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One World in One Lifetime

The hardest thing is parking

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 27, 2015

Monday, December 29, 2014

All Pictures

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask whatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Aokigahara
(青木ヶ原)
(Suicide Forest)
 

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°28’46.2″N 138°39’30.6″E

Address:

Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0332 , Japan

Websites:

Cost:

  • Parking is free
  • Hiking is free
  • There is a charge for visiting the Lave tunnels or the caves

Hours:

  • There is no closing time for hiking. But, really, do you want hike here after the sun goes down?

Videos:

Notes:

  • If you go hiking here, DO NOT leave the path. Not only is there a chance you will see dead people, but you will most likely get hopelessly lost!

Kōtoku-in
(高徳院)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°19’00.1″N 139°32’10.1″E
  • Parking 35°19’00.1″N 139°32’03.9″E

Address:

4-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0016, Japan

Phone:

  • +81 467-22-0703

Websites:

Cost:

  • Temple: 200 yen
  • Statute: 20 yen
  • Parking: 200 ~ 800 yen
    • Don’t go to the nearest parking area. It will be very expensive (800 yen/hour).
    • It will take you about 10-15 minutes to see the Buddha, so you will want the cheapest rate.
    • It will be cheaper to use any parking lot nearby that you pay for via a machine (not a human).

Hours:

  • Temple: 8:00 – 17:30
  • Statute: 8:00 – 16:30

Notes:

  • This is where you can see the Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu).

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
(東京都庁)
(Tōkyōto-chō)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°41’22.6″N 139°41’31.5″E

Address:

2-8-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo Prefecture 160-0023, Japan

Phone:

  • +81 3-5321-1111

Websites:

Cost:

  • free

Hours:

  • North Observatory: 9:30 to 23:00
  • South Observatory: 9:30 to 17:30
  • Closed :
    • (Entry ends 30 minutes before closing.)
    • North Observatory: 2nd and 4th Monday of each month (next day if a national holiday)
    • South Observatory: 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month (next day if a national holiday)
    • Both observatories: December 29 to January 3 (except January 1)

Notes:

  • The North Tower has a restaurant with the better view and a bigger souvenir shop. But because of the restaurant and the bigger souvenir shop there is less space for tourists to move around when looking out at Tokyo.
  • The South Tower has better views of Tokyo. Its souvenir shop is very small and its cafe is in the middle of the deck leaving lots of space for tourists to enjoy the view of Tokyo.

Alcatraz ER
(アルカトラズE.R.)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°39’30.1″N 139°41’44.4″E

Address:

2-13-5 Dogenzaka | Harvest Bldg 2F, Shibuya, Tokyo Prefecture 150-0043, Japan

Phone:

  • +81 3-3770-7100

Websites:

Cost:

Hours:

  • 17:00 – 23:00

Notes:

  • I recommend making reservations.
  • You are encouraged to play with the staff and act like you really are an insane inmate.
  • The food is decent. It’s nothing special. This place is more about the atmosphere than anything.

Ace Inn Shinjuku

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°41’32.2″N 139°43’22.3″E
  • near Akebonobashi station on theToeiShinjuku line
    • Exit #3

Address:

〒160-0001 東京都新宿区片町5-2

Phone:

Websites:

Cost:

  • ¥3,300 ~ 4,500 per person per night

Hours:

  • Check in 16:00
  • Check out 11:00
  • There is a receptionist available 24 hours a day.

Notes:

  • The wi-fi is pretty decent throughout the whole hostel.
  • There is one parking space. (You can see our white k-car in the photo above.)
    • ¥1,000/ night
  • My Hostelworld review:

“Tokyo is expensive, so I can’t expect too much from a budget hostel. The place was clean enough for the most part. My bed, sheets, and towels looked pretty clean, but I did get run over by a huge roach in the common area. The kitchen is quite small, and dirty looking. Because the place looks a bit run down in the lobby, some travelers don’t make as much of an effort to pick up after themselves as they should. But, if you just want to stay for a night or two this place might be okay.”

Map:


“…and the old people were never seen from again.”

Back to the Forest

The light of day gave us an extra boost of bravery that we took to the Aokigahara forest. It was early in the morning and none of the caves, or lava related sight-seeing activities were open. We just wanted to walk around and look at stuff.

We stuck to the trail and did not go down too far. It was cold. It had snowed the previous night and it started to snow again on our walk. While in the woods, Mark told me about some scary tale about the forest involving abandoned grandparents left in the winter to starve to death. Once we were sufficiently cold we headed back to our warm car.

“Can I interest you in a nicely overpriced parking spot, ma’am?”

He called me over.

Next we went to see a big Buddha who would let us walk around in his belly. We had no trouble finding him. He was right were Google maps said he would be. The problem was where to park.

The attraction did not have its own parking lot. We drove past it, but turned around when we saw no place to park. As we were passing it again, from the other side, a guy with a bright orange vest motioned us to his parking lot. He seemed to know what he was doing and he called us over with such authority, we figured that this was the official parking lot of the Kotoku-in shrine.

As we got out of the car Mr. Orange gave us a ticket with a time on it. I asked him how much the parking cost. It was ¥800 for 30 minutes. YIKES!! We were already parked. We handed him the cash and crossed the street.

When we left we found a better parking spot a few blocks up the road. It had a machine you paid instead of an overly confident guy, but it was too late. The mistake had already been made. “You win this time, Mr. Orange.”

He’s empty inside.

We didn’t want to go over our 30-minute time limit and have to pay another ¥800 for parking. So, we zipped through the shrine. We ran through the gardens and stopped at the souvenir shop to pick up some postcards. We went inside the Buddha and took many photos, all the while checking the time.

We were back to our car in 25 minutes.

Capital City!

Calculon

The next stop was Tokyo. We found our hostel with ease. I walked in to inquire about the parking situation. The clerk at the hostel told me that they had one parking spot that cost ¥1,000 per day to use. My heart skipped a beat; ¥1,000 per day is practically free when it comes to downtown Tokyo parking.

“Is it available?” I felt like even asking was being too optimistic. The guy rummaged through half a ton of papers on his desk looking for something that would tell him if the spot was open for the duration of our stay. He chattered on and on about things I didn’t care about as he read through random papers here and there.

There were several false finds. “Oh this is it. No. No. This is the information about the blah blah blah. Did you know that blah blah blah… ?” I stood there trying not to look anxious. I really didn’t want to blow half our travel money on parking.

“Here it is. Here it is! You can use the spot.” He went into a little speech about how the spot was only for guests, there was only one, and how much it would cost. I knew all this already. He told me all of it about 20 minutes earlier when I walked in.

I tried to interrupt to ask him where the spot was. Mark was illegally parked on the street and waiting for me to give him news about our parking situation. But, the guy ignored me and continued with his sermon. I counted out all the money I needed to pay for both the parking fee and the cost for Mark and I to stay at the hostel while he was talking.

I placed the money on the silver money tray on the counter. He tried to shoo it away. He had not done the calculations yet and did not want to deal with money right now. He was still talking about parking.

Finally, when he was done he asked if I wanted to pay for the parking all at once now, or day by day. I told him that I would pay for everything right now and tried to hand him the money he shooed away before. He rejected the money again.

“You must first check-in, but to check-in you must pay for your stay.” He said this so solemnly, I would have thought, that he thought, that I thought paying was optional. Had I not been trying to give this man money for the past 10 minutes?

Again, I placed my wad of cash on the silver tray and again he shooed it away. He pulled out a calculator and pushed buttons like a mad accountant. He mumbled some numbers in Japanese. Once again, I placed my money on the silver tray, but took it back when he waved his hand at me. The money was messing up his calculations.

When he was done with his math, he gave me his figure. I place my cash on the silver tray once more. He counted it and meticulously wrote me a receipt. I took the receipt and asked where the parking spot was. “Didn’t I tell you? It’s right there.”

Mark has his own city?

Let’s go to the insane asylum!

I made reservations that evening for dinner at an insane asylum themed restaurant. I read about it in some odd e-zine some time back. But since then, I’ve only been to Tokyo for business.

