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China November 2011
Korea September 2011
Taiwan March 2011
London3 June 2010
Japan May 2010
London2 February 2010
London September 2009
SE Asia December 2005

Japan November 2015 - Tokyo - Nagoya - Hiroshima - Shimonoseki - Fukuoka - Page 3

Day 7 - Sunday, 8 November 2015

Much rain

The forecast said it might rain, briefly.
Instead it rained a lot, constantly, from 7am until so far, around 4pm.
This is not a huge issue unless you like walking around, and then the issue is not getting wet, it is becoming blind due to umbrella panic.
Such is the desire to have the most annoying umbrella, some people now carry 2, one to keep themselves damp with and the other to poke the eyes out of passers by.

First up, I had to buy my bullet train ticket for tomorrow. I noted down the date, time, train number, start and destination station, and took this to the girl at the counter.
She had all that worked out in about 2 seconds, and showed me the price on the calculator screen which is what I expected. But then the annoying up sell started, and she persisted for 10 minutes to convince me to buy some sort of pass, green car, nozomi fast train, lunch vouchers and all kinds of other things.
I just kept pointing at the piece of paper on which I had already filled out exactly what I wanted. Eventually I was allowed to buy that.

Once I saw the rain, there was only one option, go guitar shopping. Since I have no umbrella, I get to go guitar shopping whilst looking like a drowned rat, then get water all over their precious instruments.
As it turns out, guitar street is about 100 metres from Akihabara, so I walked there and back in the rain, splashing in puddles.
I purchased 8 guitars, and have already sold 7 to Australians, my personal dealer at BIG BOSS is arranging shipping and payment, I am just the agent. Trip paid for itself.

After celebrating by having some dried banana chips at the Family Mart, it was time to splash my way back to the hotel and do a load of washing.
This is the second most fearful thing in my life after umbrella blindness. Most times I go on trips I shrink my clothes to the point of throw them in the bin.
My new tactic, smaller loads, and dont fully dry them in the dryer.
So right now my tiny hotel room is full of wet clothes, with the heater on full to complete the drying, whilst I sit here sweating wearing only a damp wash cloth.

Not many photos due to rain!

I had to wait at this crossing for what seemed like an hour, so I looked around and saw a huge hobby store, the top floors are for military clothing.
First you make your plastic tank and battleship, then you dress up and make noises whilst you play with it.

Its not quite 10am, so hordes of men, and only men, are lined up for hundreds of metres to play Pachinko.

A vending machine selling my drink of choice! I celebrated, but then had to carry the can for hours until I could find a recycling point that took cans and not just PET bottles.
I am a responsible environmentalist.

Now I am inside the ESP custom shop. This particular guitar has the pickup inside the wood. I am surprised I have never seen that before.
The magnetic pole pieces are just screws into the wood.

They had a heap of their ridiculous guitars on show in the gallery, I almost couldnt believe my eyes when it said 75,000. I thought thats only about $850! But then I saw the 75,000 was the USD price, not the yen price.

BIG BOSS. They love me here.

Still raining. Locals were amused that I stood dripping in the rain to take a photo of a construction site.

Possibly the worlds most pathetic christmas tree.

My lunch was excellent. I was going to have a sandwich, but this deal for $10 for Korean Bi Bim Bap was too good to pass up.
You get a lot of good quality food for your money.
Korean food seems to be a lot more popular in Japan than I remember.

This is a giant version of one of the floral tributes on a pole people are running around temples carrying. And I mean running, they charge around chanting with them.

And finally, heres my washing machine station. Now trying on damp pants to see how much they have shrunk.

Soup in a can

Tomorrow I go to Nagoya.
Before then, I go to Shinjuku. It was raining, but when I got there, it had stopped raining, at least for a while.
Much like Shibuya, not much had changed. Somehow I found myself inside guitar stores again, looking at Strandberg Bodens I cannot afford. This may well be the most specific thing I have ever typed, because no one that will ever read this will know what a Strandberg Boden is.

Next I headed over the road to Kubikikokikochokicokochokiko, and wandered around looking at posters of Thai ladyboys whilst African men tried to give me their business card.
It was here, in an impressive cinema complex, that I found a fantastic dinner.
They take tomato soup out of a can, boil it until its thick, then add stuff to it.
Mine had Gorgonzola, Chorizo, Ramen, Garlic bread and baby potatoes. So yeah, healthy!

The rain returned, so there was just enough time to dodge some umbrella spikes, get chased by Africans again, and head back to the train.

Its me, with Super Mario. There have not been many photos of me due to my hideous post illness appearance, where my nose looks like Rudolph (popular reindeer), nostrils bigger than their normal huge self.

Yeah, Shinjuku.

Yeah, Kabuki-Cho

Apparently, too many people walk into this massage parlour asking for the robot restaurant.


2 photos of me in one night.

