Archive for February, 2011

Japan 02 2011 pt3

Back to reality..

I did see some old school Datsun action on the highway ride to the airport and I finally got my hands on a VIP mag.

Trip complete.

New pics 79+

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Japan 02 2011 pt2

I wandered around Yokosuka aimlessly for a couple hours yesterday (photos 55 to 79 on previous link) and found a pretty sweet little skatepark.

Yokosuka Skatepark View 1

Yokosuka Skatepark View 2

Also,  Here are some pics from Sasebo last year:

And from Yoko and Tokyo Fall of ’09:

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Japan 02 2011 pt1

Last week I flew solo from Cali to Japan. This is the fourth time over here and third time in the Tokyo/Yokosuka area.

The way my work does drastic time zone changes is it gives you a day off after you travel to and from. I decided to take advantage of this and go on a little adventure.. I found the largest Ski resort within a reasonable distance from Tokyo and booked a room in the Roppongi part of Tokyo to stay on the way back.
I originally flew into Narita/Tokyo and then took a bus about 2 hours south to Yokosuka, where I’ll be working. So, that’s where I started.
Monday morning (+14 hours from EST) I left for Kagura to go snowboarding..
Small road block.. Hit up an ATM, didn’t work. lol. With only 13000 Yen ($160) this was going to be a problem. I called up the bank and they were closed. I realized I can take out cash from my work CC but I never set up a pin. I called them up via skype and couldn’t work the automated pin reset because the number tones stop working after the call connects. Googled that, got it to work, got a pin, and left again. That card didn’t work.. Now I was thinking it may be an issue with Japanese ATMs, I tried one on base and I was good to go.
I hop on the JR Sobu line up to Tokyo and then the Bullet train up to Yuzawa. There are a few ways to get there and different fares for different cars or reserved seats. One thing I learned last year is that if you have the word written down in English handy, it goes much futher than trying to pronounce/butcher the word. If I didn’t have this I would have probably been screwed. Getting to Tokyo is easy, taking a Shinkasen (bullet) train past there is a new one for me. Figuring out where to go in Tokyo Station is pretty simple. Figuring out which Shinkasen is a little weird since it can branch off.. but deduction helps.
After an hour and a half up to Tokyo and an hour and a half on the bullet train I arrived at Echigo Yuzawa Station in the Chuetsu Region of the A map! … and almost none of it is in English. I couldn’t figure out where I was, how far up, etc. I didn’t even know the name of the ropeway I came up at this point.. A little more homework would have helped.
Slowly but surely I got my bearings, going on different lifts, etc. I swear I had to be on this one closed car lift for at least 20 mins.

20 min long lift ride up Kagura

This place was freaking huge. I probably only hit up a third of the trails and I was spent. Only having snowboarded in the Poconos before I was pretty overwhelmed.
When I got back to the rental place I asked about the bus and they were able to understand and point me in the right direction. Interesting thing about the buses is.. You get on without paying and you have to look up at the front to see your fare. The stops are numbered but written in Japanese and you pay when you leave. Luckily, there was a European couple (first non Japanese people I saw at the resort) who got on at the same time so I was able to figure out my fare buy following them.
After the bullet train back to Tokyo, I wandered around for a bit and try to figure out my way to the Roppongi on foot. I banked on using the vague memory I had of a map of Tokyo and the small street maps they have at every few corners. I didn’t have much luck with that so I just took a taxi.
The hotel room was about the same size as the one I have in Yokosuka but a bit newer/nicer.
I wandered around Roppongi for a bit to get my bearings then hung out in the room for a little while to waste time. Things don’t really start getting interesting till later there. I went back out to do a bit more wandering around and get some food. The hustlers where in full effect. There were groups of African dudes trying to get me to go to Brazilian/Russian strip shows on almost every corner of Gaien Higashi street. I’ve done enough homework to know that a lot of those girls probably aren’t of age or here legally. And a lot of those places were on the upper levels of these buildings. From what I’ve read, it gets shadier as you go up.
Try as I might, I can’t really get my party on by myself. I wandered around for a bit, got some I don’t know what food, a couple drinks and headed up to bed. I used up about all of the ambition I had for 1 day and just had to call it quits. It’s probably better off, especially since I was by myself with no one really knowing where I am.
The next morning I hit up the free breakfast and I decided to try and find my way back to the JR Sobu Yokosuka line on foot. I figured this way I can do some random sightseeing. I saw a bus stop for Shinbashi Station. That particular station is a couple stops away from Tokyo Station toward Yokosuka.. I’ve ended up here a couple times after wandering through the Ginza. With no map or GPS I followed the bus stops and then street signs and wound up right where I wanted. It was sweet to end up in a familiar place.

After walk from Roppongi

Then back to Yokosuka I went..

Here are the pictures I took so far:
I’ll probably be adding more but mainly of Yokosuka since it’s time to work.

Hope you guys enjoy.

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