This was my opportunity to check out this restaurant.

Hungry?

Diners are encouraged to play along with the theme. Mark and I saw some customers handcuffed and chained together as they were led to their table. But speaking Japanese with a very limited vocabulary, put a damper on our experience.

Let me just tell you all the naughty words I know in English.

For one thing, I don’t know that many curse words in Japanese. I know the word, “fool” and a really rude way to say “you” but, this is quite tame compared to the horrible things I can say in Spanish. So when the waitress came over, with her purple eyes, she failed to shock us with her scandalous vocabulary.

So she tried using English. But, English isn’t really her thing and at first we didn’t understand what she was getting at. For one thing, she got the names for the female and male genitalia mixed up. Then she tried to ask us about our sex lives, but we couldn’t understand her the first 6 times she asked. The conversation ended with her just saying the word, “pussy” over and over along with some other stuff that could have been English and/or Japanese.

I’m sure that whatever she said, it was all very naughty.

Mad Chemist

The food is nothing special. I think they put most of their creative effort into their drinks. The menu starts with drinks giving you high hopes of things to come. But the food, with the exception of one or two dishes,  is just regular non-asylum themed food that you can get anywhere. It just costs more.

Tokyo brings out the worst in some people.

You pay for the atmosphere, the fun, and the creepiness.

I enjoyed the restaurant, but I think I would have liked it more if I knew more rude words in Japanese.

All Pictures

Posted in Fujikawaguchiko 町, Honshū, Japan, Kamakura 市, Kanagawa 県, Tokyo 都, Yamanashi 県 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nobody wants to look at Mt. Fuji

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 20, 2015

Sunday, December 28, 2014

All Pictures

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask whatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Ryugashi Cavern
(竜ヶ岩洞)
(Tatsugaiwa hora)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°50’42.7″N 137°38’55.0″E

Address:

193 Inasacho Tabata, Kita-ku, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 431-2221, Japan

Phone:

  • 053-543-0108

Websites:

Cost:

  • 650 yen
  • parking is free

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 17:00

Notes:

  • It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to explore.
  • Check out the blue Illumination Cave in the waiting area.

Lake Kawaguchiko
(河口湖)
(Kawaguchi-ko)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°30’37.2″N 138°46’25.7″E
  • free parking at: 35°30’46.0″N 138°46’04.1″E
    • This is not long term parking.

Websites:

Cost:

  • free

Hours:

  • always avaible

Notes:

  • Go to the eastern end of the lake for great views of Mt. Fuji.
  • There are many hotels nearby that have onsens with great views of Mt. Fuji.

Aokigahara
(青木ヶ原)
(Suicide Forest)
 

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°28’46.2″N 138°39’30.6″E

Address:

Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0332 , Japan

Websites:

Cost:

  • Parking is free
  • Hiking is free
  • There is a charge for visiting the Lave tunnels or the caves

Hours:

  • There is no closing time for hiking. But, really, do you want hike here after the sun goes down?

Videos:

Notes:

  • If you go hiking here, DO NOT leave the path. Not only is there a chance you will see dead people, but you will most likely get hopelessly lost!

K’s House Mt.Fuji

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°30’20.6″N 138°45’38.4″E

Address:

6713-108, Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru-gu, Mount Fuji, Japan

Phone:

Websites:

Cost:

Hours:

  • Check in 15:00-20:00
  • Check out 8:00-11:00

Notes:

  • There are a few free parking spots.
  • This is one of the nicest, cleanest, and most organized hostels in Japan.
  • The wi-fi is not that great, though.
  • This is part of a chain of hostels throughout Japan.

Map:


Mark is really getting into this blue cave.

2 Hours early.

Because of our early departure from Popeye’s Media Cafe, we got to the cave 2 hours early. At first we thought about using this extra time wisely, by stopping at a laundromat or coin-laundry as they are called here. Mark and I packed only 3 days worth of clothes and, not including what we were currently wearing, we were completely out of clean clothes.

We stopped at one place that had lots of washers and dryers. (Sometimes, you find laundromats here with 2 washers and dryers.) We sorted our clothes and then turned around to choose which machine we wanted. Here in Japan not all washing machines do the same thing.

Some are bigger, but more expensive. If you can fit all your clothes into a bigger machine it might be cheaper overall than doing 2 loads. Some are exclusively for shoes. Some are heavy-duty and are meant for washing thick blankets and duvets.

Some give you the option of using hot water. This is a rarity in Japan. Most home washing machines don’t give you a hot water wash option. The ones that do, require you to get a hose that links the washer to your kitchen faucet or bathroom shower to access the hot water. In Japan you are supposed to get the germ killing power of hot water from the sun when you hang out your washing on a nice sunny summer day. What you are supposed to do in the winter or when it rains, I have no idea.

We looked at the machines and tried to figure out the cheapest way to get all our laundry clean. The smallest, cheapest machine was something like ¥800 ($8) for one load. The biggest was ¥1,600. We looked at the dryers. They cost about $2 for 10 minutes of drying. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve had to go to a laundromat, but come on!

We passed a couple other coin-laundrys, but they all had roughly the same prices. “I’m not dropping ¥3,000 ($30) just so I can reuse my own clothes. I’ll wash my clothes by hand before it comes to that!” It never came to that. The washers and dryers at the hostels were a lot more reasonably priced with an average of ¥150 to wash and ¥100 for 20 minutes for the dryer.

Instead of doing laundry, we took a nap in the car then went to Seven-11 for hot cup noodles. After eating, we went back to sleeping in the car. By the time we were thoroughly cold, the cave opened.

Someone’s looking for his breakfast.

The cave was nice; not too cavy. It was big enough to walk through upright except for one small section. It was drippy, but well lit.

It is supposedly colder inside the cave than outside, but this is hardly noticeable in the winter. It’s cold everywhere! Except for the part near the in-cave water fall, I thought it was warmer in the cave. But, that might have been because we were walking along the path in the cave and outside we were just standing around.

We did prepare to be cold on this trip. We had 2 packs of kairo, the sticky and the regular type. The sticky ones come with an adhesive on it’s back and you are to stick it to your clothes, never directly to your skin. But I never feel any warmth from it when I stick it to my clothes. Once I said, “Screw the rules!” and slapped one right to my back. It felt like I had a nuclear reactor burrowing into my spine.

The best thing to do is to just hold onto the kairo and stick your hands into your jacket pockets. You could put them in your mittens, too. If you’re a guy you could stick them in your pants’ pockets to keep your legs warm. This does not work for the ladies; women’s pant-pockets are just not deep enough.

It’s just at the end of this road.

A Great View of Mt. Fuji

After the cave we headed to lake Kawaguchiko for a view of Mt. Fugi. Long before we got to our destination we could easily see Fuji on the horizon. Around lunch time we thought how great it would be to eat lunch somewhere while looking at Japan’s most famous mountain.

We drove for miles looking out for any restaurant with a mountain view. We drove and drove and drove. Every restaurant, cafe, or diner we passed had it’s back to Mt. Fuji.

The handiwork of the dumbest building planner in the world.

We passed a McDonald’s and thought, “Finally!” We parked our car and went in. The place was not too crowded, but we wanted to make sure to get seats by the window on the Fuji side. But, there were no windows on the Fuji side. It was just a cream-colored wall. The only window in the McDonald’s faced the road we were just on.

“Don’t you wish you were somewhere with a great view of something special?”

There was an Italian restaurant across the street from the McDonald’s. We decided to go there, even though we could see from the McDonald’s parking lot that it had no windows at all. “If I’m not going to enjoy a view of Mt. Fuji, I should at least enjoy my food.”

The Italian food was pretty good. There were windows on the inside, but they looked out to paintings of Italy. You could look out one window and see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Out another you could see Rome. This would have been all nice and well, if the real Fuji-san weren’t sitting outside the restaurant begging to be looked at.

This would be a great spot for a McDonald’s.

