Monday, September 17, 2007

Mah belly r fuhl

(The Agnes Hotel, Tokushima)

I’ve already jumped the gun and posted about my spectacular dinner experience, so I’ll fill in the rest of the day, which shouldn’t take long at all. I can hear bikies doing burnouts up the main road.

The flight to Tokushima was uneventful and quick. We were mostly over the ocean, but every now and then skipped over some of Honshu’s peninsulas, and the bird’s eye view was a bit of a turn off. What I saw convinced me never to swim at those beaches; all the rivers run straight into the sea, and the water is brown for kilometres, especially up against the shore. Ick.

Something about Japan attracts clouds. The skies will be clear all around, except over one tiny island, where BHAM! Cloud. Yes, mounains, I know. Still, an awful lot of cloud.

JAL economy is very comfortable. I’m used to flying budget in Australia, so the big cushy chairs were a nice surprise. A good thing, given flying domestically in Japan costs so much I’d have rather just given them my firstborn.

Although the ticket vending machine for the bus from Tokushima airport was all in kanji, the bus driver was loitering next to it, and helped me out. The buses from the airport to the station are timed to coincide with flight arrivals, so he was making sure he had everyone who wanted to hop on.

Tokushima is hot. Quite possibly hotter than Kamakura. Japan, c’mon, seriously. It’s the middle of September, cool down already.

At the information kiosk at the station I managed to, all in Japanese, get the times for the tide changes tomorrow, find out where to buy tickets for the bus to Osaka, and learn the correct direction for my hotel. Whoo!

The Agnes is a stylish western/business hotel, with a highly tempting patisserie on the ground floor. My room is all in subtle shades of green and grey, and I feel rather like I’m in the Matrix because of it.

I headed out straight away, on a quest to buy my bus ticket. This proved not so straight forward, as the ticket counter had moved from where I was told, but asking at the bus stop set me on the right path again. Good thing I bought it today, as the queues at the bus stop were huge. Only 3600 yen too, which isn’t bad.

Originally, I’d thought to visit the first two temples on the pilgrimage of the 88 temples of Shinkoku, but it was hot, damn hot, and I didn’t feel like getting even 1/44th of enlightenment. There was a man on my flight starting out on that pilgrimage. It takes about three months to walk from temple to temple around the island, on the journey to enlightenment. I wish him fine weather and good luck. Me, I explored the streets around the station area, poked in at the park, before retreating to air conditioning.

Tomorrow, the whirlpools of Naruto!

(Post ETA: I booked the Agnes by firing off an english email to the address on their all Japanese website, and hoping. They have an english speaker in their staff, and that was enough for me to reserve a room. More free wifi.)

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