After having woken up from my restful sleep, I started preparing myself for the breakfast that was to be downstairs. I took my dirty clothes with me to put in to the coin launderette and headed downstairs.
Having used a coin launderette once before now, I threw in my clothes most courageously, paid the dues and moved on to the buffet in the second floor.
The breakfast was served in a proper hotel area, and the selection was very wide – anything from croissants to fresh fish. I, being my typical self, took a stupidly small portion with a little bit of this and that. I really need to get over this “but what do others think!?” mentality; I paid for the damn thing. Having finished up my insufficient portion, I went back to my room to do a couple of things on the laptop. Soon enough I went to throw my now washed laundry to the dryer.
The half an hour went by fast, but when I came to check on my laundry, I noticed that they were all still damp. The time for checking out and moving on was so close that I just decided to pick them up and move on – I would be annoyed by my decision later on.
Of course the alarm that I put on the previous day didn’t wake me up; I didn’t have my earphones on in the morning – damn hindsight. The clock was around 8:30. I got my stuff and left the hotel to go to see the Morioka Castle ruins (盛岡城), now the Iwate Park (岩手公園).
Hotel Pearl City
The walk there was fairly short with a couple of photo worthy things. The sky was nice and cloudless, but it was nowhere near as warm as it had been a few prefectures back; it was clear that I had gone northwards. Then I reached one of the park entrances.
An entrance to the park
The park entrance was a fairly long ramp to the walls of the then castle. Upon reaching the top, I was met with a wonderful sight of a snow capped mountain in the distance. After taking a couple of shots, I moved on the go around the castle, taking pictures of whatever signs there were to translate at a later date, while looking at the great sights and reading whatever English some of the signs had. After having spent an hour or so at it, I was met by a Japanese lady walking her dogs; she was interested in talking to me.
I woke up on the sofa of the TV room in the morning, my neck stiff as all hell. After stretching for a bit, I started trying to get up. Jess put on some dog videos and things of that nature on the computer; this went on for several hours. After all this, breakfast was had, and Jess took me to the Chogo station (長後駅).
Once at the station, farewells were said and I started going towards Fujisawa (藤沢駅) so that I can get to Tokyo station (東京駅). From there, I will finally take the shinkansen towards Morioka (盛岡市), in Iwate prefecture (岩手県).
The train ride to Fujisawa (藤沢駅) was pleasant enough, but after it had stopped and I got to the transfer gate, I noticed that this had not been a JR train – it was an Odakyu one. I explained the mishap to the ticket officer at the gate, and he kindly pointed me to pay the amount I owed at the closest ticket machine. I paid my dues and got in to my train to Tokyo (東京) in time.
The train rides to Tokyo (東京) were a little bit crowded, so I had to stand. I, of course, started getting sleepy pretty much the second I got in to the train, but unfortunately no sleep could be had. A painful hour of standing in the train later, I got to my final stop to wait for the Tohoku super express train (東北新幹線).
The following morning me and Jess took our stuff, checked out of the hotel and started moving back to the park to get her car back from the parking lot – now that got to become an adventure in itself.
Sights from the hotel
Didn’t notice this last night when we got out of the train
Upon arriving to Shibuya station (渋谷駅), we started wandering towards the park, but ended going the wrong way for ten minutes. We decided to opt for a taxi instead, and eventually got to the place.
Everything was going pretty good until we got the exit out of the NHK parking lot – we noticed that the bill was 12,800 円 or so. Jess could not afford that, and wouldn’t let me give her the money she needed. So we decided to ask the man overseeing the exit. As neither of us could understand or speak Japanese very well, getting to some kind of understanding took over an hour.
I was horrified to notice that the clock was 9:30 already when I woke up; I clearly wouldn’t have the time to take a visit to the castle site if I wanted to reach the Youtube Hanami Party. So I got my stuff, checked out and rushed to the station to get to a shinkansen headed for Tokyo (東京).