We found a parking spot near Lake Kawaguchiko where we could park for free. We took a million photos of Mt. Fuji. I took photos of Mark and Mt. Fuji. He took photos of me and Mt. Fuji. We took photos together with Fuji in the background then some with neither of us in them. Then Mark suggested that we look for Aokigahara.

Me – “You do see that the sun is about to set…”

Mark – “Yup. It’ll be creepy!”

“Mark, did you hear that?”

We found the forest some call the Suicide Forest. It was dark. I know that there is a hiking trail into the forest and that one should always, always, always stick to the trail. Wandering off the marked path could get you hopelessly lost and you can die of exposure.

In the dark I could not even see a path to follow. We went just far enough to say we went in, but not far enough that we could not see the lights from the cars on the road. I think Mark tripped on a fallen tree and we both decided to come back the next morning.

“The ghosts would be asleep then.”

All Pictures

Posted in Fujikawaguchiko 町, Hamamatsu 市, Honshū, Japan, Shizuoka 県, Yamanashi 県 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wasting Time

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 13, 2015

Saturday, December 27, 2014

All Pictures

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask whatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Ecohotel Nagoya

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°10’09.9″N 136°52’44.1″E
  • Next to the Denny’s by Nagoya Station.

Address:

14-5 Tsubakicho, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture 453-0015, Japan

Phone:

  • +81-524621777

Websites:

e-mail:

Cost:

  • A base of 2,100 JYN per person per night

Hours:

  • There is closing time when there is no receptionist, but I don’t know when that it.

Notes:

  • The nearest cheap parking is near the MaxValu grocery store nearby.
    • 35°09’56.1″N 136°52’50.0″E
    • Parking is ¥700/12 hours
  • This is not a hostel, so there is no kitchen but they do have electric kettles in the hall way.
  • They do have a coin laundry in the basement near the showers.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Money Museum
(三菱東京UFJ銀行貨幣資料館)
(Mitsubishi Tōkyō UFJ Ginkō Kaheishiryōkan)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°10’59.0″N 136°55’23.2″E

Address:

25 Akatsuka-cho Higashi-ku, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture 461-0026, Japan

Phone:

  • 052 933 5151

Websites:

Cost:

  • free

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 16:00
  • closed Monday and public holidays

Notes:

  • They have some video presentations in English.

Nagoya Sky Boat
at Sunshine Sakae
(サンシャイン栄)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°10’10.8″N 136°54’22.9″E

Address:

Sunshine Sakae, 3 Chome-24-4 Nishiki, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture

Phone:

  • 052-310-2211

Websites:

Cost:

Hours:

  • 11:00 – 23:00
  • Last entry at 22:45

Notes:

  • Max of 4 people per berth

Nagoya Spaceship Aqua

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°10’15.7″N 136°54’35.0″E

Address:

1-11-1 Higashisakura, Higashi-ku, Nagoya

Phone:

  • +81-52-962-1011

Websites:

Cost:

  • free

Hours:

  • Spaceship Aqua 10:00AM – 9:00PM
  • Shops 10:00AM – 9:00PM
  • Restaurants 10:00AM – 10:00PM(Business hours vary by shop)
  • Closed New Years’s Day

Notes:

  • The bus terminal is below or near this.

Map:


What is there to see in Nagoya?

What is Nagoya famous for?

I did do a lot of research and planning for this trip. But, when it came to Nagoya, my to-see list included things like, the science museum, a car museum, and an aquatic museum. All of which are great if you are into that sort of thing. Neither Mark nor I are.

When we started our day we both realized that we weren’t into any of that stuff. We wanted to do things that can only be done in Nagoya. But we could not come up with anything that Nagoya is famous for.

“There must be something. I had heard of Nagoya, even before living in Japan. It must be famous for some reason.” But we couldn’t find a thing. Nagoya was the Charo of Japan. We’ve heard of it, but we just don’t remember why.

¥600 one day bus and subway pass

We would have gotten the ¥500 pass for the Nagoya city sightseeing route bus if we had stuck to the original plan. On that route we would have seen many of the city’s museums as well as Nagoya castle, gardens, and a plethora of temples and shrines. But none of that sounded appealing or unique.

Every city in Japan has temples, shrines, castles, and gardens. We’ve seen so many of those that we no longer care to see any more. What can we only see in Nagoya?

We spent a good hour and a half at Nagoya station trying to come up with a new agenda for the day. At one point a cop came over and gave us his confused two cents. His English was fine, he just could not get over the fact that we didn’t want to see the castle or the gardens or any of the shrines.

He is worth his weight in ¥10,000 ($100) notes.

 Money Money Money

The one thing on my planned list was the money museum. It promised old currency from Japan, China, and many other countries. Plus it was free. We asked confused cop for directions to the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Money Museum. That was too much for him. “You want to see a bank!? …not the castle?”

Japan used to put a fat man with a sack of money sitting on another sack of money on their money.

I enjoyed the money museum and learning about the history of Japan’s money printing and minting. You can find out what your height weight in money are. Though, I generally have a policy against being weighed in public.

“I think we should wait for the #35 to see the blah blah blah shrine!”

After the money museum, we stood on the street for about 30 minutes arguing about what we should see next. Mark gave up on doing or seeing anything unique to Nagoya and wanted to just go to the castle, a temple, or a shrine. But, I didn’t want to. All castles, temples, and shrines generally look alike and are a bit boring.

The science museum was the only thing that we both agree would be interesting, but the admission fee of ¥800 was a little too high to chance not being able to read anything. If they had English translations, fine. But if it was all in Japanese, we thought that the entrance charge would be too high. So we contemplated just going there and asking.

In the end we got cold and just hopped on the next bus back to Nagoya station. The new plan was to get off when we saw something interesting.

From here we can see all that Nagoya has to offer.

We ended up on the Sky Boat, a Ferris wheel in downtown Nagoya. We took out our map of the city and looked at our view to see what we could do next. That’s when we spotted the Spaceship Aqua. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but it looked interesting.

The Nagoya Tower from the Spaceship Aqua

I’m still not sure what the Spaceship Aqua is all about. I think it started as a bus station that turned into a mall and it’s now a multi-leveled piece of art that encourages people to exercise while getting fresh air. Whatever it is, I liked it!

Mark, I’m not drunk or old enough to go to Denny’s.

It’s for the mall walkers.

When Mark saw the Denny’s the night before he demanded to eat there. I wasn’t too keen. “It’s for old people,” I told him. But, he was feeling home sick and wanted to eat at an American diner.

Well, so did half of Nagoya. The place was crowded and there was a long line of people waiting to be seated. We put our names down for a table and waited for about 40 minutes. It was about 14:00. Come to think of it, when we passed the Denny’s the night before at around 22:00, the place was packed then too.

There were no typical American diner dishes on the menu. I had a Japanese version of an Italian dish and Mark had a Japanese version of a Chinese dish.

postcards

While I waited I wrote out several postcards to be sent to friends and family back in the US. I know it’s easier and faster to upload photos on Facebook, but I still like mailing postcards. I used to mail a postcard to my Aunt Audrey and Uncle Mike every time I took a trip. But I stopped doing that a few years back. Now, I’d like to get back into the habit of it again.

“We’re now in some city somewhere in Japan, I guess.” – Mark

We had another long drive to the tiny city of Hamamatsu. I wanted to make sure to leave Nagoya by 15:30 so we could avoid driving at night on some lonely back road. Japanese roads in the winter in small towns can be a little tricky. There are no street lights and most towns do not salt their roads. And there are always those drivers who just don’t understand why other people slow down when the road gets a little icy.

(Winter 2010 Yufu, Oita-ken) I wanted to avoid drivers like this guy.

I never understood those idiots who don’t slow down in bad weather. There were many times that I have slowed down significantly because I could not see the road very well, or because I knew that there is a chance I could hit some icy patch of the road and lose control of the car for a few seconds, only to see some driver honking at me annoyed as they over take me.

Once, 20 minutes after being overtaken by 4 of those types of jerks at the top of a hill, I slowly passed all four of them when I got to the bottom. They had all crashed into each other and were scattered along the road and in ditches. Those foolish fools.

