Saturday, December 17, 2005

Autumn in Japan Part III

Day 6 - Takayama

After several late nights, my body finally gave way to my fatigue and I was deaf to the ringing of the alarm clock until 45 minutes later.
Late for the first time during my autumn holiday in Japan! So late that I had to run down the streets to catch the subway to transfer to my Bullet train…
Despite, dashing down the streets and beating the working crowd at the busy subway, I still miss my Bullet train to Nagoya.

45minutes more sleep in the morning means lots of running, lots of waiting for the next connecting Shinkansen to Nagoya, more waiting and endearing through a restless ride in a Smoking cabin to Takayama.

As if this wasn’t good enough to punish the “piggy me”, I reached Takayama so late that I had to skip my planned trip to Shirakawago!
Well, I could only fall back on my back-up plan and bought a conbo tickets for the bus and ropeway to the Shinhodaka open-air onsen and take a glance of the Nothern Alps. Thinking that there is some time, I went in search of my lodging for the night – Sousuke.
Along the way, I met a nice Father, who showed me the way to my lodging. He even walked me to the train station where I’m supposed to catch a coach up the mountains. He even offered to introduce his family to me and show me around at night after my dinner! This cheers me up a bit after the bad start.

The coach ride was long but enjoyable. The changing colours of the autumn floras simply takes my breathe away.

When I reached the station, I tried searching for the open-air onsen in vain. Finally found out that it was closed for today when I make enquiries at the information counter. I was rather disappointed and tried asking why but my limited Japanese didn’t allow me to do that. Sigh.
Ropeway Station at Shin-ho-daka

I proceeded up the steep slope to take the ropeway to the Northern Alps. Little did I know that I was catching the last ride up to the 2nd Station. The worse thing is I did not realize that the last connecting ropeway on the 2nd station to the peak of Shinhodaka is leaving shortly after I disembarked from the connecting ropeway! I was slightly surprised at how excited my fellow passengers were after they alighted from the connecting ropeway, they were nearly running towards the next connecting ropeway station. My slow response and longer walk up to the next station caused me to miss my ride!!
A picture taken on my way up to the 2nd Station.

Am I unlucky or what? And I couldn’t understand why it was not stated or announced that the last ride up is going to start. And the staffs at the counters could only say “there is nothing we can do…” in their limited English…
I was so, so, so damn disappointed after coming all the way here and actually miss the chance to take the longest ropeway up to the peak to look at the acclaimed Nothern Alps of Japan! As they were trying helplessly to explain, I could only look down, trying very hard to hide my disappointment. When they finally brought someone over (someone who’s supposedly better with conversing English), I could no longer contain my disappointment any longer, I muttered “sorry” and make my way to the balcony outside.
I stumbled on a wooden bench and sat there, with tears flowing down uncontrollably. The loneliness of traveling that was so easily suppressed in my heart for the past few days suddenly burst out.
“How I miss traveling with my friend in Japan during Spring…!”

After several moments, they guy who knew a little bit more English came out and tried to comfort me. I guess he was lost on what to do with me as he could only say, “No, no..No, no,..come, come, I give you present…No, no, I give you present..”

I tired hard to fight back my tears, as I was so embarrassed showing my tears to strangers. But I just couldn’t stop my tears from flowing.

And the guy went on, “No, no….” and started chatting to me, possibly to divert my attention from my disappointment.

Thinking back, the scene was rather funny. Ha ha…

He brought me down to the little cafe where he’s working and made me a coroquette. He even offered to show me around Takayama after he knocks off. Such a sweet guy… But too bad, I’m meeting the nice father and his family after dinner.

I left shortly as I realized I got to catch the last ride down. When I reach the bus station, there was no one else except for a mother and her daughter. I hope I did not miss the last bus…! I checked the schedule again and was relieved when I realized that the last bus is coming in another 15mins’time. The sky dimmed as I waited. A little scary I thought.

The bus ride back was surprisingly longer than the ride up. I was running late for the dinner that I ordered at the Minshuku that I was staying. And I still got to walked a distance from the bus station where the bus is terminating. I was worried if I could find my way back to Sousuke as I got a little night blindness – not able to recognize the way at night, especially when I’m not so familiar with the place.

Well, my little night blindness problem was solved as the nice bus driver offered to drop me near my night lodging when I asked him how to get there. *Grinz* Saved lots of walking distance. Hee.. I was still complaining about his slow driving at the back of my mind a while ago… *guilty*

After a filling dinner, Junichiro introduce me to his wife, Hiromi, afterwhich, we went to fetch his elder son from his English class. I was made a guest appearance for a short while and got to interact with the cute kids there.

They showed me the beautiful night scenery of Takayama and the famous Samurai Street.

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