Today I made it back to Okazaki and Yamasa again.
I got up early, and grabbed a shinkansen, the Nozomi from Tokyo to Nagoya.
I could have grabbed it in Shinagawa, which would have made more sense, but I know the way to Tokyo Station better, and I didn’t want to get lost and miss my train.
For those of you who don’t know, there are 3 kinds of shinkansen (what we Americans call “bullet trains”) that run on the Tokaido Line from Tokyo to Nagoya, and on to Osaka and points further West.
First, there’s the Kodama. It stops just about everywhere. It’s fast in that it’s faster than an ordinary train, but it’s slow, because it stops a lot. It’s handy if you live in a biggish small town, but it’s not the way to get anywhere really big in a hurry.
Next there’s the Hikari, which stops at fewer places, and is a lot faster. (And more expensive.) This is the train you take if you’re using a JR pass, or if you’re on a budget.
Then there’s the Nozomi, which is just a rocket on rails. It barely stops for anything, and I think it goes around 270-300 Km/h or so. I know that I got from Tokyo to Nagoya in about a little less than 2 hours. The downside is that it’s not cheap.
Another downside: you can’t use it for free if you’re on a JR pass.
Arriving in Nagoya, With Just Enough Time to Change Trains
I grabbed a Nozomi to Nagoya, and got there in a jiffy, then grabbed a variant of a limited express to Okazaki. That bit took about 30 minutes or so.
I was feeling adventurous, so I rode in the front of the train and watched out the front of the car. I don’t know why, but I like to do that.
It’s interesting to watch all of the hand gestures that the engineers, conductors, and construction workers use. I saw something about that on TV a while back. Apparently, it improves safety if you force your employees to confirm each action they’re supposed to take with a specific hand gesture. As long as I get there safely, I’m all for it. It doesn’t look silly if it saves lives.
I got to Okazaki at around 11:50, and got picked up with my 2 monstrous suitcases and was whisked over to the school. It’s a pretty short walk from the station if you’re not carrying 100 lbs of luggage, but add the luggage, and the distance suddenly seems much bigger.
Since everyone was at lunch, I had to wait a while. Bad timing on my part. Fortunately, there were a few people hanging around in the Customer Service department who could take care of me and get me processed. We got my room sorted out (Villa 5, yay!), and then I got a ride to my new digs.
I Get to Stay Here? Really?
As far as temporary apartments go, this one is very nice. It’s a studio-style apartment that’s been very recently built. It’s Japanese-style, but with a bed. (Thank God.) I love Japan, but I can’t handle futons. Last time I was here, I had excruciating futon-induced back spasms. Thankfully, there are some apartments here with western-style beds.
It was also built to take a magnitude 8.5 earthquake. That’s reassuring.
After a few minutes to unload and freshen up, it was back to campus for my first private lesson at 1:40, followed by a CALL seminar at 2:40. It was challenging and a fun to get back in the saddle, as it were.
By then, I was pretty much starving. I staggered over to the Mini Stop to get some food, then spent the rest of the day figuring out the apartment.