To sleep or to internet all night long, that is the question.

We got to Hamamatsu safely and spent the night in an internet cafe. This little town had no hostels or hotels on hostelworld.com. I could find no accommodations that advertised online at all, except for good old Popeye’s Media Cafe. We got 2 cubicles with a 10 hour special for ¥2,100 each.

He’s going to do this all night!

We spent the first couple hours sampling all the free drinks at the drink bar and eating ice cream cones. Then we took showers and went to bed after watching a thousand YouTube videos.

I had set my alarm for 5:30 the next morning. We had to check out by 6:00 and I didn’t want us to over sleep. But, there was no need to worry. The 5 gallons of coffee, tea, and soft drinks I had before bed made sure that I woke up several times that night to pee. Then some guy, in a cubical near us, set his alarm for 4:30, but he slept right through it. It kept beeping until 5:45.

I hope he got charge a lot extra for missing his check-out time!

All Pictures

Posted in Aichi 県, Honshū, Japan, Nagoya 市 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

They Lost Mark

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 6, 2015

Friday, December 26, 2014

All Pictures

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank toaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Rokko-Shidare Observatory
(自然体感展望台 六甲枝垂れ)
(Shizentai-kan tenbō-dai Rokkō shidare)

on Mount Rokko
(六甲山)
(Rokkosan)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°45’51.9″N 135°14’47.4″E
  • 100 JYN toll

Address:

1877-9 Rokkosancho Gokaiyama, Nada-ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 657-0101, Japan

Phone:

  • +81 78-894-2281

Websites:

Cost:

  • 100 JYN toll to the top of Mt. Rokko
  • The look out is free.
  • Parking is 500JYN/car
  • The mesh dome thing in the photo above costs 300JYN to enter.

Hours:

  • Apr-Nov 10:00~21:00
    • Sep 19 and Nov 23 on Sundays & Holidays 9:00~21:00
  • Dec-Mar 10:00~18:00

Notes:

This is mainly a bunch of cafes and restaurants.

Map:


Mark is fast asleep somewhere in here.

Departure time — 9:30

The plan for this day was to visit Mt. Rokko then drive to Nagoya and see Nagoya at night. I wanted to look at Kobe from the heights of the observatory which doesn’t open until 10:00, so we could leave the hostel as late as 9:30.

The hostel put Mark and me in different dorm rooms. Mark was in a mixed room and I was in an all female room. Although Mark came to my room when he carried my stuff up, I had no idea where his room was. But, I didn’t think it mattered when we went to bed that night before, so I never asked.

The next morning I woke up around 7:30 and took a long hot shower. With hostels, even in Japan, you never know what the shower will be like. Since this hostel had a very nice, clean, and mold free shower, I took my time to make up for any possible future dirty showers where I would try to spend as little time as necessary in.

I got dressed and headed to the kitchen for breakfast. Mark and I didn’t want to waste time looking for a restaurant in the mornings for breakfast, so we got 2 double size boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios from Costco for the trip. I’m not a big fan of cereal. It has way too many calories for a meal that is just somewhat enjoyable. But, it’s quick, easy, and it needs no refrigeration. We just made sure to buy milk the night before and that was that.

I ate my cereal and did my usual morning online routine like I would if I were at home. I expected to see Mark at any given moment. I finished my breakfast and washed my bowl. I even filled my coffee tumbler with mostly milk and sugar add very little coffee to go, but still no Mark.

Finally, I ask the clerk on duty where a Mark Racine was staying.

clerk – “Who?”

Me – “My husband, Mark. We checked in together.”

This was not the same person who checked us in, but he kept asking for clarification of Mark’s identity like there was a possibility that he knew Mark or something. Like if I were to say, “You know, that guy who likes to do the ‘octopus dance’ at parties” he would go, “Oh, Mark Ray-seen!” But this did not happen.

He pulled out a giant poster board, like the kind used for elementary school presentations, and put it flat on the table.

clerk – “What’s your name?”

me – “Josie Racine, or Josephine Racine.” (I can never remember what name I gave when making reservations.)

clerk – “Oh, he’s in the bunk next to yours.”

He pointed to some scribblings under yesterday’s date quite pleased with himself. I almost felt bad telling him that this was not possible. I spent the night in an all female room and none of the women in my room were my husband.

me – “Could you check the board again?”

I looked at the board. There was nothing intelligible on it. It was not in Japanese or anything, only numbers and dates and bad handwriting of Roman script. I don’t know how he got any information off the board other than by pure witch craft.

clerk – “Well, since your husband is a guy… you should try the mixed dorm room on the 2nd floor.”

I went up to the second floor, opened the door and walked to the sleeping area. There were many bunks with their privacy curtains drawn closed. Which one was Mark’s?

Look at me being all easy to find.

I went back downstairs to ask the clerk which bed was Mark’s. He pulled out the board again and stared at it intently.

clerk – “You two were supposed to be in bunks 10 and 11 in the mixed room. So he should be in 10 or 11.”

I went back to the 2nd floor mixed dorm room. Both 10 and 11 were open and empty. No one had been sleeping in either of those beds the past night. It was useless asking the clerk to check the board anymore. Clearly this hostel had lost my husband.

I started to call his name quietly as I walked through the room. I got no response. Then, I went to each bunk with closed curtains and called him. After 4 or 5 bunks, his head popped out. “What are you doing?” I asked, “It’s 9:20; we have to go!”

 

You think it’s cold now? Try standing in this tower that attracts the wind.

We drove to Mt. Rokko within the time estimated by Google Maps. We got there about 10 minutes before the observatory opened. Rather than warmly waiting in the car, we got out and explored the wintery area.

Kobe

We found a look-out tower and went to the top. We look down on Kobe and took photos.

I looked back towards the observatory and thought that this tower might have a better view of Kobe than the observatory.

The area around the tower look like some sort of fake European village. It was filled with closed coffee shops and restaurants, and a gift shop that was just opening up. We went in the gift shop and bought post cards.

After that we walked to the observatory. It got colder the further up the hill we walked. We were about to pay to enter the observatory, but it didn’t look open. The time it took to figure out whether or not the observatory was open was just enough for us to ask ourselves, “Do we really want to pay ¥600 to see what we just saw for free, but at a different angle?”

The answer was, “no.” We got back in our car and headed for Nagoya.

Mark just blends right in.

On our way to Nagoya we past a small town, in Shiga-ken maybe, whose main industry is making ceramic statues of raccoon dogs. There were no restaurants or gas stations that we could find, just 20 or 30 ceramic takuni shops.

“Look at all them shiny lights, Mark!”

By the time we got to Nagoya it was night and all the tourist attractions were closed. After checking into our hotel and finding cheap parking near a grocery store we walked around Nagoya station in amazement of the big city. We live in Miyoshi, now. We don’t have bright lights or anything that resembles a night life.

Paid Parking

The Trick to Cheaper Parking in Japan

If you don’t mind doing some extra walking, you can find cheap parking. Stay away from train stations. That is where everyone wants to park. Go a few blocks away from the station. The further away from the station, the cheaper the parking will be.

For short-term parking, look for a convenience store. These are good for parking for less than 30 minutes. Any longer than that, and your car will cause suspicion.

For longer parking times, look for a grocery store, hardware store, or a pachinko parlor. Depending on where you are these options might even be free. And, if not, they will have cheaper parking, even if you don’t buy anything.

Pachinko parlors will have the most parking spots and no one will notice if you leave your car there for days, many gamblers do. Just don’t go in and lose all your parking money in the machines.

All Pictures

Posted in Honshū, Hyōgo 県, Japan, Kobe 市 | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Steak

Posted by Heliocentrism on January 30, 2015

Thursday, December 25, 2014

All Pictures

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask whatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Kobe
(神戸市)

How to get there:

You can get here by plane or train. If you live in Oita on Kyushu you can take an overnight boat from Beppu city.

Websites:

Cost:

  • Kobe Beef $35 ~ $200
    • To get a better deal, try having Kobe steak for lunch instead of dinner.

