Wednesday, February 11, 2009


As I posted earlier, I'm moving soon. That means currently a lot of my spare time is filled with packing and cleaning, and soon my spare time will be filled with unpacking. Because of that, be patient with me. I have a lot to say as always, I'm just too busy to say it.

If you have time, check out my documentary film making site here. It's school related, so it takes precedence over this.

Thanks for reading and thanks for being patient. I'll try to get something fun up soon.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The first day of my train trip in pictues (Mitaka to Osaka)

I wanted to show some more pictures of my trip.  This was the longest single day of train riding in my life, and you know what, I wasn't bored at all.  I had an amazing time, and would do it again if I got the chance.

I wrote a bit of a narrative with pictures here, so I won't tell the story again but I thought I'd show some pictures.

For starters, here's Mitaka.
That's the intersection I see daily with the train station in the background.  This was when I stepped away from the familiar into the unknown.

These pictures are between Shinagawa and Numazu
And here's my first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean on this trip.
 And there's the tip of Mt. Fuji on the right:
Here's a bit more from the front of the train:
Here's some more ocean.  You can see I'm not the only one taking pictures.
Here is lovely Numazu. 
Numazu was a pretty sleepy town, I guess.  I was only there for a little while to get a break from riding a train and to see my traveling companion's friend who gave us some delicious hand made pastries.
The bird poop covered stone dog seemed a bit odd.  If it was clean, was it supposed to be a bench? 

Next to that was a fountain proclaming that Numazu apparently had Japan's best water.
I can't tell you if that's true, because as my travel partner pointed out, it isn't working right now. 
Next to that fountain was a statue of naked people.  Japan has plenty of nude statues, I've noticed.
And next to that was a giant old train wheel and front.
It clearly came from an old steam train (more on that later).  I guess it's an homage to the trains that helped build Japan to the industrial giant it is today.
And here's the shiny new Numazu staion. 
Back on the rails for a bit:

And then we stopped at Shimizu.

 As I said before, Shimizu is the home of Chibi Maruko Chan in the comics and TV show.  It's also supposed to be famous for it's tea, which was quite delightful.

 We had a while to kill until the next train, so we got some tea and the lovely lady at the tea shop told us that there was a Chibi Maruko Chan museum and shop near by but we had to take a bus, which didn't come for a while, so we just walked around while we were waiting.  I didn't take a picture but there was a NOVA with a 'now hiring' sign.  For those who don't know, NOVA was the most popular English school in Japan and they went bankrupt last year.  Now another company bought them and opened a few schools and is running them under the old name, but they're kind of rare.  It's sort of like seeing a Sinclair station or Bob's Big Boy in America.
Also, NOVA was known for hiring any native English speaker that had a pulse, and while some good people got NOVA jobs, many people who shouldn't have ended up working for them too.
Enough about NOVA.  How about some coffee? 
While wandering, I noticed an outdoor rock climbing wall on the other side of the tracks.  It looked pretty fun.

We rode a fairly old and ghetto bus to this shopping center that had the Chibi Maruk Chan "museum".   It was the first, and I think last bus of the whole trip (minus the return ride, of course).

The 'museum' was just a place inside a shopping center.  There was a room you could pay to go in, but I couldn't imagine what could be inside to make it worth my money to see, so we didn't go in.  The shopping center and surrounding harbor was lovely, though.

My only regret is that I didn't eat any sushi.  Apparently, sushi in this town was incredible.  I just wasn't hungry.
Anyways, it was time to get back on a train. 
I have no idea what this was, but it looked lovely.  Maybe a test driving track?

Around sunset, we met these two people who were traveling from Tokyo to Osaka.  They were also using local trains only because it was cheaper, and as one of them said "It's slower, so more relaxing."  I agreed.  Fast is efficient, but sometimes it's good to take the long way.


Here's a picture from Ogaki station.
This town looked a lot like Tachikawa, Omiya, Machida, or many of the other towns that lie just outside Tokyo.  It was kind of a bit run down and odd, I felt.
 I liked the USA spaceship though.
I also thought it was funny that in Tokyo, there's a chain of department stores called "Marui" (written 0101), but out here there was a department store called "Maruei"

 My opinion drastically changed after dinner.  We were told that this town was famous for inari-zushi (rice in a sweet fried tofu pouch) so found this tiny shop.  Apparently we were told bad information, but we got inari-zushi anyways and it was the best I've ever had.  The shop had an old woman and an old man (husband and wife?) that I'm pretty sure live upstairs.  The woman was quite funny and enjoyable and the man hardly ever spoke and just made sushi.  They were incredibly friendly and it was one of the best sushi experiences of my life, and only for 700 yen! (less than $8)  I couldn't believe it! I was worried we were going to have to spend a lot of money, but it was SO cheap, and WONDERFUL!  If I ended up in that neighborhood, I'd LOVE to go back.
After dinner it was too dark to take any good pictures, but I noticed I had this picture that I didn't put up.  This was after leaving Ogaki

And after a LONG day of travel, I MADE IT!!!  OSAKA!!!

Osaka was a site for sore eyes and I was happy to be there.  I ate some okonomyaki from a street vendor coupled with a cheap beer.  The okonomyaki was the best my traveling partner ever had (and my second best).

But, there's just something about Osaka.  It's a really special place.
And more on that next time.