Always interesting(!) when you run into hordes of riot cops in Tokyo on the way to the post office. I wonder what that rally/demonstration-type shindig next to Ueno station was all about?
So, I get a good seat on a short haul on the Yamanote, and I'm tempted to sit there past my station a while. I wonder what that means? I guess it probably means I'm the sort of person who likes to sit on the Yamanote as it goes around for a couple loops. At any rate, I got off at my station, as I'd already done (slept through?) a full continuous loop earlier that day.
Off to Shin-Osaka today. Maybe Kyoto if the weather cooperates, which doesn't seem likely... All weekend. Oh, well, it'll still be there next time, and not that hard to get to.
Clearly, the Kodama shinkansen is the train for you if you like to watch other trains pass you at high speed while you wait at the station. Which, actually, is kind of a cool experience, but especially and moreso if you're standing on the platform. But it gets kind of old after a while -- I lost count of how many trains had passed us by the time we made it as far as Shizuoka. Which, uh, isn't very far, for those of you without maps or a good grasp of Japanese geography.
And with how much they heat the damned things, I was pretty wilted by the time I got here.
But I wasn't really in that much of a hurry, I guess, and decided I'd rather sit on the train for an extra hour than wait half an hour for the Hikari (I guess I'd go the other way in hindsight. Little wonder the train was practically empty the whole way -- I can't remember seeing one of them full, even on the holiday weekend when people were presumably traveling). Weather in Kyoto was supposed to be awful (for the next several days, even -- turned out to be merely mediocre flying through), but more to the point, I'd been up later than I'd expected the night before when my friend called me to go hang out in Shibuya (I'd been planning to go to bed early and get up early enough to catch the first Hikari to Shin-Osaka to drop off my luggage, but hanging out was better. Kyoto will still be there tomorrow -- and on the next trip -- Kyoto tomorrow being the current plan, and meeting someone else on Sunday and going to Kobe, or wherever).
That said... JR West on a rail pass kind of sucks. 4 out of every 5 shinkansen is that damned Nozomi you can't ride, and the experience on the JR East trains is just nicer (no smoking cars to worry about there, just be careful about being on the wrong end of one of those trains that go through meiosis). Also, you always have to buy (or supply) toilet paper for all the toilets. I remember JR East being a bit more generous on that front (but maybe I'm misremembering. It's not like toilet-paper-free toilets are particularly unusual here. Nor free tissues -- although less so if you're doing tourist-y type stuff, more so if you're wandering around busy places in the middle of the city).
It's really solidifying my feeling that I like Japan better as you go north. There's cool stuff down here, too, but... I just like it better up north.