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Newer Page 702 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
Japan Tokyo Osaka Shinkansen Ramen

9 March 2012

Bullet train to Osaka

First of all, it rained all day, across all of Japan, with the cloud never really lifting above the tops of tall buildings.
This made my bullet train ride somewhat boring, as I couldnt see much out the window.

Before getting to the bullet train I had to get across Tokyo, no problem, I have taken the rapid line train which usually takes 10 minutes a few times.
Today it took an hour. The train mostly stayed stopped. The information board said service delayed - door inspection. Really? Then later it changed to service suspended until further notice, all whilst I am on the train. Would we be rescued by men in helmets on ladders?
As it turns out, no such luck, the train continued on to Tokyo station at walking pace, stopping many times in between. Also there were so many people crammed onto it that if I had of been stabbed I wouldnt have been able to fall over to die. Strangely I enjoyed this adventure.
I still made it to the Shinkanzen station with plenty of time to spare, I did find it quite confusing to have to scan out of the metro and into the Shinkanezen simultaneously, a guard helped me.

Next up, the Nozomi Super Express. Slightly dissapointing. I think the Chinese and Taiwanese trains are faster. Also despite this being the land of the vending machine, the only machine on the entire train had bottles of water and plain iced tea (one flavour).
There was no dining car, there was no food cart. Everybody bought enough food with them for a 12 hour trip even though its only 2.5 hours.

All of Japan looks the same, the same poor looking low rise city as far as the eye can see forever, with occasional light industry or a car factory.
I could sort of make out some hills or mountains in the distance but they were largely obscure by cloud.

Getting out of Shin-Osaka station was also an adventure, my SUICA card doesnt work in Osaka despite wikipedia saying its 100% interchangeable with ICOCA. It took me some time to find where I could buy the ICOCA card. Every card funding machine in Tokyo can issue a SUICA but in Osaka you must go to the JR information desk to buy one...this seems wrong but its what the guard told me.

When I found this info desk there was a woman busy screaming at the one girl on the counter and she had at least 10 different train tickets lined up on the counter whilst pointing at them furiously. Meanwhile a guard apologised to me every 5 seconds for her behaviour. It was a comedic scene I was enjoying greatly!
The guard got so embarassed at me having to wait and witness this that he asked me what I wanted (I think, he might have actually told me he is a gay astronaught for all I know!). He then climbed over the counter, gave me an ICOCA card and when I handed him the money he gave me change out of his own wallet as he couldnt get to the register.
The rest of the journey on the subway was uneventful, finding my hotel was a bit of a challenge in the rain but its fantastically located and luxurious.

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Japan-Tokyo-Osaka-Shinkansen-Ramen - As I set out for the day, a film crew had set up the hotel car park to make a movie starring a slightly riced up mini van.

As I set out for the day, a film crew had set up the hotel car park to make a movie starring a slightly riced up mini van.


Japan-Tokyo-Osaka-Shinkansen-Ramen - My train, Nozomi 700 series. I couldnt get to the front or back to take a better photo.

My train, Nozomi 700 series. I couldnt get to the front or back to take a better photo.


Japan-Tokyo-Osaka-Shinkansen-Ramen - The view out the window, somewhere between Yokohama and Nagoya.

The view out the window, somewhere between Yokohama and Nagoya.


Japan-Tokyo-Osaka-Shinkansen-Ramen - Nagoya view.

Nagoya view.


Japan-Tokyo-Osaka-Shinkansen-Ramen - Somewhere between Nagoya and Kyoto.

Somewhere between Nagoya and Kyoto.


Japan-Tokyo-Osaka-Shinkansen-Ramen - The inside of the train. The guy next to me spent the entire 2.5 hours getting angry that he couldnt connect to the wifi. He was going slightly insane

The inside of the train. The guy next to me spent the entire 2.5 hours getting angry that he couldnt connect to the wifi. He was going slightly insane. I hardly sat in my seat instead choosing to press my face against a larger window between carriages.
This confused the conductors who assumed I was a stow away and kept demanding to see my ticket. They were apologetic each time I produced a valid ticket.


Japan-Tokyo-Osaka-Shinkansen-Ramen - The ancient capital of Kyoto...

The ancient capital of Kyoto...


Japan-Tokyo-Osaka-Shinkansen-Ramen - My mother is staying in this same hotel soon, so she will demand pictures. Here they are.

My mother is staying in this same hotel soon, so she will demand pictures. Here they are.


Japan-Tokyo-Osaka-Shinkansen-Ramen - Bathroom has customary full length window so you can pull up a chair and watch what everyone gets up to in the bathroom. This is a common feature in a

Bathroom has customary full length window so you can pull up a chair and watch what everyone gets up to in the bathroom. This is a common feature in asian hotel rooms.


Japan-Tokyo-Osaka-Shinkansen-Ramen - The street outside my hotel is mainly porn shops, maid bars and soaplands. However its just one street back from the famous canal in the next picture

The street outside my hotel is mainly porn shops, maid bars and soaplands. However its just one street back from the famous canal in the next picture and 2 laneways from the main shinshabashi covered shopping street (also shown below).


Japan-Tokyo-Osaka-Shinkansen-Ramen - Generally photographed at night, I am sure I will do that later.

Generally photographed at night, I am sure I will do that later.


Japan-Tokyo-Osaka-Shinkansen-Ramen - The covered shopping street. Actually now its a grid of covered streets, if it keeps raining like it has been I will spend the next week here.

The covered shopping street. Actually now its a grid of covered streets, if it keeps raining like it has been I will spend the next week here.


Japan-Tokyo-Osaka-Shinkansen-Ramen - I was cold and wet, so ramen seemed like a good idea. Unlike my last 2 bowls, this one had heaps of pork, at least 6 slices, and it had been marinated

I was cold and wet, so ramen seemed like a good idea. Unlike my last 2 bowls, this one had heaps of pork, at least 6 slices, and it had been marinated in some sort of sticky sauce that made it more flavoursome. Also the soup was nearly pure collagen. I am now at least 23% pig.
It was interesting watching the guy make it, he put some thick sauces in the bottom of the bowl before adding the soup broth and noodles. He also spilt massive amounts of everything on the floor whilst yelling excitedly the whole time.


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