This was my amazing dinner.

I hope they have outlets in Nagoya, I took this photo to remind me to look for it.

Star Wars hype is out of control. Every clothing brand has paid the fee to use it, I saw a Schick razor ad where you get millennium falcon with flashing lights on the stem of your razor, and then theres themed cakes like here.
Every convenience store has theme star wars everything.

mother on 2015-11-08 said:
Krystle would like the star wars cakes. What are you planning to do in Nagoya? The castle is well worth a visit even if it is an over heated museum in the interior. The outside is speccy and there are stray cats lazing in the trees.

David on 2015-11-08 said:
for $75,000 USD? Yes.

mother on 2015-11-08 said:
So, did you buy the angel guitar?

Day 8 - Monday, 9 November 2015

Not been here before

Now I am in Nagoya, a place I have not been before. The rest of this holiday will all be places I have not been before, which I think is a good thing, Tokyo seemed a bit too familiar.
Whilst packing to leave, I enjoyed a Japanese shopping show, where a group of women try on space age slimming pants on live tv. Their husbands are there to, they stand and judge their wives disapprovingly as they show their pre wet suit pants body, and visibly show their shame as the other men console them.
Then, the women change into the pants, and come out dancing. The men stand agog, and start high fiving each other, before some start crying. I bought 3 pairs.

Next, time to check out, which in a Japanese hotel involves handing them the key, and thats it. I sometimes stand there and expect to go through the whole procedure of arguing that I didnt use the minibar, parking, room service etc. like I get in Australia.
They just stare at me until I leave. When you check in you dont need to give them a card either, its just honor system. I could steal everything and wreck the room and they would have no way of charging me ever, so I did.

I left myself plenty of time to get to Tokyo station, and 6 minutes later I was there, 2 hours early. Luckily its a bit of a shopping mall with people spending a fortune on ornate boxes full of ritz crackers or similar.
Once on the train, it was time to play the game of kick someone out of your seat, and then watch that happen all over the train. This was repeated each time the train stopped and new people got on.
Unfortunately, it was very cloudy, so no view of Fuji, the same thing happened last time I took the bullet train this way.
Instead I could see a sea of concrete industrial areas.

This is my train. I took the 10 minute slower Hikari, instead of Nozomi, but as far as I could tell the equipment is the same '700 series', I had plenty of time to examine the trains.

At first I could not find a coffee shop selling anything other than dripulator coffee, so I had a coffee cream sandwich with sweetened bean paste instead.
Then I found coffee on another level.

Did someone really kill themselves by taking a 200,000 volt selfie?

Fuji is over there, past the smog and smoke.

It got slightly brighter at one point to see a mountain of sorts.

The view from Nagoya station, looks a lot like Japan.

Impressive building.

Now to prevent my mother asking, heres the hotel details. It is a Dormy Inn Premium, Near Sakae station.
It has an Onsen on site, and a free noodle service between 9:30pm and 11pm each night at the bar.

It is bigger than my last room in Tokyo, proper double bed.

The entrance way is a weird double door setup which seems like a lot of wasted space. Theres also a huge trough in the entrance, in case I need to drown someone.

The bathroom seems adequate. The shower door folds and opens inwards, a large person would never get out again.

I was super hungry by now, so it was time for a $2.50 convenience store sandwich (crusts removed of course), with a mochi and sweet bean dessert, absolutely delicious.

And still it rains

Its raining now, but apparently the sun is shining tomorrow and it will be 23C. Its also hot now, overnight minimum only 18C. Thats enough weather talk.
Nagoya is newer than other Japanese cities, more car focused, and a perfect grid.
I read somewhere that lots of car factories are here, so cars go everywhere.
From what I can tell, there arent really closed off tight shopping and restaurant streets, the internet says instead you go underground or above ground. Which means I will miss a lot of what there is to see due to not being able to see it from the street.

The newness of everything makes me wonder when the place was last destroyed by natural disaster, fire bombing or other. I will have to research.

Due to the rain, I stopped on my journey back to the hotel for a delicious matcha tea latte. A very complex flavour that starts off like grass and ends up like ant killer yet its sweet in the middle. I dont need to add sugar.
Anyway, there was a bunch of school kids from the states on a fantastic dance tour, where they are dancing their way across Japan to spread the word of Jesus!
I had a few issues with this, because it was clearly the everyones in denial tour. Adding Jesus to your kids dancing cirriculum rarely ends up in him ungaying, as much as you might pray that it does. It might end up in a trip to the Aokigahara forest though. Somehow its surely Obamas fault.

The famous Nagoya tower. Looks like theres a restaurant and viewing platform. I wont be going up there because I spotted something better.

The bus station, and it appears you can get on the roof! I ran up the stairs.

Not only can you get on the roof, but you can be up there on your own, and marvel at why they put a pool on the roof.