Videos:

Notes:

  • There is free wi-fi throughout the city of Kobe. You can sign up for free week long wi-fi at any tourist information centers, or use the free 3-hour long wi-fi.

Meriken Park
(メリケンパーク)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°40’55.4″N 135°11’19.0″E

Address:

Hatobacho, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan

Websites:

Cost:

  • free

Hours:

  • the park itself is always available

Notes:

  • The name of the park comes from the word “American,” which was commonly translated as “Meriken” during the Meiji era.
  • Things to see in or near this park:
    • Steakland Kobe (神戸のステーキランド)
      • 34°41’34.9″N 135°11’31.5″E
      • Go for lunch
      • There are many Steakland Kobe restaurants in Kobe.
    • Hanshin Earthquake Memorial Park (神戸港震災メモリアルパーク)
      • 34°41’01.3″N 135°11’24.4″E
    • Kobe Maritime Museum
      • 34°40’58.0″N 135°11’18.0″E
      • ¥600
      • 10:00 – 17:00 Tue – Sun (Closed December 29 to January 3)
    • Kobe Port Tower (神戸ポートタワー)(KōbePōtoTawā)
      • 34°40’57.5″N 135°11’12.1″E
      • ¥600
      • 9:00 – 20:00
    • Kobe Anpanman Museum (神戸アンパンマンこどもミュージアム&モール)
      • 34°40’45.5″N 135°11’04.7″E
      • ¥1,500 for everyone over 1 year old
      • 10:00 – 18:00
      • for toddlers
    • Love’s Post Box (愛の郵便ポスト)
      • 34°40’47.0″N 135°11’06.2″E (or nearby)
      • a hallowed spot for romance
      • It’ right in front of the Anpanman Museum
      • The stationary store, near the mail box, where you can buy postcards and stamps, closes at 19:00.
    • Statue of Elvis (エルヴィス・プレスリー像)
      • 34°40’42.9″N 135°10’56.2″E
      • This was paid for by Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi along with many other Elvis fans.
      • Was originally placed in Harajuku, Tokyo in 1987.
    • Kobe Harborland (神戸ハーバーランド)

Steakland Kobe
(神戸のステーキランド)
(Kōbe no sutēkirando)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°41’34.9″N 135°11’31.5″E

Address:

1-8-2 Kitanagasadori, Chuo-ku | Miyasako Bldg. 1-2F, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 650-0012, Japan

〒650-0012神戸市中央区北長狭通1丁目9番17号 三宮興業ビル6階

Phone:

  • +81 78-332-1653

Websites:

Cost:

Hours:

  • 11:00 – 22:00

Notes:

  • It’s cheaper to eat here for lunch than dinner.
  • There are 3 locations for this restaurant.

Sannomiya R2 Hostel
(神戸三宮R2ホステル)
(Kōbe Sannomiya R2 hosuteru)

How to get there:

Address:

2-4-6 Kumoi-dori Chuoku-ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 691-0096, Japan

Phone:

  • +81-80-4496-3034

Websites:

e-mail:

Cost:

Hours:

  • reception 9:00-22:00
  • Check in 15:00 – 22:00
  • Check out 10:00

Notes:

  • No kids under 7
  • If you book your stay through HostelWorld, make sure to bring your conformation paper and proof that you have paid 10% of the charge already.

Map:


Road Trip!

On the Road Again

This was our first big road trip, since… what is it? …2012? 2012!

I had been planning this trip for months. I had a day-to-day schedule of what we would do, see, where we would sleep, and how much everything should cost. I even wrote down what time we should wake up each morning and how long we should stay at any given tourist attraction.

I’ve changed my traveling ways. I’ve gone from a haphazard tourist that goes places knowing nothing about everything, to researching everything thoroughly and playing tour guide to Mark.

There are still a few things that stand in my way, research-wise. A lot of the information online and in guide books are grossly incorrect or non-existent. Also, estimations of travel time due to traffic are way off.

The drive time from Miyoshi to Kobe was estimated by both my Garmin and Google maps to be about 6 hours with traffic when not taking any toll roads. That was not even close. It’s more like 8 or 9 hours. And, we left at 7:00 in the morning and avoid traffic until we got to Kobe city.

I was hoping for a world made entirely out of steak.

Adventures in Steak Land

Kobe beef is very expensive. I’m talking 60~80 bucks for a steak-centric meal here. But, this is one of the finest beefs in the world. So, Mark did some research and found the cheapest of the most expensive steakhouses; Steak Land.

Generally, Steak Land has the more affordable Kobe beef steaks. It’s still a lot of money to drop for one meal. So, we were going to go there for lunch. The lunch menu is about $10 less than the dinner menu. But, damn that Kobe traffic!

Once we were officially in Kobe’s city limits, the Garmin said we were 30 minutes from the hostel. It kept saying that for about 2 hours. Then when we got to the coordinates, there was no hostel to be seen. The hostel is in an area filled with one-way roads so we could not easily drive around looking for something that looked hostel-like.

Mark parked the car on the side of the road, illegally. But, he put on the emergency blinkers, like everyone else around here does, so it was totally cool. I took out my tablet and used the GPS on it to find the hostel on foot. It took me to the back of an apartment building. “That cannot be it.”

I kept walking, looking for someone to ask for help. I was hoping to find a shop but there was none on the little back alley I was on. So I walked away from the spot where the hostel was supposed to be and tried to get on a main road. Just when I found the main road, I saw the hostel’s teeny tiny completely missable sign.

Needless to say, we did not make it to Steak Land in time for the lunch special.

one Kobe steak and one steak from Kobe

Can you taste the difference?

We had been looking forward to this meal, and hadn’t eaten since breakfast. We decided to go anyway, even if we did have to pay for the more expensive dinner.

We paid for one Kobe steak and one regular steak. This was not only easier on our wallets, but it gave us an opportunity to compare the two steaks.

Keep in mind that the regular “roasted” steak was from a cow grown, bought, and cooked in Kobe. I preferred the regular steak. Mind you that they were both very good. They were the best and second best steaks I have ever had by far. They were both “like buttah” but I just like the non-Kobe steak a bit more.

We had to wait about 15 minutes for a couple with a selfie stick to take their standard 1,001 photos.

This Lights of Kobe Harbor

We spent the rest of the evening walking around Kobe harbor looking at attractions and taking photos. I used the GPS on my tablet to get us from one thing of interest to another. But then it’s battery died, so we found a map and navigated the old fashioned way.

Kobe wears the night well.

We had a great time, until we were ready to go back to the hostel. I was counting on my tablet to give us directions, but that was not an option now.

Me – “Mark, do you remember how to get back to the hostel?”

Mark – “Sure, just go to that one train station. Walk down the main road, and turn at the Lawson. It’s a straight 8 minute or so walk from there.”

Me – “Seriously!? You’re standing on a street in Japan and your point of reference is a convenience store?”

Mark – “Now, I see where I went wrong…”

Elvis was no help with directions.

We walked around for an hour looking for that one particular Lawson that was an 8-minute walk from our hostel. We found it eventually, but during our search I wondered what would happen to us if we really could never find this hostel again. We would not be able to find our car, because we only knew it’s location in reference to the hostel.

Luckily, it never came to that.

All Pictures

Posted in Honshū, Hyōgo 県, Japan, Kobe 市 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Shobara Cave

Posted by Heliocentrism on January 23, 2015

Saturday, November 15, 2014

All Pictures

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask whatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Taishaku Gorge
(帝釈峡)
(Taishakukyō)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°52’08.5″N 133°12’10.8″E

Address:

Taisyakukyo Tojo-cho Shobara City , Zip code 729-5244

Phone:

  • +81-(0)8477-2-0525

Websites:

Cost:

  • Parking – 400 JYN per car
  • Hakuundo cave – 250 JYN/adult
  • Bike rental – 500 JYN

Hours:

  • Hakuundo Cave – 9:00~ 17:00
  • The rest of the trail is always available.

