Going to Shiga-Kogen

Trip Start Jan 02, 2013
Trip End Mar 17, 2013

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Flag of Japan  , Nagano,
Tuesday, January 15, 2013

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I checked out of my hotel in Tokyo and went across the street to the Ueno train station to get a train to Nagano. Things went well at first. Most of the snow had been plowed or shoveled.  I found out when the trains were running and bought a ticket.  I went back to the hotel for my bags and found my way to the platform. Then panic. The rubber on a wheel on my wheeled suitcase started to fall apart and jam up the wheel.The same thing happened to the other wheel about 50 yards later. I pulled out the rubber, which was now just jamming the wheels, and tried rolling on just the inner plastic wheels.  Fortunately, that worked better but I have no idea how long it will last. I have a lot of luggage, much more than I can carry. In order to move it I stack the unwheeled luggage onto the single wheeled bag so I can roll all of it. If the wheels fail completely I'll really have a problem.

I caught my train to Nagano. Then I had to find where to catch a bus to my hotel. I had a lot of difficulty finding someone who could point me in the right direction but I eventually found the right bus. I was told I wanted to get off at Hasuike. I hadn't seen that as the address for my hotel but I got off there as instructed. It turns out my hotel was quite close to the bus depot. There was someone at the bus depot whose job seemed to be to help people get to their hotels. She called my hotel and someone soon came to pick me up and take me to the hotel.  The hotel would be walking distance from the bus depot without luggage.  There were no cleared sidewalks and dragging my bags would have been difficult.  I was glad to get a ride.

I had requested a Japanese-style room.  They showed me both a Japanese-style room and a Western-style room.  (The hotel seems to be pretty empty so they had plenty of rooms to show me.)  There wasn't really a place to set up a computer in the Japanese-style room so, in spite of my original request, I went with the Western-style room. 

Buckminster Fuller would approve of the bathroom. He thought that it would be more efficient to build a complete bathroom in a factory and then install it as a unit.  I'm sure he was right but unions objected to the loss of work so his idea didn't go anywhere. Well, it has caught on in Japan.  It looks like my bathroom was installed as two pieces.  One piece is the lower half of the room and has all of the plumbing. The upper half is mostly walls but does have a light and ventilation. I suppose the two-piece approach makes it easier to get the pieces to where they need to be installed. The bathroom is tiny. I can easily reach from one corner to the diagonally opposite corner. The ceiling is about 6'3" above the floor of the tub and, adding a little danger fro tall people, there's a knob on the air vent that sticks down about half an inch.

I've been able to stay on schedule so far in spite of some problems with the weather. I just hope the wheels on my suitcase hold out until I can get them replaced. If they don't I may have to go suitcase shopping.
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