Sunday, September 4, 2011

Welcome to Tokyo and the trains to Mt Fuji - Typhoon Talas Rains

I was welcomed to Shin Yokahamo station by Aki Ono and Charlie Engler (who took this photo). Aki had visited Charlie's family in Minnesota in June and I had missed meeting her as I was traveling in Illinois at the time. She and Charlie took me out for my first typical Tokyo meal nearby.

Charlie Engler, yours truly and Aki at the typical Tokyo eating place near the station. Aki demonstrated how to use the traditional grill, making a "pancake" of many ingredients.

Here Aki directed how to cover it with a sauce when she served it. Nice to have familiar faces to greet me to the big city.
And learning about a new cuisine for me.

Charlie and I got up in his apartment and had breakfast to prepared to meet is colleague, Shirley at one of the stations along the way. Transportation here is pretty much all dependent on the trains. So after getting acquainted with Shirley on the various trains, here are Charlie and Shirley on the last train to Mt Fuji looking quite hopeful for our climb. Both she and Charlie had done the trip before and we we all looking forward to the bus trip to the 5th station.

Here is the "happy volcano image on a screen behind the seat we noticed.

Upon arrival at the last station, the ticket folks made a sign of crossing their arms and said " too dangerous to go up because of the typhoon, no buses, the hiways are closed" So here are Charlie and Shirley soon after we had learned the news. We all had been planning on this for quite awhile, so we had to regroup and decided to walk down to the lake in the town and have something to eat. For me, it was often been, when in doubt, sit down regroup and consider our options.

Here is Charlie, modeling the body language of "it is closed, not available" we saw at the bus station.

At least I could capture some of the energy of planning for the ascent of the mountain and think about coming another time. Letting go. An evocative poster.

As we walked into town toward the lake this neighboorhood temple called us in for a short sweet respite to relax. Not much evidence of a nasty typhoon here as far as I could tell. :-)

A view of the lake, Kawaguchi-Ko, from near where we chose of have lunch.

Here are Shirley and Charlie admiring the hot pots with a local noodle called houtou. We got 3 different variety, kimchi, pork and pumpkin!

On the way back down toward Toyko I noticed the gardens along the tracks.

Here is the river that followed the valley where the train went, showing the large amount of water in the rivers that came in front of the typhoon.

Later on the trains, perhaps after the 10th transfer (5 trains going up, 5 trains going back according to Charlie), Charlie and Shirley seemed like in an OK mood! We climbed the trains rather than Mt Fuji!

Here is Charlie outside of the Chicken Restaurant named Toriki, in the Shinegawa area. Charlie discovered this through the Travel Channel on No Reservations, which is a show coming through Anthony Bourdain.

Here are some of what we ate. Liver, gizzards and chicken sashimi. Local speciality of this restaurant.

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