Saturday, December 22, 2007


For quiet sometime I was thinking of writing something on "Life in Japan" but I wasn't inspired enough, until this trip.

I wrote a part of this while I was in the Bullet train, :) :) (Its called the Shingasen.) We took Shingasen from Tokyo to Nishi-Akaski (Kawasaki Headquarters), that's north of Tokyo and then we went to Hamamatsu (Suzuki and Yamaha Headquarters). The best part of Shingasen is that you don't feel a thing no noise, no vibrations nothing. They serve liquor in the train :) You can never estimate the actual speed unless they display on the board. Surprisingly there were no seat belts, Wonder why? And when the train really catches up speed you sometimes feel the strange sense in the ear (similar to the one that you feel when a plane is landing) or may be I was the only one who got that feeling!! Singasen moves at around 300kmph and in the past 44 year history of Shingasen there have been no accidents. We covered over 700 km in less than 3.5 hrs. Simply amazing!! In India it would've been a day's journey. Again, they must have seat belts at such high speeds. Usually when 2 Shingasen pass each other there is a jerk, which is not good (I am not criticizing, just that if you are sleeping you get up because of the jerk.) Well I think even the best of engineers can't get rid of it. After all, no mater what, you still have to work within a definite time frame and a limited budget. Even in Japan. I think this jerk is because of the sudden low pressure area that is created between the 2 trains (passing each other at such high velocities.) that it throws them apart. The train has a wing kinda structure on its roof above a few coaches. I guess it has something to do with aerodynamics.

Okay! enough of Shingasen...

I saw Mt. Fuji. as well. Japanese called it Fuji San (they respect it). It erupted 300 years ago so categorically it's not a dead volcano. It's just sleeping'. How to identify Mt. Fuji? Well! you just have to look for a mountain with snow on top. Wonder if they come up with some adventure sport where you can ski on Mt. Fuji.

Nishi-Akashi is also called Kawasaki city, because a lot of credit goes to Kawasaki for bringing the city in the world map. next stop was Nagoya where we switched trains to reach Hamamatsu. Nagoya is the Toyota city, same reasons of course.

My pit stop for the evening was hotel Heitetsu in Hamamatsu, its called the Suzuki city, need I say why? The hotel room was amazing, its wasn't the typical Tokyo hotel room, which are like rat holes. It was huge and I was told by Suganuma San (a Japanese associate) that they were trying to book a single seat room for me, but the rooms were full, my good chance. After almost 10 days I really got to spread myself. But the best part was not the room, it was the food.

We went to a traditional Japanese restaurant, where you get to sit on mats right in front of the chef. We started off with raw fish :) Tofu. It's an extremely poisonous fish and people die if it's poison is not removed properly and you have to get a license to serve Tofu. Raw Tofu was extremely delicious. I wouldn't have imagined eating raw fish 10 days back in India and there I was eating and relishing the moment. What followed was an amazing round of food that I had never experienced. Next on the menu were baked crabs, followed by fried oysters, boiled Tofu, beer, boiled sea shells, fish eggs, Japanese wine Sake (pronounce as Sakey). Sake is served in a unique way. They'll serve Sake in a beaker placed inside a wooden container. They keep on filling the beaker until it overflows and fill the wooden container too. Sake has a sweet taste and it's very mild. Its made from rice. I am pretty good with chop-sticks now but the language has a far way to go.

The restaurant bill.. 60,000 yen. Wow!! that's 20,000 Rs. You say 20K for a dinner for 5. I'd say impressive.

I came back to my hotel room after an amazing day and glanced outside the window. The view was really beautiful. Looks like the city is all set to celebrate Christmas and welcome the new year. There were lights all over the city sidewalks. Dead Sakura trees have been given life by glowing bulbs. There are huge Christmas trees in market plazas. I could see couples cuddling up as they walked on the streets. The air has a festive feeling... reminds me of a popular Christmas song Silver Bells...

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks.
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there's a feeling of Christmas
Children laughing,
People passing,
Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you'll hear

Silver bells, [Silver bells] Silver bells, [silver bells]
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling [ring-a-ling],
Hear them ring [hear them ring]
Soon it will be Christmas day.

I went to bed thanking God for a wonderful blessed day he gave me. :')