Takayama to Kanazawa...
We were sad to leave Tanabe Ryokan, having had such a wonderful and emotional time there.
It's nice to break a stereotype. Mrs Tanabe was a stranger to us yet she was not cold, unwelcoming, distant nor nervous. She was fabulous. If you're ever in Takayama, dear reader, go and stay with her. Tell her I sent you.
We were on our way by 08:30, but missed our trip to Don's.
It turned out to be a nightmare of a journey. The line to Toyama had been swept away in a landslide so part of our journey was by train, part by bus.
First the train. An hour. Then the bus. Another hour.
The bus dropped us off at Inotani station. I don't know if Inotani was a town or village as there really wasn't much there beside the station itself, which was terribly soviet in style and something of an oddity for Japan, it was scruffy. I popped across the road to a wee shop to buy some lunch, for, indeed, it was lunch time. All I could lay my hands on were some dry crackers. They weren't very nice. Most of them stayed in my bag and not in my tummy.
To see the shop from where I bought the crackers and three other photographs of the sation (amongst others), please click here, dear reader.
The train that picked us up was more a single-car high speed tram than a train and looked like it was built in the 1920s. By the time we reached Toyama, an hour later, it was utterly full. We then had to rush to get the Kanazawa train. Yet another hour, during which we were finding it difficult to stay awake.
If the land was safe and the track reinstated where we took the bus, our journey would have taken about two hours. Instead, it took well over four.
I wanted to snarl and spit.
We easily made it to the ANA hotel as it was adjacent to the railway station. We eventually found attention at the desk after glaring at some Germans and Poles who dared to try to sneak in front of us. Room 1616. Almost top floor. Fabulous view. In the wrong direction. Still, it was nice to see the train station and perhaps, later on, the lights of the city.
Our room was nice, but just a standard room as you'd expect in any Western four star hotel. However, what you'd not get in any other Western hotel outside Japan is a fabulous musical, bum-washing toilet! Wish a warm seat! I could sit there for hours. It was a magical experience. How I dream, how I wish to have such a fabulous bog in my own home!
After sorting out a few odds and sods and not wanting to waste valuable time, we headed off into town without unpacking. It was very hot and humid - no thanks to the typhoon now punishing Kyushu.
After visiting a Samurai warrior's home and being amazed at the size of the Koi, we headed off for something to eat. Eventually, we found an Okonomiyaki place. It was fabulous. Fast food, Japanese style, I should suppose. Not fancy, not posh, just a standard Japanese eating venue. They took pity on we foreigners and did the cooking for us. Often, we found the Japanese believe gaijin have no concept of life, culture or cuisine in Japan at all and are sometime incredulous at our decision to even be there. I find this odd, but, perhaps, looking closer at their economic model, they aren't too reliant on tourism. Some Japanese people have almost fallen over on seeing us use chop sticks. Some gasp when hearing we know what a haiku is. I digress... We got a wee bit tipsy on the sake. It was quite delicious, making the bus journey back to the hotel enjoyable. I can't see how we'd have enjoyed it in a sober state; cramped and hot as we were.
On alighting the bus at the train station and realising we'd not had any form of dessert, we headed off into the shopping centre (which seemed to be open 24/7) in search of something sweet. We didn't have to look too long. I got a selection box of wee puds. Ian took a slice of cake. Off we went, back to the hotel with our goodies. I devoured them, one after another, while watching BBC World. After the last mouthful, I really thought my belly was about to explode.
Even in darkness, it remained very warm indeed. I can't believe we each packed two jumpers. I really don't know how we'd have slept without air conditioning. Not very green, are we?
Although the veiw from our hotel room wasn't much to speak of during daylight hours, it was quite beautiful at night. I adore the lights of a city, especially when I'm indoors or in a car looking out. I feel incredibly safe. Not that I ever felt otherwise during our entire trip.
Click here, here and here to see the night time photographs, dear reader. They're not very good though, it must be said.