Flight to Osaka Japan was pressuring me to get back to the hotel, shower and get ready for my trip to the airport. At the lobby of the hotel, checked in with a shuttle company and purchased my fare to the airport, hoping to catch some of the views of Hawaii. No time for sightseeing, flight would depart at 2:25pm to Osaka, 2nd leg of the trip.
Honolulu to Osaka- August 30- 31, 2015
My flight on Hawaiian air was long. A young child sitting behind me that kept hitting my seat and playing with the drop down table. The stewardess asks that we all close the curtains on the windows which made it so much nicer and it brings a restful atmosphere. I prayed that the little one will soon settle down. Everyone did finally rest after dinner. Nine hours later we land in Osaka, Japan. After filling out immigration and custom forms and going through customs I finally exhaled a big breath of relief. Japan welcomes me. Let the adventure begin!
After exchanging my dollars to yen, I took a shuttle train to the mainland and anxiously I walk toward the Washington Hotel in Osaka. Arriving at 6:15pm missing the last train to Kii-Katsuura, no more trains running for today, a reservation was made to spend the night in Osaka prior to my landing in Japan.
My 9th story room was small but clean. I proceeded to drop my luggage and head back downstairs. I had notice a small store where I could buy bottled water. I was so exhausted and excited I could not eat. Proceeded to shower, relax, touch base with family in US and inform everyone that I was well. My ankles and right knee were swollen and while Skyping with friends I happen to put them up on wall. Oh, the joys of flying! Having to catch the earliest train to Katsuura I shut down and slept well in the small cozy room. Morning comes fast.
Osaka to Kii-Katsuura – September 1, 2015
Walking at a fast pace to the train station from the Washington Hotel, I wanted to purchase my train ticket. “Reserved seat – right side of train, window seat.” I kept remembering this as Terran and Tim had informed me to experience the coastal side of the trip. I’m anxious to get to my destination. My team would be heading to the Cove for opening day ceremony; I would be arriving late!
The train stations in Japan are all bilingual and all the conductors speak minimal English but are kind and helpful. Train transfer from local to express was supposed to switch trains in Wakayama from local to express. I didn’t. The conductor sees that I am still in the train and requests my ticket. I kindly show it to him and he mentions, must run, wrong train and catch the express which was at another track.
He calls out to the office at the station and I guess they communicate with the express train via radio as he proceeds to pick up my luggage and we start running down the stairs. Through a walk way tunnel, no time for elevator! As we run up the stairs he starts to struggle with my luggage. I say to him not knowing if he understood; “Yes I also packed a bathtub in there!” always trying to make light of a tough situation, picked up the back of the luggage. Suddenly feeling my self being pulled; I have to do my best to keep up.
He puts me at the door of the train and I compose myself, thank goodness that train was empty, I find my seat in front what seemed to be two business man speaking and laughing in Japanese.
I made myself comfortable and relaxed for a 3 hour trip. But wait I forgot breakfast! Pulling out an energy health bar only to find out it was full of all kinds of seeds of which I ate only half. This should keep me going until I get to Katsuura.
Japan’s coast line is so breathtaking, pictures don’t do it justice. The hills full of bamboo and trees and the shore line lined with big rocks protruding out a small distance from the shore looking like a fine piece of art. Breathtaking!
We continue to ride through little towns with homes filled quaint Japanese architecture and manicured trees. Some properties had gardens, some fruit trees, many had rice paddies. Japan has many tunnels we ride through, Japan is full of hills and mountains. No wonder they rely on the ocean for food. Not much flat land to plant crops and I did see some on some hills but wondered about the raining season and landslides.
As we start to get closer to Taiji, a large wind turbine appears. Not only one but several giants are slowly spinning producing wind energy. This too caught my eye. It showed that some of Japan is progressing to wind energy and maybe one day the nuclear plants will be obsolete. Fukushima comes to mind, watching the coast line and seeing lots of wreckage of trees that have fallen and maybe even could it be that this may be remnants of the tsunami? My heart aches knowing that this wonderful ocean came in and destroy thousands of lives. I shake those sad feeling and blues away and I kept saying to myself, “You need to do this; you have to continue this pilgrimage you started.”
I watch the electronic sign that tells you what is the next station as the conductor speaks in to the train car speaker and announces in Japanese, the next station. Taiji!