Tokyo Damage Report

japan trip 1: touya

Ok, guys, I just checked my passport, and it turns out that I have to leave Japan again in like 3 days. Doh! so, to give you something to read while I am gone, I finally typed a travel report of my Japan vacation. As usual, the report is in 2 parts — words and then pictures. the words will do the ranting, and the pictures will show the positive side. enjoy?


 

FRI SEPTEMBER 2 – LAKE TOUYA

So foriegners can buy special discount Japan Rail Train tickets. You save lots of money, but you have to “activate” the ticket, which means sticking your head in some beauracracy. I can’t even spell it, let alone tolerate it. It is half an hour before my train leaves, and I figure that should be enough time. I show the receipt to the Japan Rail station guy at my local station, and he doesn’t even look at me, let alone help. Just shakes his head no. what the fuck, no? no, as in “we don’t activate tickets here, but we activate them somewhere else?” or no as in “that is not a JR pass,” or no as in “this is not even a train station, we sell kittens and ponies here.” ??? Then some Japanese are coming up cutting in line, and he not only blows me off but is hella polite to them. If I was not late for my plane I would get all pirate on his bigot ass. He grudgingly tells me the name fo the exit at Shinjuku station where I can activate it. I run like OJ through mobs of people to reach the southmost exit, only to find out the fucker totally lied and the real office is on the total opposite end. . . of the biggest station in Tokyo! That is time I do not have! If I can’t catch my train then I can’t catch my airplane flight, which I already paid for!

I always do this bullshit. I hate beauracracy because there is always some little rule or exception to the rule or something always goes wrong. So I totally put off dealing with beuracracy until the last possible second, and that only makes it worse, which makes me even more determined to avoid beuracracty the next time, and it is just this vicious circle.

Anyway I run with my huge bags the entire length of Shinjuku station, and bust through the doors of the travel service with sweat coming out of every pore, shouting and stammering “mmMMY MY MY PLANE PLANEPLANEPLPLPLANE I NEED TICK TICK TICK TICKET NOW” there might have been a line? I don’t know, I was not watching. But I scare the guy enough that he does my paperwork (why the hell is there even paperwork to begin with?? I already paid for the damn ticket! Just stamp it or lick it or do something!) fast and I catch the last possible train.

So.

finally wind up at the airport like 10 minutes before my plane leaves. But luckily I am ok . . . . BECAUSE THE PLANE IS LATE TOO!! The whole thing is just a comedy of errors and it is only the first day. Jesus. The airport has one long line to stamp your tickets, but unlike everywhere else, they have a whole separate line to put your cargo on the conveyor belt. .. .why? so they can wrap almost everything in plastic sheeting!!! This fucking culture with its obsessive plastic wrapping, I swear to god. Finally get on the damn plane hella late, find a seat, stow my bag, stow my other bag, take off my boots, unwrap my salad and I am about to tuck in, when the stewardess interrupts me because I am sitting in this dumbfuck’s seat.

WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME IT WAS ASSIGNED SEATING?? Whoever heard of a dinky one hour flight that wasn’t “sit wherever, man” style? Jesus! So now I have to pack up all my gear and head back to the rear of the plane. Get on a train, and here is the first cool thing ? there is not enough seats for all the passengers so the young passengers just sit down ON THE FLOOR by the doors, and ganbarro be damned. I lose no time in joining them. It is only now that I actually start reading the guidebook of japan.

So I manage to get off at the right stop, and follow the hostel clerk’s directions (The clerk said on the phone “take a taxi from toya, it will cost maybe 10 bucks”) but I confuse the Toya train terminal with the far-off town of the same exact name.. . . so instead I took a taxi the WHOLE WAY and it wound up costing more than the damn hotel!!! Jesus, is there any more shit I could possibly fuck up?? The dude at the hostel is like 200 years old with such bad cateracts he has a special TV with a camera/microscope he points at shit he wants to see and the TV blows it up 100 times. It is only now, after I have traveled 6 hours, and after I have paid, that he explains the rules. Lock-in at 10pm and the bath also closes at 10. it is now 9. normally I don’t go to bed until 6 am. . . how the hell am I supposed to sleep with no exercise and no booze??

But at least there is an onsen. While I like the live palm trees which have been planted in the room, I find that painting the dismal concrete interior a sickly green color does little to enhance the jungle motif. Also it is no warmer than my bath at home. Plus, they have a single little 6 inch fan to ventilate the entire steam-filled room, and as a result the air has like zero oxygen.

