Japan Day 351

Today I woke up very early as my mother’s friend, Junko and Seiji wanted to meet us early to do a tour in Hakone to see Mt Fuji. After getting up early, we got ready and went down to have a very quick breakfast. At the ground floor, we ate as much as we could in 20 minutes, and then went up stairs to grab our stuff before we went down stairs and left the hotel to go to the West Exit of Odakyu Line where Junko-san said she wanted to meet us.

After walking to the train station using the ordinary route, we saw that we were at the South Exit of Odakyu Line. I wasn’t sure how to get to the west exit, so I messaged Junko-san and started walking when I saw a sign that said West side. Since that way was the west side of the train station, I figured that the west exit would be there, and when we nearly reached the exit, Junko and Seji came and met us. After some brief hugs, handshakes and giving of gifts, we hurried to the Odakyu part of the station, where we were given tickets by Junko to get a romance car to Hakone. Boarding which appeared to be a Super Express train, we were taken there in style and comfort. I pretty much took the chance to get some sleep as I was still tired from yesterday.

After we arrived, I woke up and taught Junko and Seiji how to use the key lockers on the station. Using my Suica, I was able to pay for a locker, and identify myself, so that when I wanted to pick up the items again, I could do so. We then left the station and went to the travel group shop, where we were told our bus would come in 20 minutes. I took the chance to walk around and take some pictures. I saw some Neon Genesis Evangelion posters around, but as this was Japan, I didn’t think much of it until I saw a shop which had the flag from NERV. This bugged me, and to be honest the city name had been bugging me for some time as a place I wanted to visit, but I wasn’t sure why. After a little investigation on my phone, I confirmed my suspicions  that Hakone was the former name for Tokyo 3 in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Enjoying that little fact, I cam back to the group as it was time to board the tour bus.

On the bus, we were greeted nicely by a very fast and longer talking Japanese lady. With an ability to outstrip auctioneers, she kept talking quickly and fast the entire time we were on the tour. Explain the sites around us, I was hardly able to understand anything as she spoke so fast my internal translator didn’t pick up most of the things she said except the odd word. Granted with views of mountain side and the lake, I was disappointed to see that the clouds were hiding Mt Fuji again. This reinforced my suspicion that Mt Fuji doesn’t exist, and that people just tell me it exists. After we stopped at the lake side, we were shown around a rebuilt gateway where we were shown what the gates of Edo looked like. Having seen a place like this before, I was a little disappointed as the one at Kiso was nicer, but the view made up for it. The watch tower was interesting, but it took a lot of effort to walk up the long stair case.

After a very short time, we had to go back to the bus, and we rode it to a restaurant area where we could choose a place to eat. After we found a place, we went inside and bought food and ate it together. Eating our fun meal, we then left the restaurant and went to the meeting point where we would ride a rather fast boat across the lake. While the boat was fast, it was designed to look like an old fashion european boat, which just confused me. While it was weird, I enjoyed the ride as the lake was amazing to look at.

Once we go to the other side where there was a dry dock to fix up the old fashion looking ships, we went up a Rope Car, which took us all the way up the mountain. There, we saw hot springs and being sold at stores were black eggs that had been bathed in the hot springs. Legend was that if you ate one, you would live 7 years longer. While Seiji and Junko bought some, we were looking at the Hello Kitty items which looked great. They fashioned the Hello Kitty things to look old fashion like the area, which I thought was really cool. After a much too short visit, we were taken to another cable car that took us over the peak, giving us an amazing view of everything (including Mt Fuji according to the voice over, but that was still hidden. I was starting to think they were digging it in!), before we went down the mountain, went off the Rope Car and took a Cable car down the mountain, where we took our bus to a traveler stop. A genuine place, which served old fashion snacks and drinks, we stayed around a nice heated Kettle and drank Tea, Ame Sake, and ate Mochi. When we were full, we left and took the bus all the way back to our start point, where the guide thanked us for travelling, we thanked her for her amazing guidance, and left the bus.

With a little time to burn, everyone suggested shopping. I wasn’t too excited about the idea, so I listened to music and read posters till everyone was finished shopping and trying the samples. Near the end of our trip, I encountered a rather interesting object which made me buy it. It was Blueberry Cheese Cake flavoured Kit Kat. Having tasted Mango flavour previously, I was curious and after my father agreed, I bought it. We then ran to the train station, grabbed our items from the locker and boarded the train with a minute to spare as it left the station.

On the way back, Seiji and Junko gave us the eggs that gave us a few years on our life, we gave them Kit Kat dessert, and after paying them for a rather amazing trip, we began to talk about things before we arrived in Shinjuku. Once there, Junko took us to the department store to see the Vitamix that my mother wanted to buy. The item was cheaper than in Australia, but wouldn’t accept the Australian voltage, so it was useless. Giving up on that, my mother bought a grater and looked to buy other things, before my dad suggested we should end our trip early otherwise we would just be taking up our friends generosity  After we took them to our hotel and gave them our cookies, they left for the train station and we looked for dinner.

After we went down a path in a hurry to find dinner, we discovered a Thai Restaurant that served Thai food. As I felt it was a little silly to eat Thai food in Thailand  especially as my parents were going back there, I disagreed with my mother about the choice of food and she got cranky. After finding no better place, I gave up and we ate Thai food under her protest. After eating and practicing speech in Thai, we left the restaurant satisfied with the quality of the Thai food, but unhappy by the price. Going back to the hotel, we went up stairs, and took turns having a shower, before we grabbed our old clothes and put them in the washing machine and dryer.

After writing this post, I will pick up the clothes and continue doing homework before reading and then going to bed.

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