Japan Trip 2023 – Day Five

May 8th

The day begins to the sound of rain, crows in the distance and the temple bells.

From the ryokan window

Travel day. Always interesting.

Another delightful breakfast.

I have no idea what much of it was, but it was all delicious. The natto sandwiched between thin slices of deep fried tofu and served with a smear of mustard and shoyu, was a highlight. As were the enoki mushrooms in the miso soup.

I ate it all too quickly.

One of the biggest struggles with the trip so far, is slowing down. It was designed so that there would never be any need to rush, but it is a difficult habit to break.

So much rain.

How many umbrellas will we go through today? Hoping the new one I bought yesterday, on returning to Narita, is more sturdy.

Ticket officials helped me purchase a reserve seat from Shinjuku to Matsumoto relatively painlessly. Good first step.

Worked the machine at the other train station to ensure I made it to Nippori.

First cold machine coffee of the trip

Nippori to Shinjuku was Japan train packed and was done without purchasing a ticket somehow.

Sorted that at Shinjuku and then purchased the base fare from Shinjuku to Matsumoto.

Shinjuku is crowded. There was a tightly packed coil of people, perhaps thousands of them, lining up for something mercantile in the middle of the station; never discovered what. Many will have died from old age before they reached the centre.

Currently, comfortably sitting in a very nice train heading towards Kofu and hoping the drinks trolley will come by again soon.

There is a weird thing on some Japanese trains, where, instead of putting a lock and engaged sign on the male toilet door, they have a window so you can see inside, but the space is so small that the occupant’s back fills the window, so you cannot see any genitals, but you know not to enter.

Matsumoto station was a bigger complex than expected.

Google maps did its, by now expected, confused attempt to navigate to the ryokan by foot; so in the end took a taxi.

This was a good idea as the place was a lot further from the centre of town than I had thought.

The room is also a lot smaller than expected and they say they cannot provide breakfast on my final day; no real explanation as to why. Their English is not much better than my Japanese.

View from the room

Tried the bath, was very nice. Not sure about morning misogi, we shall try and see.

Is possible I am currently the only guest.

Website says laundry facilities; I can find none.

Information says beer vending machine; I can find none.

Time to open the kombini sake, I think.

Nice cup, old looking hands

Kai Cho

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