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Photography Tour to Japan #5: Blue train under blue sky at Letters from Japan

Photography Tour to Japan #5: Blue train under blue sky   no comments

Posted at 9:39 pm in Japan Photo Trip, Kanazawa

As I woke up in my small room on a sleeper train, the first thing I did was peek out the window. It was still 5 o’clock in the morning, and the sun had just come up. It is cloudy outside, and I see an expansive view of a green paddy field. I think to myself, “we are in the countryside.”

Our train left Ueno Station around 11 pm.  This is my first experience riding this train also known here as the “blue train.” It’s a two-story sleeper train with individual rooms.  I dreamed of riding this train often when I was a kid (yes, I was into trains). The idea of sleeping on a train was such a fascination because it seemed to me that traveling all night must mean traveling a very long distance. I used to wonder where I would end up traveling such lengths.

When I came across this option for traveling for our group trip to Kanazawa, I immediately seized the opportunity. Traveling by  train has a nostalgic feeling and is an experience that people do not get to try that much anymore. In some ways, it’s just about the journey, not the destination.

For this trip, my room was on the lower level which seems to be a little roomier than the upper compartments, but still the ceiling height was just a tad short for me to stand up. The compartment is just big enough for me and the bed which also doubles as a seat.

There are a couple of shower rooms on the train. To use them you need to purchase a card from the conductor early before they sell out. With this card, you have six minutes to take shower. When I thought of just six minutes, it seemed way too short. To my surprise, my entire showering was just over three minutes long. Of course, I wore a shower cap to cover my long hair for the first time in my life and skipped the hair washing step. I looked pretty funny.

The train ride has been rather smooth. After cramming my luggage into this small room, I started writing emails. Soon after, I started to fall sleep. I changed into a robe with the JR logo on it which comes with each room and drifted off to sleep. You feel the movement of the train for sure, but it did not bother me that much.

We are in Toyama now. In an hour and a half, we will be arriving at Kanazawa Station. We will head to the International Exchange Salon where Nagae-san is waiting for us with breakfast.

Written by projectbasho on September 5th, 2008

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