Seriously what is up with Japan and fans??? They are world-famous at cars, videogames, vcrs, vibrators, all this electronic stuff, but their fans are like 17 th century things made out of like tape and straws. How is that possible?? Not only every apartment has shit ventilation, but all the live houses also have shit ventilaton. It’s like give a Japanese engineer a screwdriver and some balsa wood and he will build you a playstation that shoots real lasers, but tell him to make a fan and he immediately pokes his eyes out with a bamboo stick and hides under Mothra. What the fuck people?????

Anyway at least the onsen was good enough to calm me down. After all my tribulations I can finally go back to my room and relax and watch some porn. That’s when my new room mate knocks at the door. What the hell??? The guidebook did not say this was dorm style, and the hostel clerk did not say that either!! What the screaming fuck????? I fucking hate this!!! Not having a room-mate per se, but I hate the fact that there is always some weird shit going on that you are not told in advance and are basically powerless about.

So, I am only on the first day and already I am ready to murder some folks.

 

SAT SEP 3 – LAKE TOUYA

Awesome day. Go rent a cheap bike and ride around the lake – 37 km! although more like 40 because I got lost. The guidebook said there was a quote “bicycle course” end quote, which in reality was more like a “diesel truck course that bikes are allowed on” . . . but still that could not ruin the fun. At noon I stopped and took a ferry to the islands in the center of the lake. They jut abruptly out of the water at like 45 degrees and look like boobies. So festooned with vegetation that instead of beaches, they are WIDER 5 feet up than at sea level. So I get off the boat a bit late and by the time I get to the land all the other passengers are gone. I ask the old lady at the crafts store where is the hiking? And she says she has no idea.

I run around trying to find a trail but everywhere is fenced off. What the hell? I am really pissed. Finally find some nice lady in the kids room who says that there is half hour guided walking tours. What the shit?? why do you need a fucking guide for a forest. It’s a FOREST!!! Like, “if you look to your left you will see a tree. OH GOD DON’T TOUCH IT AIIIEEEEEEEE!!!!” anyway I explain the situation to her and she is “ok, you can go in unsupervised. Like a big boy!! All I have to do is sign this security clearance list.” What the fuck, did Donald Rumsfeld come through here recently? Are we at Forest Alert Orange?? Jesus, these people are so anal about everything.

Anyway so I kick it in there for 2 hours and it is pretty awesome ? lots of huge daddy longlegs spiders plus just-barely-hatched crickets whose attempts to jump are hilariously inept. Plus lots of lichen and deers and crazy meadows of mustard flowers and stuff. On the way back I pass a glade full of no less than 6 buck deer with big ass antlers that are not at all scared. Anyway then I go back to land feeling slightly better.

 

But the fucking travelogues on these boats. Fuck that shit!! Here we are, surrounded by nature, beautiful rippling lake water with this mysterious unique metallic blue color and these amazing sensuous islands, but you cant even concentrate on nature without this woman’s nasally voice blaring over a loudspeaker in your fucking ear. Look bitch, I am trying to commune with nature here. I don’t need you telling me which way to look. The only way this could be worse was if it was in English. Why don’t you put down the microphone and just sit in a corner of the boat and talk in a normal voice and see how many customers actually WANT to VOLUNTAIRLY come up and listen to you?

After that I go to a second onsen. It is ALSO no hotter than my bathtub. Which is weird. . . I mean there is a volcano practically next door so there really is no excuse. It was crazy crowded in the outdoor bath. I climbed in and had to like crawl over dudes to find the empty spot. And like as soon as I sat down literally 8 of the 9 guys left. I was like, holy shit I am black. Where is dave chapelle? He needs to know about this . then later some skuzzy fake-suntan guys came in and were all speculating about how to see the women’s bath because they did not know I spoke Japanese. I stayed in so long that I started to get drunk feeling and almost passed out. Having having weird thoughts about imaginary reality tv shows with like a house full of wahalabi imams and hassidic rabbis, or a house of totally hot but utterly closeted gay guys and one really repressed Christian girl. But if the criteria for Successful Reality Roomate Show are drama, narccisim and endless sexy arguments, the ultimate reality tv show would be called “Five Camille Paglias.”

Also, there was this CRAZY hotel on the top of a mountain, looking i swear like a Supervillain Fortress.

and, near the youth hostel was this Baby Volcano that just started like a hundred years ago and was already like 200 feet high– the brown one in the background.

 


japan page 1 — touya

japan page 2 —shikotsuko

japan page 3 — shirogane

japan page 4 – biei

japan page 5 – asahidake

japan page 6- tazawa lake and nyuto onsen

japan page 7 – miyako festival

japan page 7 and a half – miyako beach

japan page 8 – kinkasan

japan page 9 – osaka

japan page 10 – texture photos, can you guess what they are of?

 

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