Japan day 15

The low/midrange hotel that I stayed at served breakfast at the tenth floor, which meant a nice view if the comparatively low-rise Matsumoto and all if the surrounding mountains. Amongst others there was natto for breakfast, which is fermented soybeans, and I guess very much an acquired taste. Somewhat like tempeh, but with the bitterness turned up to eleven. There was also something like the takoyaki balls but sweet and with pieces of apple within them. I had actually found Japanese “æbleskiver”. 

I visited Matsumoto Castle, a thirty meter high wooden castle from 1504 surrounded by a moat. It was impressive that something made of wood still was in so good shape. One could see the many stories of the inside, provided one was willing to walk around in ones socks and bow down to not hit ones head.

I had some time to kill, so I visited the nearby “Timepiece Museum”. Pun very much intended. Ha, ha. It was actually interesting enough. Did you for one know that some sundials were equipped with a compass so that you could keep the correct orientation when moving it around?

Anyways, I then started on my train/bus journey to Subaru Fifth station, which is located on Mount Fuji. I’ll leave the difficult task of figuring out what’s up for tomorrow for the reader. He. 

Oh, wait, there’s more. I’d guessed that I could finish this blog post while riding the train as I didn’t expect anything more of interest to happen.  Then I got off the train and to what was apparently just an old tiny bus stop along the highway outside a minor town. The bus I was supposed to take was listed with some Japanese characters in Google Maps and the company webpage couldn’t be translated with Google, so I just hoped that there wouldn’t be any problems getting a seat. A bus came four minutes ahead of time, so I asked the driver if it was the one on my phone. He declined that, but didn’t seen overly confident. Then the time came when my bus was actually supposed to come by, but it failed to do so. Then five minutes went by. Then ten. Then fifteen. Then I convinced myself that the driver was wrong and it had been the right bus so that would now have to wait two hours for the next, and I wasn’t sure that one would show up. Then a bus not heading for Fuji and two that were headed there but were full came by. Okay, so the time schedule next to the bus stop made next to no sense aside from the fact that it did in fact still seem to be a bus stop.  It wasn’t looking good but then the third bus for Fuji showed up and I was in luck as there was one seat left. Yes! It was only a bit more than an hour late. I still wasn’t completely sure that I was getting to the right place, as the ticket just said “Fifth Station” and there are multiple Fifth stations on the mountain, so I was elated when one hour later it made the right turn.

I squeezed in with my two backpacks as the driver wasn’t opening the luggage compartment, but then put the big one in the aisle, and no one complained. 

The driver, used some kind of gadget that translated what he said to English whenever he made a pause. It spoke in a cartoonish girl voice and made absolutely no sense. It was hilarious, as evidenced by the laughter it elicited between the other foreigners. 

I checked into my the “cabin” in a cabin hotel at the fifth station, and looked at the nearby nature. The sun was setting and somewhat below us were the clouds. It already seemed like a special place and I hadn’t even begun the climb yet. 

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