We’re due to arrive at our destination at 10:00am this morning (Kanazawa station).

 

For those of you too lazy to read the link above, the Seishun 18 Ticket is a ticket that costs 11,500 Yen or so, and gives you five days (midnight to midnight) free travel on all JR local trains, and a limited number of special trains (like the sleeper we were on last night).  I’ve been wanting to do this for ages, and I really wish that my wife could get more than one day off from work (today’s a holiday, tomorrow she took off, and then there’s the weekend) so we could travel for five whole days.

 

It does involve a lot of hours on trains, the heaviest day being today and the 25th, when we ship out from Kanazawa to Shizuoka (leave at 10:00, arrive at 18:00, lots of little transfers in-between).  What a way to spend Xmas!  We’ll have to call my family that night from the hotel.  If we’re lucky, the hotel will have an internet connection so we can save on long distance charges.

 

But this is the way to travel Japan.  You can take your bullet trains and your highways and your busses; the clinking clanking local trains are the way to see the country.  I just wish they weren’t so aggressively heated; I feel like my damn legs are burning up.