February 11, 2014

Feb 07 to Feb 11, 2014...a bit long...sorry!
Tuesday - Cold but clear

A not great day.  I got up this morning late because I hadn't set any alarms.  F and I hadn't discussed plans for today, so I wasn't aware we had a schedule…we didn't.

He went to see his mum for a while and then came back.  I was hungry, watching Heartland and he started asking me about going out.  I not very politely asked him to be quiet so he stormed off to the bedroom and slept for hours.  

He didn't get up until 7ish.  We went out for dinner to Kintarosushi, then bought a few groceries.  We had a quiet evening in.  F watched some TV, then I did after 11pm. It worked out fairly well, but the middle of the day was a waste.  

So…on with my trip…

I left here on Friday morning.  It had snowed overnight, but was sunny and crisp.  When I got to Tokyo I had lunch at the West Park Cafe in Haneda, then toddled off to the International building to have a look-see.  The bookstore was re-opened, so I got some postcards and a new book.  After exploring all of the airport terminal, I left for Kawasaki.  It was lovely weather outside, and I got there quite easily.

However, finding my hotel wasn't very easy.  I couldn't read the map so I end up walking for miles and miles out of my way.  Sigh. I asked for help, and that was a good thing.  I finally found where I wanted to go…my hotel.  I checked in, went up to my room, dumped my suitcase and then decided to go out.  

I went back to the train station and caught a train to Yokohama.  From there I transferred to a local line and went out to Minatomirai.  I ended up in the Landmark Tower area.  I explored a little, didn't buy that much, but did have a Starbucks tea and then dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.  It was cool because soon after I came to Japan, I went to the Hard Rock Cafe in Yokohama with friends, but they wouldn't go in.  I went to the gift shop and bought my sister a sweatshirt…and vowed I'd be back.  I was!  Yay.

Hard Rock Cafe, Yokohama 

Yokohama.  You can just see the old ship in the harbour. I think it's a museum.
I tried the pulled pork sandwich.  Good, but not what I expected!

I went back to the hotel and watched a little TV after I explored some of the big department store on my way to the hotel.  It was a good night.

I woke up the next morning, Feb 8, to a world of white.  It had snowed over night and it had become quite cold.  I breakfasted at the hotel and left for my meeting a little early.  I caught my trains and arrived in Zushi almost on time.  Some of the trains were running late so I was lucky. At Zushi Station, I got in the line for a taxi.  I was there in the cold and snow for 25 minutes.  I was nearly at the head of the line when I saw some of the other women going to the meeting.  I waved them over, and we shared a cab to the meeting place.

Our meeting was good, but the snow continued falling.  At lunch when I went to the restaurant to pay for the sandwich I had ordered, I was shocked at how much snow had fallen.  After the meeting, we heard from one person that JR had stopped running, and the other train line was still going, but could stop any old time.  My friend that was going to come and stay in my hotel and I decided to skip the dinner and go directly to the station.  One problem, there weren't any taxis.  We had to walk.  So, five of us set off in a blizzard to the station.  We didn't know which way we were going, luckily we asked a young girl who was going in the same direction and she walked with us part of the way.  

Lunchtime in Zushi.  Usually there isn't any snow at all in winter.
(Not my photo, borrowed from a friend with permission.)

It was horrible walking.  The snow was blinding us, and was getting deep.  We were walking for 30 minutes or so I think.  Finally, we found the station and there was a train there.  We found out that we'd have to change trains after 3 stations, but at least we could get out of Zushi!

We warmed up a bit on the train and did change trains at the third station.  We got on another train which was running as a local. It stopped at every stop and far more people got on than got off.  We became human sardines.  I was nearly pushed into some guy's lap..half the time I had to stand with my legs twisted into odd positions.  Horrible, horrible, horrible.  

After Yokohama, things got a little better.  Many people got out there, and I was able to get a seat.  Another stop later, and my friend sat too.  Whew. Finally we made it back to Kawasaki.  Really, we were lucky.  Other members of our group stayed later and couldn't get trains as even our line had stopped running.  All the hotels were booked up too. 

