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27 November 2008 @ 11:51 pm
Observation. Of Trains. Lots Of Trains.  
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.
Current Location: 新大阪、大阪府
In the mood: lazylazy
asakiyume: smiling tractorasakiyume on November 28th, 2008 12:52 pm (UTC)
My train-mad, Japan-mad son so wishes he were you right now.

He'd probably concur about northern Japan, as he's especially fond of Hokkaido.

Got your postcard! Yaaaaay!

my icon is not a train. it's as close as I come, though.
asakiyume: smiling tractorasakiyume on November 28th, 2008 12:54 pm (UTC)
(His response, though, when he saw your entry, "Dude, you're taking the local! You can ride the Hikari if you want to go a little faster.")
Douglas Triggs: canada goosedoubt72 on November 28th, 2008 12:55 pm (UTC)
Which, you know, I knew. As per paragraph two.
asakiyume: corvus coroneasakiyume on November 28th, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I told him that--he also just this very minute added that for short hops you can totally sneak on the Nozomi and no one will notice. He and my husband did.

(although how many short hops does the Nozomi make, being an express? ehh, they must have done it some how...)

Edited at 2008-11-28 12:58 pm (UTC)
Douglas Triggs: beardoubt72 on November 28th, 2008 01:03 pm (UTC)
Er, I guess, technically, that's paragraph three now. :)

And Tokyo to Shin-Osaka isn't exactly a short hop -- for short hops, there's no reason to avoid the Kodama. For short hops, sometimes only the Kodama stops there.

Actually, sometimes for short hops, the 特急 will get there first if you have to wait a few minutes for the 新幹線.
asakiyume: mirokuasakiyume on November 28th, 2008 01:14 pm (UTC)
tangential comment on icon
Love your thoughtful-looking bear. The thinker, for sure.
Douglas Triggs: odd goosedoubt72 on November 28th, 2008 01:08 pm (UTC)
Edited reply stuff:

Nozomi always stops at Kyoto and Shinagawa and Shin-Yokohama, Shin-Kobe and the like. It's the middle stuff it usually skips. So from Shin-Osaka to Kyoto, or Tokyo to Shinagawa, it makes sense, maybe.

But those are close enough you can practically get there on even the 快速 in a reasonably short time, much less the 特急, so it barely gets you anything, unless maybe you want to say you rode the Nozomi.
asakiyume: smiling tractorasakiyume on November 28th, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
A major motivating factor in my son's case: back when we lived in Japan (when he was only three and four), we went to Shin Osaka just to see it do a 通過列車
asakiyume: Gaudeteasakiyume on November 28th, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)
I need to send you this song we have, from Japanese TV twelve years ago--more than that--called "Ya-ho Shinkansen" I wonder how I can do it; we only have it on cassette tape...

I know: I'll get my husband to look for it on Niko Niko Dôga. Do you have an account there? You should--it's like Japanese YouTube (I'm probably telling you stuff you know...)
Douglas Triggs: kawase tomokodoubt72 on December 1st, 2008 12:00 am (UTC)
No, actually, I don't, this is the first I've ever heard of it.
asakiyume: Gaudeteasakiyume on December 1st, 2008 12:14 am (UTC)

I still haven't found the song I'm looking for for you, though.
Tully: sunrisetully01 on November 28th, 2008 08:25 pm (UTC)
One of my rules of travel is to always have a few wet-wipes tucked in a baggy in my pocket. Just because.
Douglas Triggs: atomsdoubt72 on December 1st, 2008 12:03 am (UTC)
I don't carry those, but there's usually no reason to buy tissues, there's a whole industry of giving out tissues in advertising packets.

Nonetheless, my supply is running low again.