Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Japan #14 - Yokohama Blues

(At the end of August/beginning of September 2004 I took a pleasure trip to Japan. I meant to have all the blog postings done in the first week, I'm now on track to have it done within 90 days months of the trip.)

The morning on Mount Fuji, we checked out of our hotel rooms and my son and I walked around the lake while my wife went out to find an ATM that would spit out cash for us. Somewhere during the process, I managed to lose my wife. At this point we were also separated from the lone person in our group that could speak Japanese. Sandmich's helpful travel hint: don't get separated from your spouse and your translator at the same time, not a good idea. I eventually met up with the missus and we walked around the lake for a little bit more, grabbed some junk viddles at Lawsons and then met up with the rest of our group for a bus trip down the mountain. Our destination from the Mt. Fuji station was Yokohama. We sat on the bus for some hours and eventually hit the train station and hopped on a train bound for Tokyo proper...on Friday...at night...during rush hour; and talk about a rush.

My tape from my camcorder has me complaining, but I've no idea what about (I guess that's why everyone was ignoring me at this point), However I was eating up the mad rush (Anyway, due to sleep deprivation and generally being an a$$hole, I probably could have been committed at this point).

I may be weird in this aspect, but the rush of the crowds is an example of Japan at it's finest - it combines the sensation of organized chaos with the feeling of belonging to something huge and very much alive. Be it the crowds at the mall or the transit system, there's a certain magic to it, at least for a casual visitor. I'm sure the regular schmos making their 5,000th journey home on a crowded train would be glad to permanently trade the experience for my lonely ten minute commute to work.

Although we started our journey in the early afternoon, we didn't hit our Yokohama hotel room until nine-ish (I want to say). I'm torn at this point between remarking how much of an ass I was at this point or try justifying it. Since my wife recently brought up the fact, in a completely unrelated conversation with my family, that she was ready to kill me and dump me in the ocean at this point, I'm not sure if I'd be able to say anything to sedate my critics. I will note that this was the hotel that demanded a $300 cash payment for the hotel room. (As an informational aside, all the places we stayed at charged rack rates on a per person basis, so if the 'room' was $100 a night, and you had three people, it was $300 a night). Later, after yelling myself course and being the 'ugly American' for an hour, I decided I was going to take a shot at passing out while everyone else went out to scrounge themselves up something to eat. If I have one regret about the whole trip, it was not being able to contain myself and then not going out that night. Below is the only shot I squeezed off in Yokohama, a view from our hotel room in the morning.

(As another aside, I may have mulled sleeping outside were it not for the fact that Japanese homeless had taken up all the good spots!)

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