before the city was ready to wake up
(around 6.30), we found ourselves already
on the platform of the Kanazawa
had a long day in front of us, a day to
travel from the Sea of Japan to the
modern bullet train picked us up
punctually as usual, even to the minute.
Our wagon 6 even stopped exactly where it
was supposed to stop (German Rail has got
a lot to learn here!)
of the super high-tech and spaciousness,
working on the train did not come easy.
Batteries of our computer last only about
an hour, but electricity plugs were
nowhere to be found!
is how we come to be acquainted with the
plugs for shavers in these tiny
this issue, we are going to send an e-mail
request for an improvement to
as Japanese are polite people we have
never been asked what we were doing with a
notebook and various cables.
JR Rail Pass helped only half way to
Takasaki station we were to have a 90
minuten ride toward the Japanese Alps, and
this bus is not run by JR.
were sure that the internet access will
not be available in the mountains, so we
used a short pause to upload our reports
from the public phone in the Takasaki
may sound funny, but gray public phones
with ISDN written on their sides brought
us to clap hands and made us happy every
time we saw them at cities we
though such possibilities for a modem
connection can be found very often, we
have not seen anybody - except ourselves -
course we experienced this not only by NOT
seeing it but also by often thrown
questionable looks at us.
successfully uploading our report, we
equipped ourselves with Japanese lunch
boxes (Bento) and got on the bus.
Afterall, we have a long ride ahead of us
and our appetites had to be fed during
the last row of the at least 25 years-old
bus, we had a bit of difficulties catching
our food with the chopsticks..
one of the short stops, the bus driver
talked to us about something. We
assumed he complained about the eating on
board, but it turned out that he just
wanted to let us know that it may be
difficult for us to find a trash bin on
the mountain and therefore to advise where
we can find one before we go up the
we arrived in Haruna. It is a nice,
thinly populated region around a volcanic
the bus stop, we still had some miles to
go by foot to our accomodation. We were
disappointed that it started to rain
strongly as a long hike was planned for
we ended up enjoying only a few miles of
walking until we arrived at our
tonight we chose a new kind of
accomodation. We stayed at a
`Kokuminshukusha`, a state-owned and
operated facility. They are usually
located in the beautiful natures of Japan
and cost much less than private
the beginning, we worried whether Gaijin
(foreigners) were allowed to stayed here
as well. But they welcomed us with
lobby of the hotel was decorated in a
western style, but our room was a Japanese
Tatami room. Today we had
ëonlyí 11 Tatamis.
the heavy rain stopped but the thick cloud
we decided to take a walk around the lake.
Although the scenery was beautiful, we all
had a funny feeling to be walking so close
to a volcanic mountain. The news about the
earthquake around Miyakejima earlier today
also did not help...
were not sure, whether the thick clouds
over the crater of `Haruna-Fuji` were
early sign for an upcoming eruption or
simply low hanging rain clouds.
and breakfast are normally included in
such facilities. So we found
ourselves punktually at 18:00 in our
Yukata (summer kimonos) in the
traditional delicious dishes from the
region filled our table.
crooked photo is not due to the fully
drunken hand, but we just tried to avoid
including other guests in our
some reason we were requested to order the
drinks to the dinner at the time of
check-in already. Does it have to do
with minimizing the inventory space of
their fridge? We did not get to find out
Puzzler` (Are you a Japan
impressions and curiosities as a daily Q
What is the object on the photo
just click on the photo)