Notes:

  • Things you can see here:
    • Hakuun-do Cave (白雲洞) – a 200-meter-long limestone cave
    • On-bashi Bridge –  a 90-meter-long
  • You can rent bikes here.
  • Near the parking lot there is a restaurant.
  • There is also a coffee shop near the start of the trail.

Map:


Ready to go in a cave

The Cave

I’ve known about this cave for a while, but I could not find exactly where it was. I had gps coordinates for the cave, but my Garmin said that it could not calculate the directions needed to get us there.

A friend came over to our apartment one day and I asked her about the cave. She got on google and showed me where it was. From google.maps I found Shobara’s tourist website and general directions to the cave.

I put in the new coordinates and the Garmin once again refused to help. But this time Mark and I knew to head to Tojo. Once there we found some ambiguous signs and asked a couple people for directions. We also found a few other tourist who were looking for the same place. If you don’t know where this place is, it’s a little difficult to find.

Hot udon because we’re heading out into the cold.

We parked our car and stopped at a little restaurant before starting our 2 hour hike. We ordered curry udon and consulted the many maps that were given to us when we asked for directions.

It might look like just an ordinary pillar of stone to you, but it’s actually a demon tower!

The maps are not for not getting lost. There is only one path to follow. The maps tell you what you pass along the way. Most of the items on the map seemed like stuff made up by Shobara’s board of tourist to attract more people. I have to say, I quite enjoyed it. The walk was so much more better for all the demon rocks and stories about demon rocks.

Japanese Sphinx?

I’ve noticed a trend in our little neighboring town to the north. They are obsessed with Egypt. We saw the mountain that the board of tourism wants us to believe is actually a pyramid. Now, in the cave we saw a natural sphinx. I wonder it they have mummies anywhere…

Mark stole that scarf from me. I just finished knitting it too!

The path is a lovely place to go for a walk, especially in fall. It would be a great place to take a date, since neither Shobara or my town, Miyoshi, have a movie theater. Yes, you read that correctly. There are no movie theaters in my town or the next town over.

It’s madness!

All Pictures

Posted in Hiroshima 県, Honshū, Japan, Shōbara 市 | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Dogo Onsen

Posted by Heliocentrism on January 16, 2015

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

All Pictures

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank toaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Dogo Onsen Honkan
(道後温泉本館)

in The Dogo Onsen
(道後温泉)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 33°51’07.4″N 132°47’11.0″E
  • If you are leaving from Hiroshima, you can take a ferry.

Address:

5-6 Dogoyunomachi, Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture 790-0842, Japan

Phone:

  • +81 89-921-5141

Websites:

Cost:

  • Level 1:
    • 410 yen, 6:00 to 23:00 (entrance until 22:30)
    •  60 minutes.
    • Kami no Yu bath (Bath of the Gods)
      • on the first floor
  • Level 2:
    • 840 yen, 6:00 to 22:00 (entrance until 21:00)
    • 60 minutes
    • includes:
      • everything from level 1
      • rental yukata
      • tea and crackers
      • access to a public tatami room on the second floor for relaxation
  • Level 3:
    • 1250 yen, 6:00 to 22:00 (entrance until 21:00)
    • 60 minutes
    • includes:
      • everything from level 2
      • access to Tama no Yu bath (Bath of the Spirits)
      • a rental towel
      • a tour of the Emperor’s bathing facilities
  • Level 4:
    • 1550 yen, 6:00 to 22:00 (entrance until 20:40)
    • 80 minutes
    • includes:
      • everything from level 3
      • access to a private tatami room on the third floor for relaxation
      • Botchan Dango sweets are instead of crackers
  • Tour of the Emperor’s bathing facilities only:
    • 260 yen, 6:00 to 21:00 (entrance until 21:00)

Hours:

  • 6:00 ~ 22:00 or 23:00 depending on which level of onsen tour you get
  • Dogo Onsen Honkan is closed one day in December for end of the year cleaning.

Downloads:

Notes:

  • The most famous part of DogoOnsenistheDogoOnsenHonkan (道後温泉本館).
    • It’s a wooden bathhouse from the Meiji period.
    • It was used as inspiration for the movie Spirited Away.
    • This onsen is gender-separated.
  • There is a stone called Tama no ishi at Dogo Onsen which is said to be the footprint of Sukunahikona no Mikoto, a god who was healed by the onsen’s water.
  • As with most onsens in Japan, you can bring your own soap. shampoo, conditioner, and towel or you can rent them.
  • Be sure to stop by the information center to pick of free maps and get some advice for activities.

Map:


We must have passed over thousands of these things to get to Shikoku.

But I have to work on the 7th

Winter is coming. This means that Mark will have about 2 weeks off from work. He wanted to go to Vietnam or Taiwan, but I talked him out of it. There are still many things in Japan we have yet to see. It would be cheaper to stay in Japan than to travel abroad.

So I made all these elaborate winter plans to travel to Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, and some other cities you may have heard of. All this city hopping would end with a day in Matsuyama, soaking in one of Japan’s oldest onsens on the 7th of January. After I showed Mark the schedule, he informed me that he had to work on the 7th. So I had to end the trip without a visit to Matsuyama.

“Are you guys in line?”

I was really sad. This onsen was an easy 3 or 4 hour drive away. There were two 3 day weekends in November. I suggested we went then, but retracted the idea. Holidays mean crowds. “Well,” Mark interjected, “I have to take a day off of work to go to Hiroshima and pick up our new registration cards. Can we do it then?”

We sure could!

Mark knows what time it is.

So we woke up freakishly early on a Tuesday and got to the government building in Hiroshima just as it opened. Mark was 3rd in line and got his and my new registration cards in 20 minutes. This is the least amount of time I have ever spend in a government building while actually getting something done.

I do have other shirts; I swear!

Mark handed my new and old cards. When I looked at the photos on the cards I noticed that in both pictures I wore the same green t-shirt. What a coincidence I thought.

“I don’t even wear that shirt very often.”

“Like today?” Mark asked.

I looked down at my chest. I was wear the green shirt. “Apparently, this is my interact-with-the-Japanese-government shirt.”

We took our new ID cards and headed to Costco for lunch. Then we set off for Shikoku.

Good information can be hard to find in Japan.

If we were rich

If we were rich, we would have taken the car ferry from the Port of Hiroshima to Matsuyama Kanko Port. We would have taken the 11:20 boat and reached Matsuyama at 14:00. We would have taken naps, played cards, and eaten instant noodles all while traveling. The cost for the tickets for 2 passengers, was about twice that for the toll for the many bridges it takes to get to Shikoku from Honshu. But no matter how hard I searched the website, I could not find the fare for bringing our car on the ferry.

I have learned to never do anything in Japan without knowing how much it will cost in advance. Whatever I think it should cost as a reasonable non-millionaire, will be a shamefully low underestimation of what the price will actually be. Sometimes there are deals to be had, but relying on this will leave you poor, frustrated, or stranded when you quickly run out of money.

I know the bridge toll would cost about 4,000 yen each way to get to Shikoku from Hiroshima prefecture, so we budgeted for that. The ferry might have been slightly more expensive, but I could not tell for sure before hand. I prefer not having financial surprises.

Reading the complicated onsen instructions.

This is not my first rodeo

I’ve been to many onsens in Japan before. They are all quite similar and usually go like this.

  1. Put your shoes in a locker or cupboard. If you have to pay for the locker, the money is usually refunded when you leave.
  2. Pay to enter theonsen.
    • This is where you can rent or buy a towel as well as purchasing any soap or shampoo you may need.
    • Some onsens let you use their shampoo and body wash for free.
    • When the soap and shampoo is not free they can be quite overpriced. I always bring my own just in case.
    • You can always bring your own shower supplies and towel.
  3. Go to the locker room for your gender.
  4. Put your stuff in a locker.
    • Keep the key with you for the rest of your stay.
    • You can take the key into the shower area and into the onsen.
  5. Take off all your clothes.
  6. Take a shower.
  7. Get into the onsen.
  8. Make sure your hair is up in a bun or ponytail. Your hair should not be submerged in the onsen water.
  9. If there is a unisex area, put on a swimsuit before you go there.
  10. When you’re done, take another shower. Dry off a little before going back to the locker room. You should not be dripping wet in the locker room.
  11. Get dressed. There is usually a hair dryer you can use. Take your stuff out of the locker.
  12. Give back whatever locker keys you still have.
  13. Put your shoes on by the door.

