Asia | Japan – One Last Day
I rode the train to Shin-Fuji on June 22 thinking It has the word Fuji in it. Ill spend the night here, and get up in the morning and see Fuji on my final day in Japan! Silly tourist. Every train station has a help desk for tourists, but they are not open all night. So I found a map of the city on the wall and found a dot that had the symbol for hotel, along with a lot of kanji, and set off with my bag. I back down to one bag again, and Im very happy about that. I found the hotel, which turned out to be a business hotel, with western style rooms, paid my Yen, and had a home for the evening. My dinner was from a vending machine, but that is not really so strange.
I woke up on my last day in Japan and leapt for the window. I couldnt see Fuji, but I figured my window was facing the wrong way. I packed, and headed back for the train station. Sill no sign of Fuji, but plenty of industrial smokestacks around, along with the early morning clouds that still need to burn off, that it could be hiding behind. I find the info booth, and happily ask her where I need to go to see Fuji. She just laughs at me, and says there will be no Fuji today, just clouds. But cant I go somewhere and get closer to see it? There is one bus, and only one bus, that goes, but it is about an hour and a half one way to go to the viewing platform. On the map there seems to be another bus, and I ask her about this bus. She says it starts July First the beginning of the Fuji Tourist season of July and August. I ask if there are any trains to get closer to Fuji, and she sees my logic I have a pass to go anywhere on a train for free, but not a bus, and I want to see what I can see. So she finds a train map, and Im off.
I proceeded to change trains and ride around for the next three hours, looking for Fuji. Every time I would get a glimpse, and I would think around the next corner the skies will clear and I can get a photo, around the next corner the skies would open and it would be nothing but rain. Ah, I tried. The ever elusive Fuji. By the end of the train ride, I would be staring into the clouds and believe I was seeing the top of Fuji! But, I could have just been having visions in the clouds of what I wanted to see.
Finally, I found myself in Tokyo again. At the main train station, I got to exercise my Japanese again by going to the lost and found area and describing my red akai jacket jaket-to I lost yesterday kino on the shinkansen (whereupon I just pulled the train schedule out of my bag and had the train in question highlighted). He disappeared through a door, and when he reappeared, he had my jacket in his hands. There was paperwork to fill out to reclaim it, but the foreigners seem to get away with just writing out name on a line, and leaving the other lines blank. I guess if a foreigner can describe our stuff, we can just have it back!
One more sushi dinner, than a train to the airport, than two airplanes and eighteen hours later, I am back in Philadelphia. As we were flying south of the Aleutians Islands (the swing of Islands that come off Alaska), I saw an interesting site. We were above the clouds, so I couldnt really see the land. Below the clouds was a red glow. Not on the horizon (which out my window was North), not in the East (which would have been the pilots view), but in the middle of the water. According to the in-flight map, we were not over any appreciable amounts of land. But there, in the middle of the ocean, was the glow of fire. On my flight home, I finally got to see the glow of a volcano. I watched it till it was out of view, than I drifted off to sleep again to dream of earthquakes, typhoons, volcanoes, and my next voyage, wherever that may be.