Sunday, March 21, 2010


Hope everyone is having a good spring! Today was surprisingly hectic, though that does not mean a lot happened. Essentially, we woke up, left, and got screwed over by the train. We thought it would take about 38min to get to Osaka Station from where we were, and it may have on rapid...but we were on normal. For the first time ever in my experience with trains, that does not just mean it skips some stops and goes faster -- the rapid also goes on a divergent path to a different end location. Totally screwed us up. We went to transfer back around, and a quality of older Japanese people that bugs the crap out of me prevented us from catching the first train -- there is some weird sense of entitlement that because they are older they deserve to get on the train more than other people, or something. Typically this manifests in them jumping in front of people on lines, when they exist, for entering the trains. This time it manifested in an older woman pushing me away from the door (and giving a quick sort of comment that I didn't quite catch) when I was in front of her, and the train was mostly packed, so that she and her pack could get on instead of Ben and me. I feel we still would have missed our bus even had we gotten on the train, and there was a chance both of us would not have fit, but it was still extremely rude and obnoxious to the point that the rest of the day has been overshadowed by this.

We eventually made it to Osaka station, and ran over to Umeda to try and find our bus...which resulted in about a 25~30 minute search for the boarding area. Our bus was to leave in 10 minutes. Clearly it did not end as we wanted it to. So, instead, we bought some tickets for the Shinkansen and went for lunch at a Takoyaki place -- ordering Takoyaki and Negitamagoyaki. For those that are unaware, that is doughy octopus ball and doughy green onion and egg balls, respectively. They were really good, and served differently than I am used to. Normally there is a filling and the balls are topped with some sauce, some nori (seaweed) and a sauce, and sometimes mayonaise. This time they were without topping, but served with a sauce a tad thinner than normal, some chilli powder (the type used on noodle soups), and some form of vinegar. I actually like this a good deal more than the standard, though Ben did not. Afterwards we went and caught our Shinkansen -- an experience I was not sure I'd have this year. It was pretty nice, rather comfortable, and got us to Nagoya in under an hour (the bus would have been about 4). Though, honestly, watching the scenery move outside the train did not feel at all faster than a car or anything, even though I know it had to have been. So odd!

Anyway, as for Nagoya I can say very little. It looks rather pretty, a tad quieter and less full than Kobe, Tokyo or even Kyoto -- much more like Osaka and Hiroshima. At Nagoya station the people lined up for the train, but I am much less impressed by that now. The hotel is not quite so fancy as the others, but we have separate rooms and the keys are really cool! Now, it is normal to have keycards that need to be inserted to this slot near the door to get power in the room. Here, it is similar but they are standard keys with a big glass prism on a keychain. This prism needs to be inserted into a slot to get power -- it is so cool to do! It is like a power crystal (actually, I guess that is technically what it is?). Color me impressed. I feel I should also mention now that I took the cool kung-fu pajamas from the last hotel, though the pants I snagged are a tad small. It doesn't list them as a chargeable item on this list they gave us when we checked in, so I am hoping I will not be bothered about them. Though, if I get charged, I could offer to ship them back? I dunno, we'll see what happens.

As for today, I think we are just going to rest in our separate rooms. Tomorrow we will explore some, the day after we should be able to register for class, and maybe go for an onsen, and then on our last day, before our bus, maybe some celebratory Karaoke? We'll play it by ear, or something.

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