Today was… interesting. So originally the plan had been to leave with Mari from Shin-Osaka and head to Tokyo for the final leg of the trip. This all changed due to a misunderstanding that was had between her and I. It is always a risk when dealing with females in general that you will say something that gets taken the wrong way, and this risk is amplified when dealing with a culture as different as Japan’s. The end result was, I ended up making this trip alone.
Three hours on the Shinkansen for this portion. I don’t know why but, I actually didn’t feel that well while traveling. I have various thoughts on why, but with enough water and food I started to feel better. This was one of those times that McDonald’s was essential. I find that while I do enjoy most Japanese foods, I am hesitant to eat at a Japanese restaurant unless I have someone to help me. In addition, the customs in a restaurant here are very different from America. For example, the waiter and waitresses NEVER come to your table and ask things. Once they seat you and you decide you grab any person walking by and give them your order. For me, its very difficult, cause I am so used to the opposite.
The accommodations for the day before Fuji were at The Prince Sakura Tower Tokyo hotel. The Prince is a very famous high end hotel throughout Japan so, needless to say, I was looking forward to this stay. It did not disappoint. Easily the best hotel of the four I stayed at, it even had a Jacuzzi in the bathroom. Well appointed and nicely located near Shinagawa station.
Once I was settled I began the first phase of preparation for the Fuji climb: gear switch. When I arrived in Tokyo on August 4th, I stayed at the Marriott in Ginza. Due to the size of the my luggage I decided to leave the big bag there when I traveled to Hiroshima. This has proven to be a great move as I really cannot see how I would have survived otherwise. Now, I returned to Ginza to switch out my sightseeing gear for my climbing gear. I love this hotel, they people there are so nice and very accommodating. And, the English is top notch, so if I do have to say something, I don’t need to struggle with Japanese to say it.
After I returned to Shinagawa, I completed my preparation and decided to grab dinner. I decided on Hooters. Let me be clear, I am not a huge fan of Hooters, I don’t care for the whole atmosphere, never really thrilled me that much. However, that is why I wanted to visit it in Japan. You see, my understanding of Japanese culture, and it was confirmed when I read about Hooters opening here, is the girls don’t really like to wear the sort of clothing that Hooters is famous for. I was interested, also, to see how the Japanese culture affected Hooters. Every time I have been to Hooters, I usually get my waitress flirting with me. I am not stupid, I know she is playing for the tip. However, in Japan, you don’t tip, so I was wondering how this would affect the atmosphere.
The answer is, the girls don’t bother you, so it really becomes like every other restaurant. Frankly, the service wasn’t that good here; you can tell they are still working out the kinks a bit.
I can honestly feel myself getting sick of Japan, which is probably a bit of a good thing, means I am less tempted to come back next year. Its an interesting feeling when I ride the train through Tokyo. A part of me wants to stay forever cause its such an experience, but the other part of me cant stand being here. For as common as crowds are in Japan, the Japanese people sure do walk around with their heads down a lot. They don’t seem to even obey the rules that divide the spaces to allow the crowds to use the space more efficiently. I cant tell you how many times they cut each other off, its really amazing. You wont meet nicer people when you start talking to the but, I swear it might be the most anti-social society on the planet, rude at times.
Anyway, I must lie down and rest. Big day tomorrow as we climb Fuji. Days 9 and 10 will be a combined entry Saturday night, hoping for lots of pictures.