Trip Start Mar 15, 2004
13Trip End Apr 16, 2005
We are on our last day of the Golden Week vacation. Back to work tomorrow! On Monday and Tuesday Kyle, Chris, Joel, and I went on a little road trip to Takayama. It is sometimes called Little Kyoto because it has a lot of traditional appeal. In my opinion it is far better then Kyoto. I thought I should come to the Manboo to send through some pictures of our little vacation. This is hopefully the last time I will have to visit this establishment (Kyle and I should be all set with Internet at home as of Monday and I can`t wait!). When I got to my booth the man across the way was listening to his porn at full volume. How disgusting is that? I mean, I know I`m in a foreign country and everything, but isn`t it a universal type of politeness thing that one should listen to their porn quietly when in a public place? I went to the front desk to ask for a new location, but ran into a bit of a language barrier
We rented a little Honda at 6am Monday morning, picked up some friends and headed for the Japan Alps. Takayama is about 185 kms away from Nagoya. That seems pretty close, but considering the speed limit on Japanese highways is about 50 kms per hour it took a while to get there. We jumped onto the elevated highway and got caught up in this ridiculous circular loop. THE RING as the loop is called does not serve a function that we can understand. We went around and around and then returned to the regular streets for the rest of our trip. The drive was exceptionally smooth considering the backwards driving they do here (right hand drive, turn signals on the opposite side, and driving on the opposite side). We only drove on the wrong side of the road one time (while trying desperately to locate a bowling alley in Takayama ... more on that later) and ran one red light. Not bad huh? Kyle did an amazing job driving while I slept in the back seat
We spent the first few hours in Takayama touring the Hida Folk Village. At least we think that`s what it`s called. Sometimes they spell it Hida Fork Village, but we didn`t see too many forks around. We were expecting this area to be packed with hordes of tourists, but none seemed to want to show up. We were told to not travel anywhere in Japan during Golden Week. Everyone in Japan has the same week off, so tourist areas are extremely crowded. Perhaps the rainy weather kept people away. Anyways, this village includes several old style Japanese homes. All houses have been preserved so we can understand the way people lived way back when ... when you ask? Your guess is as good as mine. A very long time ago is the best answer I can provide. All the homes were original and very beautiful.
We walked back through town and decided to hop in the car and try to find a skyline road that wraps around the mountains and apparently offers spectacular views (this was the first time our friend Joel had ever been in the mountains, so he was very excited about ..
We ended up in a little hot spring resort town - Hirau Spa. Apparently taking a bath in some local hot spring was part of the plan, but I missed that part. In Japan, people go to bath in hot springs together and naked. Just to clarify, that means public bathing and public nudity. I had packed my bathing suit just in case, but I was banking on the fact that the hot spring thing was not high on our list of sight seeing priorities. My mistake ... it was. My objections fell on deaf ears. We found an area that was still open and asked the ticket person if we were allowed to wear bathing suits. The lady said ok, but apparently there was a communication failure because I was definitely not allowed. We hung out outside of the undressing areas waiting for someone to show up and tell us which was the boys side and which was the girls. Some friendly people from Tokyo came by and the women ushered me into the undressing area. Panick attack! Yikes I have to take off my clothes. I gave it one more try and pointed to my swim suit
We wandered through town a bit. It was similar to what a ski resort is in Canada. Just a quaint little town with people strolling around, everyone on vacation
Being the cheap skates that we are we had agreed to sleep in the car to save some money. We drove up the mountains and found a lovely spot to park for the night. I had just about the worst sleep of my life. Chris in the front seat kept reclining his seat so my legs were trapped under the seat back, and Kyle kept wanting to sleep on me (can`t blame him, his legs are so long!) so I was totally confined. I started to get claustrophobic, then a mosquito flew in and eventually bit me, then I had to go to the washroom, then it started pouring rain. Since we all had our windows open to avoid intense humidity in the car, the rain was pouring in all over me. Joel was in the driver`s seat and the windows were automatic so there was no way for me to put my window up. Oh well. I was able to sleep while Kyle was driving the next day, so I was fine.
The next morning we were up at 5am and headed back into town
Next we went on a temple and shrine tour. We saw a good portion of them and then decided that we were too tired and wet, and that the rest of Takayama could be enjoyed via a driving tour. Kyle had accidentaly left the headlights on in the car, and drained the AA sized battery. Luckily there were about 20 men working the parking lot so they pulled a car up and gave us a boost
After that we headed home.
And that is the end of our trip. I hope this message wasn`t too long or boring. Emjoy the pictures. As I was uploading them I see that there are a lot of pictures that are of similar things. Sorry!
Hope everyone is doing well.