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SOLO JAPAN II 14.-28.3.2004.
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conclusion of my trip | photo gallery II
Tuesday, 23th of March 2004
Osaka -> Nagasaki

Day Ten:
Going to Nagasaki

Towards a warmer location

I decided not to even take a look at the shared bathroom of the hotel, packed my stuff and left the place. I can't complain about the price and it was an interesting experience, but I guess I have set myself some sort of minimum standards after all.

Not wasting more time in Osaka, I headed straight for Shin-Osaka station via the loop line to Osaka station and from there to Shin-Osaka, where the shinkansen trains stop.

At the station I reserved seats all the way to Nagasaki. It would first be a three hour ride from Shin-Osaka to Hakata (actually the city where it stops is Fukuoka, but the station name is different), then an additional two hours to Nagasaki by normal express train.

Nothing happened between Shin-Osaka and Hakata, other than traveling a moment inside a tunnel between the islands of Kyushu and Honshu. At Hakata I bought some sandwiches and hopped on board the train for Nagasaki, which looked more like a NASA space shuttle than a train.

This train ride offered a slightly more tropical scenery to watch which made the two hours go past quicker before finally arriving at Nagasaki station.

Sudden change of plans

At the small station I examined the local train network and to my shock the hotel I was supposed to stay at was 45 minutes away from Nagasaki station! There was no way I was going to waste even more time sitting in trains than I had already today, so I made a visit to the tourist information center and asked if they could find any alternative for me.

The staff offered me a "good ryokan" that cost about 4000 yen per night, which sounded promising, although it did feel like buying a pig in a poke. They called the ryokan and said that they will pick me up from the station. Wow, now that is nice!

The car described came a moment later. The driver, who is part of the staff, spoke some English with me while driving me to the ryokan. Once we made it there he insisted he should be carrying my backpack as we walked up a narrow stair leading to the the ryokan.

Ryokan Nishikiso

There I was greeted by the owner of the ryokan, a really nice old lady who spoke English too. I agreed to take a room with a private bathroom for two nights, totaling 9000 yen plus tax. She said that this night would be quiet, but the following one there are a lot of people expected because of upcoming school vacations.

I was then shown my room which had by far the best price/size ratio I've ever had. The room was big enough to have six guests, but I had it all for myself. What a stroke of luck to find myself here! Ryokans rule!

Going to an internet cafe

I quickly took a much needed shower and left the ryokan in order to find an internet cafe. The guy who drove me to the ryokan drew me a map where the closest one is.

It turned out not to be a casual internet cafe, but more like a club for heavy internet users. After paying a temporary user fee for one hour (800 yen!), I entered a big, dimly lit hall that had probably over a hundred small numbered booths.

Inside the booth there was a computer with the expected internet connection as well as a phone to call the staff for ordering something to eat or drink. Judging from the advertisements it was also possible to play online games over the internet or LAN.

I didn't stay there longer than just canceling the reservation to the other hotel via mytrip.net and checking my e-mail. I dug out the map of Nagasaki I picked up from the tourist center earlier and began wandering around the streets.

Two things I noticed quickly about this city was the high amount of cats in the streets and hawks in the sky. I don't know is this characteristic to all cities in Kyushu, but it certainly wasn't something that was typical in the other cities I've visited in Japan. Generally the city had a more relaxed tone than the previous cities I've visited during this trip, but that might be largely because of the warmer weather.

Asking directions

At one point of the evening I wasn't quite sure where I was and decided to ask an old lady selling flowers where I exactly was in the tourist map.

Bad idea. She clearly felt like she was suddenly under some kind of pressure to give me answers and looked troubled at the map while talking a lot in Japanese (which I couldn't naturally understand). She didn't know where I was (actually, I was off the tourist map!), but instead of just admitting she can't help, she didn't quit and kept wondering how to help me, which was really nice of her, but on the other hand I didn't intend to trouble her that much.

To make the situation even more bizarre, she stopped an even older woman and asked where we were, but the granny seemed to just complain that her eyes are too weak to read any map. So now I had two old women trying to figure out where I was and myself wondering how to get out of this mess without embarrassing anyone.

Visiting a police box

The deadlock finally opened when the lady seemed to find a solution and guided me to a nearby police box. This way she could leave me with the police, solving the problem while not losing her face.

Except for one problem: there was no one there. She couldn't believe her bad luck, but once a younger woman came to help, the old woman walked away from the scene talking and smiling, clearly feeling bad about herself for failing to help.

I have to partly blame myself for the whole scenario, because it's highly unlikely old Japanese people understand English at all and since I couldn't understand Japanese myself, trying to understand each other was pretty much next to impossible.

Anyway, the younger woman was able to read the map much better and soon I was en route back to the ryokan, wondering will the old woman get any sleep this night. The sun had set by now.

Back at the ryokan

On my way back to the ryokan, passing Nagasaki's own China Town street, I visited a convenience store and bought myself a microwave oven meal, which the clerk warmed up for me (in a microwave oven, naturally).

Once I got back to the ryokan, I met an Australian who had just come by bicycle, which turned out to be his way of exploring Japan. Hmm, now that would make an interesting travelogue indeed!

The rest of the evening went past by admiring the room I had, eating my warm meal and watching television. At one point the same staff member who drove me here popped by to make my bed.

Later in the evening I went to sleep, feeling lucky to end up in this particular ryokan and happy of coming to Nagasaki, which so far feels like the most pleasant city I've visited so far in this trip.

back to top | proceed to day eleven!

 

Photo copyright Ude
The next Hikari shinkansen will go from Shin-Osaka all the way to Hakata station.

Photo copyright Ude
Whoever designed this train must have a passion towards futuristic space shuttles.

Photo copyright Ude
Some street in Nagasaki. Even here the electric cable work is rather ugly.

Photo copyright Ude
A monument of 6 European Christian priests and 20 Japanese followers that were executed in 1597 during an era when Christianity was banned in Japan.

Photo copyright Ude
Another street in Nagasaki. Nothing special here, I'm just filling the right column here with photos. :-)

Photo copyright Ude
What a room! Easily wins the "best accommodation" prize in this trip!

LINKS TO SERVICES, PLACES, ETC. MENTIONED TODAY:
Ryokan Nishikiso Bekkan - An excellent ryokan in Nagasaki I stayed in by mistake!
JR Kyushu - Website for the railway company in the island of Kyushu.
Copyright 2003-2019 © , second edition. Latest minor update 4th of May 2010 (fixed and deleted broken links)