Enjoy your tower, it has no pool.

I believe this is the main street. Its full of enormous stores on both sides, and goes quite a long way underground where its all joined up.
Kind of reminds me of Orchard Road in Singapore. All buildings were very modern.

Omurice as far as the eye can see, but not tonight. Mentally noted for return visit later in the week where I will choose something ridiculous wrapped inside an egg.

Instead I had a salad, which is cold pasta, with a basically raw egg, with some salad, corn flakes, and mystery meat. The whole thing was ice cold, but once I mixed it all together it was actually quite nice. Even the cornflakes.

Every street in Nagoya has elaborate street lighting.

Apparently this store has been here since 1615. Who knew they could build giant windowless neon lit reinforced concrete cubes in 1615.

This is one of many streets which in other Japanese cities would have no cars. Here, cars.

I tried really hard for a creepy photo here, where I was being molested by KFC santa, but I couldnt make it work without a selfie stick.
Luckily I dont have one or else I would have been electrocuted earlier today.

Look how terrifying santa is!

David on 2015-11-09 said:
I am here until Sunday

adriana on 2015-11-09 said:
How long are you planning to stay in Nagoya? Yes the city does seem very modern and like Kobe it is hoon city on the weekend when they Bozozoku ride around acting tough revving up their silly scooters. There also used to be a homeless tent city in a park close to the centre of town.

mother on 2015-11-09 said:
Dormy Inns are great. Dare you to go up to the public bath.

Day 9 - Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Long day at altitude

Today was an excellent, long day. So long in fact that I was gone almost 12 hours.
I opened google maps and scrolled around until I saw mountains. Then I checked proximity of a train station. Then I googled it to make sure it was possible to walk to the top.
This process lead me to Mount Gozaisho on the Kintetsu line, just an hour away on 3 trains, or so was the plan.
Everything was going perfectly until I got off at the last change, to get on the single carriage line that goes to the base of the mountain. There were so many school kids charging around inside the station area blocking my path that me and a few others missed the train.
Oh well, 30 minutes until the next one, time to hang out in the station Family Mart and eat a sandwich.

The last little bit of train went through some nice rural areas, each township it stopped at had a Suzuki dealership, a multi storey pachinko parlour and a vast sea of parking area.
Between stations there was a pedestrian or bike path along the train track, which had thousands of kindergarten aged children in groups on it, feverishly waving. By now there was hardly anyone else on the train, and when I waved back, the crowd went wild.

I had a look at the map when I got off, and the distance to the start of the mountain trail seemed small, it wasnt. But since I had no idea when the bus was coming, I decided to walk it. The bus passed me about 2 minutes later, and then an hour after that, I made it to the start of the gondola to the ski resort.
Surely this would be the start of the trail to the peak? I couldnt find it, and there was no way I was taking the gondola. So I walked on up a great valley for about another hour, wondering why there was no one else around at all.
There were lots of hotels that looked like plastic castles, but I guess they are only used in ski season.

Eventually, I decided to cross the river and head up the only path I saw, this soon paid dividends as I was deep in the mountain somewhere, and I saw the cable car.
I wanted to go up though, not around, but with the ground hard to see due to leaf matter all I could do was follow the ribbons tied to trees and the occasional circle spray painted on a rock.

After about another hour in which I crossed the river a few times on wooden ladders, I came to a fork of sorts, this seemed to head upwards, so I followed it.
And up it went, not a lot of markings to follow and certainly no other people. Soon after I rejoined the main trail, and realised I was absolutely nowhere near the top still.

I pushed on for a few more hours for one of the most rewarding hikes ever, the last ascent was in cloud, with water running down the rocks, swinging from chains.
And then, once you get to the top where the gondola goes, you realise theres a road up the back of the mountain to the very small and run down ski resort. There is however a restaurant, and a thousand people stuck on the top because the gondola service is suspended due to high wind!
This did not bother me at all, but old folks were absolutely furious in the line snaking around the buildings and restaurant, I suspect they are still there now! Some where 120 years old and theres no way they were making the 3 hour walk down.
I took a different less treacherous way down and was glad of it. Once at the bottom, I still had no idea when the bus might come so I jogged down the road for an hour to the train station and repeated the multi stage journey home.

A great day out!

This is the view from the last station change, where I had to wait 30 minutes. Not sure of the name of this town, but its quite near Suzuka, where they have the grand prix.
The mountain today is apparently the highest in the Suzuka range, and I started from very near sea level.

The river was very nice to make the boring walk up the road interesting.

That would be my destination. It looked a long way off and steep, I had some doubts!

Things started to get more orange. On my way back when I passed this point there were a heap of people with tripods enjoying the late afternoon twilight.

Yes, more.

And now probably redundant, but this was the path as best I could tell.

The path called for me to cross over something like this on 3 occasions.