Oh yeah, I still couldn’t figure out the toilet.
The train ride lasted for hours. I slept most of the way through, and whenever I was awake, I was looking at the great views and trying to think how I was going to actually get to Yoyogi Park (代々木公園) – the place the party was taking place in. At the end of the ride I had my plan ready and departed for the Yamanote line (山手線).
The train to Shibuya (渋谷) was crowded, but nowhere near as crowded as a lot of people would let you believe. Then again, it wasn’t rush hour when I got there. I eventually reached the station in Shibuya (渋谷) and started walking towards my destination.
I walked in the massive crowds and noticed that the data signal had gotten absolutely dreadful – it kept disconnecting every few seconds after it finally found a signal. After some time of walking, I got to the park entrance, passing the NHK studio park.
Once again I woke up to Freeman’s Mind running on the screen of my laptop. The clock was starting to get closer to 9, so I decided to get dressed and go for some of the “healthy breakfast” that had been advertised in the elevators of the hotel.
I got down to the first floor and picked up some gravy covered meatballs, some salad, pan bread and orange juice. Doesn’t seem particularly healthy, but I digress. After having eaten, I went back to my room to prepare my stuff, do some of the missed daily repetitions in Mnemosyne and watch some videos before leaving.
It wasn’t raining today, so I decided to start going towards the snow capped mountains that I saw the day prior – something that I had completely forgotten to mention in the previous entry. They looked amazing from what little I saw of them in the shinkansen, so I wanted to get a clearer view of them.
I woke up at around 8:30 or so, barely in time to get some breakfast and throw my clothes in to the coin laundry before that. I clothed up and started getting things done.
The coin laundry thing confused me a little bit, never having used anything like or anything, and to top it off, it’s in Japanese. And of course, my Japanese wasn’t quite up to it, so I asked the lady at the desk to oversee my actions – I ended up just throwing my stuff in to the thing and going to eat breakfast.
Because I didn’t want to look like I don’t know what I’m doing – I really should stop to ask someone when I really don’t know something – I just went ahead and took what was plainly out there: some fish, sausage and some pan bread. There was apparently rice and soup, but it was too late to go back (no it wasn’t). I took some water from the desk after it all, and went to check my domain registration.
The domain had been registered proper, and my account was ready… almost – there had been some issues with the registration that the support team would work on. I left it at that and got my laundry to the dryer.
When the drying was done, I checked out of the hotel and had a choice ahead of me: take the train to Nasushiobara (那須塩原) or walk in the rain. I am sure you already know what I chose.
The new day dawned and I woke up at some point, seeing the Freeman’s Mind episode that I attempted to watch before I went to sleep still playing, looping for some reason. I got up and started fiddling with my computer, mainly writing the diary entry for the previous day – alcohol, for some peculiar reason, had stopped me from working on it the night prior.
Brendan was suffering from a hangover, so what would be better than going to the Mt. Tsukuba (筑波山) – special for it’s twin peaks, Nantai (男体山) and Nyotai (女体山) – eh? So we left for the mountain.
Though I was well rested, my shoulders were still aching badly, but I had to keep moving. I gave myself some time to actually wake up, after which I started to plan a little bit.
During all this planning I contacted Brendan, a friend of mine who had come to work in Japan just a week before I came in to the country. We went through the details on his availability and all that good stuff. When finished, I took my stuff and went downstairs to pay for my stay before my departure for Shimotsuma (下妻).
I got downstairs with all of my stuff, exchanging greetings with my lovely innkeeper, and asking how much the whole thing costed. If there is one thing that I can manage in Japanese, it’s asking how much something is. So at least I didn’t screw that up. I paid my dues with a 10000 yen note, and was surprised when the innkeeper came back with green tea, strawberries and the change I was owed. All of it was for me. I like this place.
Before leaving, there was some conversation – or rather, the woman trying to explain things, but me not understanding most of what she said – and then she decided to show me the ocean.