Laminated instructions

My guess is that this onsen has a lot of non-Japanese visitors who have never been to an onsen before, because there were instructions in English everywhere. I was even handed a little booklet at the information center with step by step instructions.

This onsen was a bit different. There were times when I was a bit confused as to what to do.

Let’s go in!

First we put our shoes in lockers. Then we bought our tickets and headed in. We got the Tama-no-Yu 2F (red) tickets, which was the 1,250 yen. It let us use all the pools and came with a tour of the royal family’s bath.

We followed the red line on the floor to our area. But first I needed to use the bathroom. I went to the first bathroom I found, which was on the first floor. When I came out I was surprised to see an attendant waiting for me. I had used the wrong bathroom. With my ticket I was to use the bathroom on the second floor only.

The 2nd floor lounge

Mark and I were taken to the “Lounging Room” on the second floor. There a lady explain in Japanese what we were to do. At this onsen, we put our stuff in the baskets on the mats and only put our valuables in the locker. This locker does not come with a refund when you give back the key.

There are 3 different robes. Each robe pattern corresponds to the type of ticket the wearer purchased. The cheapest ticket, the Kami-no-Yu 1F comes with no robe. That ticket only gives access to things on the first floor.

My red ticket robe and belt

Next we took our robes and towels and headed to the showers. Mark went his way and I, mine. I was escorted to a locker room and was left to myself. I disrobed and put everything in the locker. I entered the shower and got clean.

There was a small bath in the shower, so I hopped in. Soon I was the only person there. I looked around the one hundred year old onsen and anticipated what amazing onsen I would sit in next. When I got too hot I got out.

I went back to the locker, put the robe on, took my stuff out, and headed to the lounge area. (I read in the booklet that you are allowed to wear your underwear under the robe.) I wanted to look at the booklet again to see where the amazing onsens were.

As I put my stuff down and picked up the booklet, and lady brought me tea. I wasn’t ready for tea yet. I was actually on my way to go to the next onsen. I left the tea to get cold.

I was told to go to the first floor for the next onsen. I went there and put my robe and underwear in the locker. I took another shower and stepped into the pool. It had about 10 people nakedly soaking in its water and 5 more washing at the showers. There were tiled pictures on the wall. When I got too hot I got out, rinsed off, dried, and walked back to the locker room. I put my robe and things back on and went back to the lounge.

I asked about the second onsen. In my mind I had only seen one. The lady told me that the first one was the one in the shower; the tiny one. I had seen all the onsens.

You have no idea what I have just seen!

I went back to sit by my basket and wait for Mark. I drank my cold tea as a group of men entered the lounge. A lady went over to them, like she had come over to Mark and me, and explained to them how this onsen worked.

They stood up and some put on their robes. I expected them to leave, but no. They pulled down their pants and took off their shirts. One man stood there shirtless and in thermal underwear trying to get the attention of an attendant to ask a question. She and Mr. Long-johns talked for a few minutes before he put on his robe and took off his long-johns.

I sipped at my now empty cup of cold tea trying to look like I saw nothing. “Why are grown men undressing in front of me!?”

cookies and tea

Eventually Mark came back. He drank his tea and ate his cookies and told me all about his adventures. He seemed not too impressed with this onsen. I had to admit that I too wished we were back in Beppu. The onsens there were not just cheaper but, way nicer. There were two onsens here, but they were the same temperature.

In Beppu, you get more variety. The onsens come with different water levels and temperature. You have indoor and outdoor onsens. Some even come with a sauna or a mud bath. Can I get some bubbles?

relax as you watch old men undress

The lounge was nice though. I sat next to a flat screen that played mellow music and showed flower petals being scattered. I could not fully relax in the room though. There was too much talking and undressing.

I heard you like kitsch…

Afterwards we walked around the little town. There were many shops selling overpriced non-sense. I thought about my mom. Her birthday is coming up and I need to get her something soon. But, not here…

All Pictures

Posted in Ehime 県, Japan, Matsuyama 市, Shikoku | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Tricked by a Sign

Posted by Heliocentrism on January 9, 2015

Saturday, October 18, 2014

All Pictures

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to askwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Japan’s Pyramid
(日本のピラミッド)
(Nihon no piramiddo)
on Mt. Ashitake
(葦嶽山)
(Ashitakeyama) 

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°50’47.9″N 133°07’40.2″E
  • Park here: 34°50’31.2″N 133°07’15.4″E

Address:

〒727-0623 庄原市 本村町

Phone:

  • 0824-75-0173

Websites:

Cost:

  • free

Hours:

  • always available (But there is no artificial lighting, so bring a flashlight if you plan to be there after sunset.)

Notes:

  • People thought that Mt. Ashitake might been the location for the tomb of the very first Emperor, Jimmu.
  • There is a theory that Mt. Ashitake is a 23,000 year-old pyramid because this 815m-high mountain is in a conical shape and because of the rock formation on the top of the adjacent peak.
  • Kikyuzan (Mount Kikyu) which is next to Mount Ashitake was the palace used for worshipping.
  • Supposedly, there are many of these really old pyramids throughout Japan.
  • This mountain is 815m high, if that means anything to you…

Map:


What!? The first sign never mentioned anything about a hiking course.

Now you tell us!

Now that my foot is getting better and I am able to walk more, I refuse to stay at home on Saturdays with nice weather. This particular Saturday I wanted to check out the cave in Shobara, the next town over. It’s a small town that few tourists visit, so it’s hard to find information about anything there online.

All I had were two coordinate points where the cave might be. But there was no guarantee that there was a cave there or that it was open. But Mark and I set out for Shobara anyway. We would look for this cave, but if we found something else along the way we would see that instead.

We passed through Shobara desperately looking for some attractions. We got to the middle of town and found a sign that said, in English, “Japanese Pyramid”. “Oh let’s go there!” We stopped the car and stared up at the sign.

It was so ambiguous. There was nothing indicating what road to take to get to this pyramid or how far away it was. We got back into the car, disappointed, and headed towards the “cave coordinates”.

This is not a one-way road.

Then we came across a tiny blue sign. It said Japan’s pyramid in Japanese. This sign told us to go up some sketchy little dirt road with death cliffs and really narrow roads. We got all excited and followed the sign. (Later we found out that we could have gone straight and turned later on to avoid the super dangerous road with the death cliffs.)

Eventually we came across the sign in the photo at the top of this post. This sign informed us that there was a hiking course. By then, we had invested too much time and had gotten our hopes up too high to turn back. We were tricked into hiking.

This totally makes sense. No way we’re getting lost!

We parked the car in a spot that is marked with a P on the map above, but it didn’t look like anyone who like safety should park there. I actually put the car behind a sign next to the “parking lot”. That way, if someone were to hit my car, they would have to go through a sign first.

This is going to be amazing, right?

We followed the signs up the mountain hoping that they would take us to the pyramid. We could not read them, but we figured that there could not be so many attractions up a mountain in Shobara that we could follow the wrong ones by accent.

This was not amazing.

We reached a peak and there was nothing there but a big rock. “This can’t be it.”

We were so mad. It was a grueling 30-minute hike with my bad foot, and this was it. We didn’t even have a view of the city.

What is with this city and their ambiguous signs?

We went back to the last sign we saw. We thought we followed the red trail to the pyramid, but obviously we did not. “Maybe the red trail that goes up on the map, is this path here that goes down,” Mark suggested. I had my doubts. I let Mark go down the trail while I waited by the sign and read the book that I brought.

(Yes. That’s how much faith I had in Shobara’s cave entertaining me. I brought a book!)

This is a good sign

A few minutes later I heard Mark yelling for me to join him. “How do you know you’ve found the pyramid, Mark?” “Because the rocks here are bigger.” That seemed logically to me, so I went down the path.