Now I was back on the right track, with the gondolas going overhead. I must be somewhere near the top cause the view down seems to be from quite high. I re read that twice, it kind of makes sense, I know what I mean.

No, I still have ages to go!

Soon after this I was in cloud, so this might be the 'highest' clear shot.

I had to scramble over some impressive rock formations.

There was less cloud in the other directions away from the city.

Plenty more peaks to climb.

The cloud was moving at a terrific speed. Hence the gondola had to stop service. I was only exposed to the wind on a couple of ridges, at which point I thought I might get blown off, but other than that I couldnt even tell it was windy.

The final ascent was in site, water was running down the rock even though it wasnt raining.

I wish this was an animated gif of the clouds going past at what seems like 100kmph.

And then once at the top, predictably, a weather station.

Less predictably, a snow man. I briefly saw the ski field, but generally it was completely obscured by cloud.

It took me more than 3 hours due to walking from the train, and the detour I took across unofficial trails.

These people were stuck in this line for hours. Japanese politeness was out the window. I walked past laughing at them.

Some hours later, and I am back at the bottom, looking up the gondola course. Theres no one in them still!

And finally, back at my hotel room, this is what I look like after many hours of swinging off the side of a mountain.

Bare minimum

Due to getting back so late, this is a bare minimum update, just 3 photos.
It feels later than it is in Japan because it gets dark before 5pm, properly dark. And its only Autumn still, does it get dark at 3pm in winter?

This evening I walked in the other direction, which has lots of girl bars, and guys in their business attire trying to out man each other. Presumably calling their wives to explain that the boss is making them work late.
Some time after I realised I was on top of a shopping mall, that joins the train stations together, so I descended, and found dinner.

Since I feel as though I did enough exercise to warrant it, I have also purchased a chocolate dessert thing with cream and green tea powder for later. I am excited.

My dinner was tofu and vegetables in a sticky sauce. I had something very similar in Taichung on a previous holiday. The miso in the measuring cup is stone cold and the flavour is too strong for me. It was also very thick.
I wasnt given a spoon so did not know what to do with it. I looked at other people with the same thing, and no one seemed to touch it.

This is a random street a bit away from the main shopping area.

And this is a multi storey girly bar complex, for some reason they have obscured their stairs with palm trees.

adriana on 2015-11-10 said:
Nice photos today. You even look like you climbed a real mountain.

mother on 2015-11-10 said:
Not a good look. Waiting to hear what you have to say.

Page 4 is more of Nagoya. Click below, you know you can do it.


Hi Resolution Panoramas

Latest Update

Day 1 - Monday, 2 November 2015
  Mile high typing club
  Mobile mucus dispersion unit
Day 2 - Tuesday, 3 November 2015
  Still alive
  Quietly confident
Day 3 - Wednesday, 4 November 2015
  Electric cubes and gap toothed models
  Need to step up my game
Day 4 - Thursday, 5 November 2015
  Sleepy train ride
  The dark temple
Day 5 - Friday, 6 November 2015
  Suburban Tokyo
  Not much has changed
Day 6 - Saturday, 7 November 2015
  Mosquito mountain camera failure
  Beneath the tracks
Day 7 - Sunday, 8 November 2015
  Much rain
  Soup in a can
Day 8 - Monday, 9 November 2015
  Not been here before
  And still it rains
Day 9 - Tuesday, 10 November 2015
  Long day at altitude
  Bare minimum
Day 10 - Wednesday, 11 November 2015
  Osaka castle - Nagoya branch
  Also theres Oso
Day 11 - Thursday, 12 November 2015
  Monkeys castles and fighter jets
  For one no sorry
Day 12 - Friday, 13 November 2015
  Grey day on a bald mountain
  Aeon ozone dome walk
Day 13 - Saturday, 14 November 2015
  Looming rain
  Throw everything on a plate
Day 14 - Sunday, 15 November 2015
  My room is old
  Too many places to eat
Day 15 - Monday, 16 November 2015
  Not a bad view
  I found them
Day 16 - Tuesday, 17 November 2015
  Rainy bomb day
  Get wet to go somewhere dry
Day 17 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015
  Mystery fair and bad pho
Day 18 - Thursday, 19 November 2015
  Raining tourists
  I got to wander
Day 19 - Friday, 20 November 2015
  Giant phallus
  Closed at seven
Day 20 - Saturday, 21 November 2015
  Under the sea
  The busy side
Day 21 - Sunday, 22 November 2015
  Final destination
  More than Shinjuku
Day 22 - Monday, 23 November 2015
  Other people
  Sudden downpour
Day 23 - Tuesday, 24 November 2015
  Sand castle
  Red lights dimmed
Day 24 - Wednesday, 25 November 2015
  No mountain
  It got cold
Day 25 - Thursday, 26 November 2015
  The shed

Hi Resolution Panoramas