Things are finally coming together for my travelling in December. Note that I said “coming” not “have come” – there is still a lot to sort out. I have changed my mind since the last post, hence this update, so here is the new schedule:
Saturday 29th November – Leave homestay, drop bags at Aizuya Inn (which I stayed in when I first arrived in Tokyo, and will stay at again before I leave – never thought I’d say this but a bit of familiarity can be nice!). I then need to hot-foot it over to Shinjuku where I am going to drop some stuff with Quraz (don’t bother to click unless you can read Japanese) to store until March. Hopefully this will be with the assistance of Lawrence, who can speak much better Japanese than me! Then we are going to have lunch together before heading over to a dojo in Saitama for training in the evening. The dojo is the one that runs the karate internship I have mentioned previously, and there’re two English people doing it this year so it will be cool to meet them.
Sunday 30th November – I have offered a free English lesson to one of the Shorinji guys in the morning – he lives in Minami Senju, where the Aizuya Inn is. I figured free English and free Shorinji was a good swap! Besides which, he actually seems to want to learn the language, unlike most people I’ve met who view it as a bit of a PITA. If that doesn’t happen I will get an early train to Kanazawa.
Monday 1st December – In Kanazawa for the whole day. Accomodation is booked (yay!) and is here.
Tuesday 2nd December – I am aiming to go to Shirakawa and stay in a tradional pitched-roof house known as a Gassho house for two nights. I left my reservation a bit late and am just waiting to hear back from them WRT whether there is some availability. Fingers crossed! If that doesn’t work out, I will likely go to Takayama instead as I can definitely get a room there.
Wednesday 3rd December – All day in Shirakawa or Takayama.
Thursday 4th December – I am planning (although haven’t yet booked a room here) to return to Tokyo for one night of birthday drinkering. Watch this space…
Friday 5th December – Hmm, what to do? My Kyoto accommodation doesn’t start till the 6th so I have a free day. Maybe I will head down to Hakone for a night, or Miyajima. It depends to some extent on what I do for the days up till the 5th. I have pondered heading over to Nagasaki to visit Dejima, but this might be too much travelling for one day as it’s right at the other end of the country and even with bullet trains will be a very long trip.
Saturday 6th December – 13th – I will be staying in Kyoto for 7 nights – wooo! This will mean exploring Kyoto itself as well as making day trips to Osaka, Nara and Himeji Castle.
Saturday 13th December – I will go to… uhhh… maybe Nagasaki, but again there is the transport issue, so I wonder if I should leave that till March. I think I will probably end up either on Mount Zao or in Nozawa Onsen for some snowboarding action! I was going to buy a board, but the storage unit costs rise considerably if you need one big enough to hold a board, so again that is something that can wait until next year.
Until Friday 19th December – Location unknown!
Friday 19th December – Sunday 21st December – Back at the Aizuya Inn for two nights for last minute shopping and maybe a final visit to the Shorinji dojo on the Friday. Hopefully will also be able to see college friends. This is booked, so don’t worry (mum and dad!) that I will be out on the street somewhere ;)
And that concludes my time in Japan – boo – well, at least till I come back next year – yay!
OK, off to buy a bag now to put storage stuff in, then cooking English food (bleurghh) for the homestay family tonight – cottage pie with veggies I think. And I will buy a bottle of wine – yay! The booze here does give me nasty headaches so some wine will go down very nicely thankyouverymuch.