Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nozomi back to Tokyo and a Night in a Ryokan

We checked out of our hotel in Osaka and splurged on a cab to the Shin-Osaka, from which the shinkansen leaves. We were hoping to save some money by taking a slower train back to Tokyo, but the choices were to take a slower shinkansen for between $5 and $7 less a ticket or to cut way back to a local train. Even the local train were not much cheaper, until you got down to a route that took over nine hours and required changing trains six times. So, I figured we might as well take the Nozomi again.

Ari insisted on taking the two cheap plastic umbrellas we'd bought, though they didn't fit in the suitcases. He managed to trip two hapless Japanese commuters with them.

Once we arrived in Tokyo we called the ryokan. They told us to take the marounochi subway line to the stop nearest them and call again for directions. We exited through the ticket gates, found the marunouchi line, but couldn't find a ticket machine. Andrea asked a helpful ticket agent, that the ticket machine was on the other side of the ticket gate. How do we get to the ticket machine to buy the tickets? He helpfully let Andrea through as we stood by our 6 large suitcases.

Andrea returned because there was no price posted at the ticket machine for where we wanted to go. The helpful agent told us that it was 160 Yen for the kids (we had recharged our suica cards so didn't need tickets) and let her in again.

She bought the tickets and returned. We tried to go through the gates - they beeped and closed. Turns out we were on the inside of the exit of the Japan Rail Marounuchi line, to get the subway, we'd need different tickets, The helpful agent refunded our 160 Yen and let us out.

We started following the signs toward the subway. The next obstacle was a very long set of stairs. Andrea looked at the stairs. She looked at the suitcases. "No way," she said "I'm not hauling the suitcases down there." I volunteered to take them down one at a time.

"We're taking a cab," Andrea declared. We went to the cab line. The driver looked at our six large suitcases. He looked at his cab, He spoke rapidly in Japanese that I did not understand, but I could tell he was using the negative conjugation of the verbs. After determining that no cabbie was taking us, I hauled the suitcases down the stairs, one at a time.

Ari lost it. He just fell apart. "Joshua always gets his way. I hate the subway. I want to take a cab..."

We found the subway ticket machine, got on the subway and headed for M 011. Once we arrived we called the ryokan, got walking directions, and started on our way. I felt like my arms were going to fall off by the half way point of our 15 minute walk. I would have complained, but Andrea was doing enough for the both of us. Ari hadn't stopped with the constant whine of complaint and was insisting on weaving back and forth across the sidewalk, heedless of who he cut off or the bicycles whizzing past. The walk took forever, the last third of it winding through unmarked residential side streets. We finally got to the ryokan, later than expected, checked in and explored.

Our lodgings were beautiful, the hallway floors were black stone with wooden insets or polished hardwood. Walls were soji screens and carved wood. A central court had an immaculately groomed garden with beautiful trees and a large koi pond. A stone bridge traversed the pond and Ari enjoyed walking back and forth, across the bridge.

The baths were japanese style, showers that you used first and hot tub for afterward. There was a mens', womans', a single stall for those that wanted privacy and family one that locked. There were separate slippers for the hall, the garden, and the toilets. Shoes were left at the entrance.

Andrea was anxious to get to kodomo no shiiro, but we went out to look for lunch first. After lunch Joshua had some residual symptoms from being sick and we decided that we'd go back to our room and take it easy. I took the kids for a Japanese style bath. After a rest, we dined at a Malaysian, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese restaurant. They were tickled that Andrea asked to make sure that the Nasi Goreng was not pork, explained that she did not eat pork. They assumed we were Muslim, like them.

After dinner we returned to our rooms to find the futons made up and the room hot and humid. The air conditioner was flaky. Three separate people tried and failed to fix it. It seemed to work intermittently, but not enough to cool the room. When it cycled on it sounded like a helicopter coming in for a landing. The walls were literally paper thin and we were next to the communal toilet. I slept poorly - seems that beauty, as always, had a price

No comments:

Post a Comment