I woke up to the door slamming at like 4:30/5am – cursed Swang and googled some train times, then I fell back to sleep.
I woke a few hours later and walked to a small station, which took me to the larger one. It turns out the route I wanted to take would leave me sprinting to catch another bullet train at the transfer station, so the man kindly put me on a much later but better choice of train. I began the conversation in Japanese telling him where I wanted to go, and he carried that on all the way so I mustered my best ‘mhmm’s and ‘so desu’s until he gave me the ticket and receipt and I went over it out of his sight. I’d understood most of it, however it seems I would be getting on the non-reserved section of the first train, and decided to wait there early.
But I still had an hour to kill, so I bought some food and chocolate and ambled around the station, trying to find a CD sale Swang had told me of. Unfortunately that didn’t open until 10, which was when my train left – so I sat and pondered for a while, then went back up to wait for my train.
Once it arrived at Kyoto I had a bit of trouble orienting myself what with all of the exit signs pointing different ways – but eventually I found the department store I had visited earlier in my journey. On the way I dropped my big bag into a locker which cost a whopping 700 yen (like ten bucks!) but it was worth it, because as I traversed the floors ticking off things I had meant to buy throughout the journey (and many that I didn’t), my current pick got heavier and heavier. I spent so much at one shop, that they gave me two free badges. Score!
I nerded out big time and bought a bunch of comics, I got pens, notepads and other stationary, some more gifty things, chocolate and a CD. In fact I had so much I needed to purchase another backpack – my original smaller pack straps onto the front of my big pack, so together they can be my checked luggage, and the new pack I bought can be my carry-on. Yes, I formulated this plan early on in case I went crazy buying things (which I kinda did). But it felt a little odd standing in an almost all pink shops among various schoolgirls to buy a small black backpack.
Anywho from there I got to my large pack and reshuffled, strapped the small one to the big one, and felt like a massive douchey tourist wearing the huge pack on my back AND another pack on my front. Who does that? (I’m taking a stab at Swang, here, as he also did this).
One the pack sitch was sorted I hobbled to the JR ticket line and asked for a ticket to Tokyo – there was one leaving in a couple of minutes from the platform above, and, in a feat that would have left pro athletes and military veterans with their jaws on the floor, I ran through the station, to the stairs and up, where the train was just arriving. I even let a little old lady go in front of me because I’m just that kind of guy (also I couldn’t breathe properly).
Once I sat down on the train and acknowledged the pain in my feet, the ticket checker came by and saw me opening the free badges I got.
“Manga!” he says. “You like?”
“Yes, of course!” I tried to mimic his enthusiasm.
“Me too!” he stamps my ticket with glee, and leaves.
I know of at least two cool people on the train that afternoon.
The train left shortly before 3 and arrived at about 20 to 6 (I say about to make this more friendly for the New Zealand readers, who deal in ‘roughly’s and ‘about’s when it comes to public transport, but what I mean is at 5:39 the train was pulling into the station, and it clicked over to 5:40 as the doors opened and people began to exit).
On the train I thought I may as well stay at K’s house again because it’s easy, I’ve done it all before, and it’s relatively close to the airport so it won’t take long to get there (and it’s also close to a shopping district should I want to risk a morning shop). So I did the usual chat with the man on the phone (listening to all the rules, reconfirming details two to three times, and watching the time slowly rise (and in turn, the amount he call would cost me as I’m currently on roaming)).
A guy in the same row on the opposite side was reading s magazine, and it seemed that one of the pages wasn’t cut properly or something and he sliced it down the side, much like an envelope. By the state of the woman on the pages that followed, I decided the pages were probably like that for a reason. ON THE TRAIN?!
The train also passed by Fuji. It’s more impressive up close!
Back at Tokyo station I wasn’t functioning very well and I took the train the wrong way, but at the next station I went back, and took the right train to get straight to the station outside the hostel. After a brief period of collapsing on my bed, I went out to get some grub.
I ceremoniously ate at the restaurant Swang and I had eaten breakfast at the second and third mornings we were here to kind of close the loop on the trip. I even ordered the same food I had for my first breakfast here! It was 690 yen which is farking cheap.
I then walked by the shops we had passed and perused a small second hand bookstore – popped in the front of the 7-Eleven to buy a chocolate ice cream sandwich, and out the back entrance a few meters away from the hostel.