20100413 Tokyo and Nagoya
Flickr set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fractos/sets/72157623764846215/
Hangovers in Japan - not recommended
Checking out with a massive hangover, in blazing hot sun, with only a few hours sleep, followed by getting across town to Tokyo station for a bullet train ride was really really horrific. I highly recommend never getting yourself into this kind of fix.
Bumbling around Shinkansen station trying to not be ill
I did a lot of this, also a lot of dashing back to the restrooms to put cold water on my face and neck, hanging around next to rubbish bins, and finally managing, somehow, to keep it together on the train to get excited about the landscape rushing by. The bullet trains are amazing, spacious, smooth (mostly), clean and the staff are extraordinarily polite, things like the guard bowing to the carriage, making a formal, spoken announcement that he must now check tickets, more bowing, then the checking of tickets, then finally, turning and bowing to the carriage again before moving onward to the next. How the hell are we supposed to compete with that? You can get such cranky, annoying twats being guards on British trains. This is a breath of fresh air definitely.
Well, they've got plenty of them. The landscape changed so much going south west from Tokyo. And the hills are really abrupt, suddenly striking skyward in the middle of a town. Crazy. The Shinkansen shot past these places and through the hills. Literally.
Not seeing Mt Fuji
The massive disappointment was, having gone to the trouble, in my worsened state, of reserving a seat on the correct side of the train and waiting around for the next train to make it happen, that Mt Fuji was almost completely shrouded by clouds and therefore I could only see snatches of just how massive and imposing and insanely beautiful it is. I seriously could only see little patches of it, having to look at the scene for some time before realising that my eyes weren't deceiving me, and it really was that huge. I hope I can see it better when I travel back up to Tokyo.
After the near 2 hour trip, I arrived in Nagoya central station which, as reported by some people I've met already, is very business-orientated, very corporate. The station is built around the long corridor connecting one side of the station to the other. I hunted in vain for a MacDonalds, as I was feeling a bit better and only wanted to take the opportunity to get some food in me. After searching around, I decided to just get to the next hostel, which meant a metro train ride to Kanayama station while still feeling ropey. Kanayama is busy, windy, has big roads. Not sure if I like it that much but it seems ok.
I followed the directions from Kanayama station, which thankfully included a MacDonalds (cheeseburger with chips in it and Fanta Grape FTW, but why do they load the burgers with so much black pepper??), and found myself at a really beautiful little hostel. Traditional style so shoes off, tatami straw mats in the bedrooms, and really comfortable beds. There's a little garden in an atrium at the center of the ground floor and very friendly staff. There's some people here who are doing teaching programmes, and some of their friends came over to catch up and bring food. Nice bunch. Meantime, I popped out to one of the shops and got some food and a couple of beers to get rid of the last vestiges of my hangover. So far, so good...
I'll try and get to the Robot Museum here, tomorrow. It opens at 11 and that's when I'm supposed to be checking out so I'll have to keep my baggage here but I'm sure they'll be able to help.