On the way to the hotel.  There was a lot of snow!
(Not my photo, borrowed from a friend with permission.)

We went to our hotel and she checked in. We agreed to meet up a little later and go out for dinner.  We did, we had yakiniku and it was nice.  After that, it was back to the hotel.  We went to our separate rooms for the night.  I watched a little TV, but fell asleep 10 minutes into the show.  I woke up at 2:30 in the morning with the TV and lights still on!

On Sunday, Feb 9th, we breakfasted together and regrouped.  I didn't know if the trains would run up to Tsuruoka or not.  F said he thought they would, but one of my friends was checking the JR website and said that they were running, then they became doubtful and finally were cancelled.  Yikes.  I decided to check and see if I could stay at the hotel another night.  I know the hotel is usually not as busy on Sunday nights.  They said it was fine.  

My friend and I walked over to the JR station and had Krispy Kreme donuts…my first time!  It wasn't bad.  Then we rebooked my train tickets, and did a little shopping.  We had lunch together…her treat, which was sweet of her.  We had planned to get together with my Duos Ladies for a big lunch in Tokyo that day, but none of them were able to travel with the snow either.  The funny thing was that the weather wasn't bad by this time.  It was warm and sunny and the snow was definitely melting.  

All too soon, my friend had to go.  We picked up her suitcase from the hotel and I walked her to the train station.  She made it to the airport, but had a very, very long and crowded wait at Haneda.  Luckily, she had other friends that were also waiting at Haneda for planes, so she wasn't lonely.

I went back to my hotel room and took a nap, then got up and went out to the big train station again.  I had dinner at a family style restaurant then walked around a bit more.  Finally I headed back to my hotel and watched a movie and some TV.

Monday, February 10th, I got up and had breakfast at the hotel.  Then, I checked out.  I took my suitcase and takkyubined it home.  It was a small case, but I really didn't want to bother with it.  I would be meeting friends, walking around and taking trains so I consider it 1250 yen well spent!

I took the train into Tokyo and even changed trains on the fly when it appeared that my hoped for train wasn't running.  I met up with two friends and we had a lovely lunch at a place called Bubbys.  We even had pie for dessert…a not very common thing in Japan.
We walked over to a bookstore, where I bought many, many postcards and a book, then back to the station.  We said goodbye to V who had to leave, but M and I hacked around a bit.  We visited the big Post Office and then had tea and cake in Daimaru on the 13th floor.  Very ritzy.

Part of the ceiling of Tokyo Station's rotunda.

I had to leave then, so M and I hugged and I went through the gates.  I caught my train quite easily and had a good and quiet trip to Niigata. I had a window seat and it was fun to look out the window and see all the snow and buildings.  

At Niigata I changed my train and settled in for a quiet ride.  I did a little crochet on the train, I listened to a podcast and I think I took a little nap.

F picked me up at the station. My train was about 5 minutes late, but nothing major.  We had a quick and simple dinner at Cocos and then came home.  Last night F watched Olympics and that was fine. I did miss my show, but I watched it tonight in the rebroadcast.

And now you are up to date.  I will try and add in some pictures, probably tomorrow, so check back and see if I do.  I hope to use some that a friend took too, so I have to have her permission first.  

It was quite the weekend.  It's one thing to get stuck somewhere in Canada where I can speak the language, but to get stuck somewhere in Japan where I can't….Argh!  Night.


Rosa said...

What an adventure! Snowed in in Tokyo?! Well, at least you had a friend with you--and I would guess there are more English speakers in Tokyo than in the countryside, so you'd probably have been okay in the big city even solo. :)

Helen said...

I know! Apparently they said it was the worst storm for 47 years or something. It wasn't cold, just windy and snowy. I was glad that I was with friends.

I don't know if I would have been okay in Tokyo alone, but I'm glad I didn't have to find out!

Thanks for reading through all of that!