Tokyo Damage Report

Hakkone gets all racial on me.


Suddenly ? BOOM ? it stops being the hottest summer in the last 30 years (I made that number up) and like a car driving into a wall, we had a collision with fall. Just BAM, hey it’s rainy and cool out. I figured, I have a week’s vacation (meaning, days I skip school where I DON’T get in trouble), so I wanted to spend a few days in HAKKONE. This is a great place up in the mountains, full of forests and funiculars and something called the ‘Suzuhiro Corporation Steamed Fish Paste Museum.’ I came up here to use the onsen (hot springs), though. What better to do in the rain than take a nice hot bath?? Awesome plan, was it not? Yes. I mean, no. I mean, it was not awesome.

Problems began at the station, where the douchebag ticketlady told me that a) the ‘nonexpress train’ was faster than the ‘express train,’ because the express train, get this, only leaves a couple of times a day. Also, she did not tell me I was supposed to change trains on the way to hakkone. So it was that my 2 hour journey took 3 ? hours, and I didn’t get to the hot springs until 1. dive in there and enjoy it for 41/2 hours.

You’d think a hungover and sleepy man would benefit greatly from the ‘health waters’ of the natural hot spring, but instead I just couldn’t take the heat. I kept getting in and out every 2 minutes like a total spaz. So I finally figured out that the way to do it was stand up with just my legs in the water and my body and penis getting rained on by the cold November rain. September. October? Whatever.

After that I go to town to get some dinner. First place, is closing right when I get there. Finally wind up getting some soba at some place where the staff stares at me like “outsider!! Outsiderrr!! Uncleeeann!!” when I ask for some napkins to go with my noodles. Yeah, after that I’m still hungry so I look and look and finally find a steak-house that’s still open! Awesome! Except they want seriously $50-70 bucks for a steak. There are absolutely no customers, and like 5 staff sitting around. Hey guys, you think there’s a connection there?

Finally I give up on food altogether and just see about getting a room for the night. Go to the western-style hotel and they’re full. Huh?? Full on a Monday, and it’s not a holiday?? So I go down the side street to find a ryokan (Japanese style inn). I’m told by the staff that I can’t get a room because, get this, I’m by myself. “we only sell to couples” what is this, a swingers club?? I figure he’s just being hateful and prejudiced like everyone else in this shitty tourist trap so I go to the next ryokan and get the same story. “no can do, single person.” After a couple more rejections I just give up and go home.

Fuck, for a tourist trap, they sure hate tourists. But wait, you say, don’t tourist towns by definition hate tourists? Yes, I say, but that is exactly the point. These guys hate tourists EVEN COMPARED TO OTHER TOURIST TRAPS. Like hate us to the point where we can’t even spend our money if we try. So despite being lost, and incontinent with rage, I manage to find my way back to the train station a few minutes before my train. There’s a Chinese couple there trying to speak English to the Japanese train-guy. I figure “hey, just because I’m having a shitty day, that doesn’t mean everyone has to have a shitty day.” And stop to help the Chinese couple by translating. And because of spending just 2 minutes translating, I wind up missing my train home. So then I get to sit on the concrete for like half an hour waiting for the next train. And, in a final indignity, when the train finally DOES come and I get on . . I’m told to leave by the cleaning ladies. They’re like “we have to clean now, so get out. You can get back on later.” then they pull some kind of James Bond switch, which causes ALL THE SEATS IN THE ENTIRE TRAINCAR TO LEVITATE, SPIN 180 DEGREES, AND THEN –SSOOPP!– FALL BACK DOWN AGAIN, in preparation for the retun journey.

aside from that weird Transforming Robot moment, haKKKone blows. don’t go there.


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