I swear! If I get to the top and all I can see is more steps…

Passed the giant rock were some dodgy steps. Passed them were more, but safer-looking, steps.

This mountain seemed to have a never-ending supply of steps. Every time I thought we were close to the top, bam, more steps. After a while I lost hope that this step-cycle would end. This was when I realized how thankful I was that I never signed up for any hikes up Mt. Fuji this year and how sorry I was that I never signed up for any hikes up Mt. Fuji 10 years ago.

Finally!

Incase you were wondering, the mountain itself is the pyramid… (Lame I know.)

815 meters of steps

All Pictures

Posted in Hiroshima 県, Honshū, Japan, Shōbara 市 | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Sake

Posted by Heliocentrism on January 2, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2014

All Pictures

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask whatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Higashihiroshima
(東広島)
(East Hiroshima)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°25’35.1″N 132°44’35.1″E

Websites:

Cost:

It costs about ¥800 and 1 hour to take the train in from Hiroshima city.

Notes:

  • This city has a long tradition of sake making.

Sake Festival
(酒まつり)
(Sake Matsuri)

How to get there:

Address:

12-3 Saijo-honmachi, Higashihiroshima-shi 739-0011

Phone:

  • +81-(0)82-420-0330

Websites:

Downloads:

Cost:

Hours:

  • The second Saturday & Sunday (2 days) in October every year.

Notes:

  • The festival is near Saijo Station.
  • The festival itself is free, but to enter Sake Square, a special section with samples of sake from all over Japan, it cost 2,100 Yen.
    • You can get a discount if you buy your ticket in advanced.
    • You can buy this ticket at some convenience stores.
  • Kids and other minors are only allowed in Sake Square if they are with their parents.
  • Japan has a ZERO tolerance for drinking and driving. If you have had any alcohol to drink, you are not allowed to drive.

Map:


Walking down Sake street

I’ll drive home

Mark and I tried to organise a group to visit this festival. I don’t like alcohol, so I was not planning on drinking any sake. I would have been the designated driver for the group. But, getting our group together was like herding cats. Rather than spending half the day waiting for this one and that one, we just did a “we’ll meet you there” and didn’t worry too much about the group.

We never did see any of our friends there. They showed up long after we arrived. By then the place was so crowded, we didn’t bother looking for anyone. We had a great time anyway.

The entrance to Sake Square

Mark was thinking about getting a ticket to enter Sake Square. It cost 2,100 yen to enter and once inside all the sake was free. There was sake from all over Japan.

But I would not be allowed to enter unless I too paid 2,100 yen, even if I did not drink anything. Mark would have to go in alone. He peaked inside to see if it was worth it. He could see the vendors and the long lines of people wanting samples. “The lines are too damn long!”

Since there were plenty of other sake samples to be had, Mark chose to stay out of Sake square.

“I’ll avenge you, Josie! Take that snake wine.”

All along the street there were vendor selling food, meats on sticks, and alcohol. Mark made it his mission to buy any sample that was 100 Yen or less. There were also several free samples, but he didn’t seem to like many of those.

And over here is the vat of intoxication…

Many of the free samples came with a short tour of a sake distillery. Everything was in Japanese, but you could pretty much figure out what most things were. But, I don’t really think anyone really cared that much about how the sake was made; they just wanted some free booze.

Hello Kitty Apple on a Stick

I stuck to the non-alcoholic treats. There were plenty of those, but none were free. I tried apple on a stick for the first time. I’d had only heard of the treat from the hand-clap game. The first line of the poem goes, “Apple on a stick, makes me sick.” I wondered if it would in fact make me sick.

Too much sugar, not enough apple!

It kinda did.

He must have had an apple on a stick and is now in a sugar coma…

There were a lot of emergency workers standing by. Every so often you would hear whistling and see a group of EMTs rushing through the crowd with a gurney or a wheelchair to help some poor drunken soul. There were ambulances parked throughout the festival ready to take off for the hospital at a moment’s notice.

Most of the evacuated came from Sake Square. Several people staggered out of there and fell asleep near the exit. But, some had to be taken out with help from medical staff.

Fun for kids too!

I was surprised at how many kids were at the sake festival. But I guess, no one wants to be left at home on any festival day. There were plenty of things for kids to see and do. They, of course, were not allowed to drink any sake.

Lots of meat on giant sticks

The best thing about any Japanese festival, in my opinion, is the meat on the stick. If a festival can be rated on the size and taste of the stick meat, then this was the best festival I’ve ever been to.

Mark waving his deliciousness through the crowd

All Pictures

Posted in Higashihiroshima 市, Hiroshima 県, Honshū, Japan | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Blood Moon

Posted by Heliocentrism on December 26, 2014

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

All Pictures

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask whatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Miyoshi City (Hiroshima Prefecture)
(三次市)
(Miyoshi Shi)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°48’11.2″N 132°51’21.9″E

Address:

2-8-1 Tokaichi-naka
Miyoshi city, Hiroshima prefecture 728-8501

Phone:

  • 0824-62-6111

Websites:

Cost:

  • This town is one of the few towns in Japan that has more than enough free parking everywhere.

Hours:

  • This is a small town. I know it calls itself a city, but it’s not. Nothing opens before 9:00 and everything is closed by 21:00. The exception being convenience stores which are always open.

Notes:

  • There are many Miyoshi cities in Japan. This one is in Hiroshima prefecture.
  • This town is mostly known for its wine (and lack of Starbucks).

Takataniyama
(高谷山)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°47’47.9″N 132°49’23.9″E

Address:

〒728-0025 Awayamachi, Miyoshi-shi, Hiroshima

Phone:

  • 0824-64-0066

Websites:

Cost:

  • Free
  • Free Parking

Map:


The start of the eclipse

The 2nd Eclipse

This is the second lunar eclipse Mark and I have seen in Japan. I just never get tired of seeing lunar eclipses. Maybe it reminds me of the first lunar eclipse I saw when I was a kid.

I was about 6. I got to stay up very late that night. My family sat on our front porch with blankets wrapped around us. We stared up into the sky and my mom told us stories about her childhood. Eventually I fell asleep and was apparently magically transported to my bed because I woke up in my own bed the next day.

Miyoshi at night

I had just started walking again after being bitten by a snake and this was also an excuse to get out of the house without having to do anything too strenuous. You can practically drive up the mountain. There is a short hill to walk up, but it was within my abilities to do so.

I had packed our dinner for that evening along with some tea and a kettle to make more tea if we were cold or thirsty later that evening. We sat in the first floor of the lookout and ate as the moon slowly disappeared. When our meal was done we went upstairs for a better view.

“We’ve been here for hours!”

At the top there were photographers with huge cameras. They were there before we showed up and they looked like they had set up their stuff hours ago. They were hard-core amateur photographers.

We stood next to them to get good shots of the city and of the moon. Our cameras look so puny next to theirs. We took several photos, but we could see from their view screens that our pictures of the moon were crap in comparison to theirs.

My camera’s photo of the moon after google+’s auto enhancement

They had come prepared. They had alternate lenses, tripods, light measurement thingies, and the ability to stand there for hours and not say a single word. Because my photos of the moon weren’t coming out too well, I focus my attention on the photographers. They were about 4 of them to start with. They never spoke to one another and made no noise the whole time.

You guys should be friends.

Then one guy showed up late. We were hours into the eclipse and it would soon be red. He walked in with his flashlight on. He actually ruin a few of my photos when he waved his light around looking for a good spot. Then he had to assemble his complicated camera and mount it on his tripod.

This took him a while to do. I thought that he would end up missing the main attraction. He got everything set up just in time to take some photos of the blood moon.

I walked over to his camera to see the camera’s view of the moon. There was no view screen. I saw the new guy bend over towards his camera and it made a click then a whirl sound. “Is that the sound of film moving around in there!?” He had a film camera! How do you know if your pictures were taken well, when you have a film camera? Crazy!

All Pictures

Posted in Hiroshima 県, Honshū, Japan, Miyoshi 市 | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

 
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