Trains, trains, trains
A trip in a train is far more comfortable than a trip in a plane. Maybe it’s because there’s actually something to see in a train and nothing but clouds to see on a train.
We woke up early from our hostel in Sapporo yesterday, packed up, met Taiki at the train station, and then boarded our first train from Sapporo to Hakodate. Unfortunately, because Taiki doesn’t have a rail pass, he didn’t get to reserve seats in the same train as us. For all three of the trains we took. 😦
The first train took about four hours. Oh my gosh… there’s no better way to travel the country. The country is so beautiful! The first two trains took us near the coast. So, what was amazing was that on one side of the train you could see the ocean, and on the other side of the train you could see beautiful mountains. We’d frequently go through tunnels into mountains, so when we came out of those tunnels it was a real treat to see the landscape. It actually really reminds you just how mountainous most of the Japanese landscape really is. So much of it truly is uninhabitable.
A lady came to sit down next to me. We spoke in Japanese about where we were sitting and if it was okay that she was next to the window. She said my Japanese was very good, but of course I denied it. I know that it’s like some unspoken rule that Japanese people are supposed to tell you your Japanese is good, even when your Japanese isn’t really all that good… but, I’m not gonna lie, it felt good to communicate in Japanese at all.
The second train went from Hakodate to Hachinohe. It was an interesting train ride because this was the one that traveled between the two islands. There was a tunnel that went on for what must have been 30 to 45 minutes as we went under the ocean and then under the rock under the ocean. Funny, even after that long tunnel, when we reached the other side, it was hard to tell if we had really crossed the ocean or not. But eventually, of course, I noticed we were in cities on the next island, and so I knew we had crossed the ocean.
Finally, the third train was… the Shinkansen! I’ll be honest, it was a bit disappointing, if only because we went through so many long tunnels, and so I couldn’t feel the effects of the speed or see the landscape. But when I could see the landscape… wow, awesome. As we progressed south, we saw snow disappear and greenery become more and more prominent.
We arrived after 6 PM in Tokyo station. Real busy, good welcome to the city. It was rush hour, and we got to board another local train, where everyone was more than happy to cram together onto a train with a bunch of strangers.
And finally, after stumbling around for an extended period of time trying to figure out our maps and yelling at each other irritably along the way, we found our hostel. Which is amazing! It’s a traditional ryokan, and our room has tatami mats and futon beds. There’s also a knee-high table with a tea set and a water heater for making tea. There’s also a safe, a minifridge, and a TV. Such a cute place! I could totally live in a place like this, I think.
We went out for ramen this evening, and I helped everyone order their food. No better ramen than restaurant ramen. We had a good meal… and now I owe Jacob some money, because he paid for our meal so that we didn’t have to beak up the check.
I’m excited… we’re in walking distance of Tokyo Dome City which means… THE THUNDER DOLPHIN! A roller coaster that goes through a building AND the middle of a Ferris wheel! We may ride that today, I’m not sure. But in a few hours, we’re gonna go down to Tokyo Big Site… well… I don’t think I wanna say why just yet. This is the big stuff I didn’t want to reveal. Of course, you’re more than welcome to search what’s happening at Tokyo Big Site this weekend. 😉
Okay, battery is dying, and I have stuff to do. Will write more soon! 😀