Note: This entry was written by a very, very tired person and the text content hasn’t really been edited since. Also, it is written a bit differently from the norm.
I 100% expected that this would happen, but I never expected for it to be quite like this.
So, I had always planned to go to the end of the train track in the middle of Chiba (千葉), to Kazusa-Kameyama (上総亀山) – a town in the middle of the mountains without a proper station house and definitely no one speaking English. So I did.
The story starts with me waking up and taking a shower – no issues there. But then I needed to go to the toilet… Kohoku (湖北) had one of those UFO toilets that a lot of Westerners are in awe of. Anyway, I went on an sat upon it, noticing that it was just not made for a man this wide – the control panel was half hidden behind my thigh.
After getting used to it, I tried to showering option – the thing that sprays water on your bum or, well, your front – and I, unsurprisingly, was feeling a little bit uncomfortable with warm water spraying from the toilet bowl on to my bum. Needless to say, I didn’t test the front one (I still have time to do that, though). With my business done, I gathered my stuff and then left the hotel.
I walked around the town, taking a couple of pictures while at it, and eventually found myself at the railway station.
Having gotten to the station just brought a horrifying realization to my mind: How in the hell am I going to get to my destination? I mean, I know that the JR East lines reach to Kazusa-Kameyama (上総亀山), but I just don’t know which ones I have to take. So I started staring in to my phone, trying to Wikipedia the crap out of the towns and lines that connect to each other. I, after some half an hour of investigating, found out which lines I need to use in order to get to Chiba (千葉) the easiest – but how did it REALLY go?
I got to the platform after having shown my Railway Pass to the ticketing official, and I was brought to confusion once again – there were only cars that were green here, wasn’t I disallowed from the said “green cars”? I pondered on, wondering if I should get on, missing a train or two in the process, but I eventually got on one of them.
I was very nervous during the whole thing – “What if someone sees me in a place where I don’t belong!?” I thought to myself. I sat in until we got to Sanuki (佐貫) and abandoned ship – or train, in this case.
I waited on for another train, having looked at all the other trains and having thought to myself “Huh, all of them are green, but so many people go in there. Also, the cars don’t really look luxurious, even if they have heated seats.”, and got in. I had also been looking in to the various types of shifts they took: Local, Rapid and Special Rapid… and when it was too late, I realised that I was in a Special Rapid train – a train that DEFINITELY skips the stop I’m supposed to go to in order to get to Narita (成田), to get to Chiba (千葉). So I succumbed to my fate and let the train take me all the way to Ueno (上野).
Once in Ueno (上野), I immediately started to look for another train that goes back, but I was still a bit confused about the whole green / regular train car thing… until I noticed that there was this fancy green symbol on a green car. Also, a green car has two floors, so it’s kinda difficult to mix the two up – lession learned. I boarded a rapid train towards Abiko (我孫子).
I got off at Abiko (我孫子), and went to the next Narita line (成田線) train.
Everything went smoothly during the train ride… if you consider constantly passing out during the ride, never really understanding where you are, as smooth. I hurriedly left the train when I thought that I might be in the right place – I was, thankfully.
So I was finally in Narita. It had been raining for hours at that point, so I thought to myself “Hmm, I probably should get something to eat… and an umbrella.”. So I went to McDonalds.
The Chicken Teriyaki burger was pretty cool – that, and cheap.
After having fulfilled my obligation to my stomach, I went to the neighbouring Family Mart (FamiMart, as it’s also known as) and bought myself an umbrella – I am very thankful to myself for doing that. Following this, I went back to the station to leave for Chiba.
The train ride was the same to Chiba (千葉) as it was to Narita (成田): a lot of passing out and a hurried exit, barely remembering to get my umbrella. I was desperately trying to find a bathroom that wasn’t one of those squat types, but I could not find any. I moved on to the next platform and left for a town that apparently doesn’t have timetables on JR’s own site, Kisarazu (木更津).
The trip, again, similar to the others with the exception of me being awake properly at the time of arrival.
My train would leave at 18:46, so I had over hour and a half to look around the place. I walked around, took some pictures, and eventually just waited out until the train to my final destination for the day, Kazusa-Kameyama (上総亀山), came by.
The train ride… you get the point. There were only two passengers that came out on the last station: me and some old guy who actually knew what he was doing – I think.
I was desperate to find a place where I could just relieve myself, but, well, the station only seemed to have the regular squat toilets – this time with the toilet paper provided. Yes, that is a thing. I didn’t know what to do, so I just started walking around, trying to find a place to stay at, or at the very least some cover in a place that wasn’t a toilet.
So, imagine me, a guy that is fairly afraid of the dark and easily scared, in a rural Japanese town with NO ONE WALKING AROUND AT 8 PM, in darkness, with lights few and far between from time to time. Yeah, like straight out of a horror flick.
After having walked in the darkness, mostly at random, I found out that I was finding myself towards an onsen hotel and a “pension” – a Western style boarding house – but it was also starting to rain. So I took out my lucky umbrella and moved on.
Eventually I noticed an odd looking building with lights on (this is special since almost none of the houses have lights on). I inspected it, and noticed that it was, in fact, a public outhouse. I went in, but when planning on succumbing to my fate and taking a dump in the squat, I noticed that it was covered in… well… excrement. Ok, so no, then. But wait, there was another toilet there – a handicapped toilet. HALLELUJAH, I found a western-ish toilet! I did my business, was greatly relieved, and then moved on.
I walked on for some fifteen minutes, and finally found myself at the “pension”. They were, however, closed, and the owner told me to check the onsen hotel on the other side of the pond – so I did.
They too had closed their reception at 6 PM, so… where am I now? I’m under the roof in front of the onsen hotel building, outside, sitting on the stone steppes, writing this and recharging my phone. I knew that this would happen. I am surprisingly pleased with my decision.
I wonder how the night will end after I move on to some other place due to my bum hurting and the rain having stopped for now @23:36…
I moved on after a woman (probably the owner / owner’s wife), said something, closed the doors, pulled the shutters, and then, after a while, shut down the lights in the front. Oh, and she came back to knock on the door, (possibly) staring at me, wanting for me to go away – I obliged.
I went around, taking pictures of things, just testing out the manual mode on the camera and getting better at not shaking (staying still). The following though also came to me: “I’m probably the reason why people in are cautious with the gaijin: I’m the weirdo who walks around and takes pictures of the most mundane things… in the middle of the night.”
Oh yeah, I haven’t mentioned it, but there are TONS of frogs out here. It’s actually quite an interesting experience to just walk around with nothing but the wind, the clanging of metal and the frogs to provide me auditory company. And when it comes to the dark, I’ve started to get over it, going bravely where no one with healthy amounts of common sense would go in the middle of the night. But then again, common sense is quite boring when it comes to these things.
So now I’m sitting at the station, planning on waiting till the sunrise and going out to take better pictures.
I chatted with my family, played some games on my laptop, wrote some more of this, walked some more… the night turned to dawn soon enough. As the sunrise was approaching, I was hurrying to an opportune position to take pictures of it, taking pictures of anything that I thought should. Some fairly amazing pictures and details there. From here, it’s time to move on to another day’s story – it’s time to move backwards and southwards as I will leave Kazusa-Kameyama (上総亀山) for a town in southern coast of Chiba.
This is where the second day ends.
Withdrew: 30,000 円
Spent: 1,890 円
Remaining cash: 33,671 円
54 円 got lost at some point, don’t ask me how.
FamiMart umbrella – 1,000 円
McDonalds – 0,590 円
VM cola – 0,300 円 x2