So, random train riding today. Started off by getting on the wrong train, hopped back on another going back, then got on the right one again (not a big deal, I wasn't actually in a hurry to get anywhere). Rode up to Tokyo (Akihabara), where I switched trains to the Tsukuba Express (again!), took it out to Moriya, where I switched trains again, and finally arrived in Shimotsuma.
Of course, I missed the first train to Shimotsuma (trains on that line going that far only leave every 45 minutes or so -- it was leaving right when I got there, but I wanted to verify that it was the right one on the schedule board), but I suppose that if you're going to Shimotsuma, you probably aren't in a hurry to begin with.
I'm not really all that impressed with the inaka-ness of Shimotsuma. Sure, it's not Tokyo, but it's a heck of a lot more crowded than Oga. It has a McDonalds! With a drive-through! (I had to take a picture of that.) Heck, it even has an automatic ticket machine in the station, and two platforms (plus a bypass track)! Not that I'd want to live there or anything. Anyway, took a few pictures, but never did find the Jusco (I suspect it doesn't actually have one, but again, it's not that small of a place -- I might have just missed it). I'll have to watch 下妻物語 again, and see if I recognize any of it.
Talked to a nice old man who lived there on the way out. He was quite obviously surprised to see a tourist out there, figuring that I must teach English or something nearby. His English was actually pretty good, although he obviously didn't understand everything I said. Some of the older folks here are the nicest people, I think -- and clearly less intimidated by my overwhelming gaijin-ness, which is nice.
Anyway, I listened to two Tommy songs waiting in the station on the way back (if you know the movie, you know which ones!) as was only right and proper.
Anyway, wandered back to Yokohama after. The weather was rainy again, alas (although it did briefly flirt with sunny on the way out to Moriya -- but clearly the futsu trains -- unlike the shinkansen -- aren't fast enough to outrun the clouds), and I suspect more of the same tomorrow. Nevertheless, I plan to go to the beach. Unless it's spectacularly (and surprisingly) nice, in which case I may go to Hakone instead.
[see photos on flickr]