Terry and PJ’s Adventures in Japan – May 2000
Saturday, May 27, 2000
Terry and I were to take a bus to Mount Asahidake, which is the second tallest mountain in Japan. We had a misunderstanding about the departure time, and missed the bus. The owner actually went out of his way to drive us to the mountain and pick us up later that day. He spent about 2 hours driving, due to the language barrier. We tried to pay him, but he wouldn’t accept any money. How incredibly nice of him!
While at Mount Asahidake, we had hoped to take the gondola to the top, but it was closed for spring refurbishment. However, we played in the snow and found another waterfall. I made a pathetic snowman that was about 5 inches tall. But, as I told Terry, this was only the second time in my life that I had seen snow, so I was going to do whatever came to mind. We made snowballs and threw them at the trees. We managed to refrain from throwing them at each other. The snow was icy, and probably would have hurt.
Sunday, May 28, 2000
We went to Sapporo and stayed one night. We walked around the city and did a little shopping. We decided that the store clerks were probably ready for us to leave. You have to purchase items on the floor where they are located. We didn’t know that, so Chuck picked up several items from different levels, and had to retrace his steps in order to pay for the items in the correct department. When one isn’t familiar with a store, and it has five or six levels, this is quite a challenge.
The service at the department stores was incredible. Terry asked a clerk where the baseball souvenirs were located. She literally ran over to another clerk, got the answer and ran back to Terry to tell him where to find it. Try getting any of the clerks in a department store in the U.S. to run and get an answer for you!
Monday, May 29, 2000
At breakfast, we met a 72-year-old guy. He said he taught himself English. He was one of the better English speakers that we met. He was a man after our hearts. He loved to travel and had visited San Francisco and Hawaii. He said that he wanted to visit New York before he dies. He also said that he intended to travel and spend all of his money, and not leave any to his children. He was quite a character.
After breakfast, we went to the Sapporo Beer Museum. They insisted that we join one of the tours, even though it was in Japanese. We couldn’t understand a word the guide said, but we had to stay with the group anyway. At the end of the tour, they had a beer-tasting segment. Since I don’t like beer, I gave mine to Chuck.
While at the table, Chuck noticed a black ashtray and decided he wanted one, even though he does not smoke. When we went to the gift shop, they only sold white ashtrays. When Chuck told them that he only wanted the black ashtray, they gave him one, instead of charging for it.
We wanted to find some beer mugs with Sapporo beer written in Japanese. What better place to find them – the Sapporo beer factory, in Japan, right? Wrong! They only had mugs written in English.
Well, the night before, Chuck had gone into a bar in the same building as our hotel room. They had the mugs that we wanted. So after the tour, we went back to that bar and asked to buy the mugs, but without the beer. That really confused everyone. Finally, they just gave us the mugs, because they didn’t know how much to charge. I hope you readers don’t go take advantage of the people in Japan by asking for things that they don’t normally sell, just so that they will give it to you. I will be very disappointed in all of you if I hear of that becoming an issue.
Purple flowers outside the Sapporo Beer Museum – for my mom, as purple was her favorite color.
We flew back to Tokyo Monday afternoon, fully expecting to be crushed into the trains again. Chuck’s comment was something to the effect of “Sardines, take your places.” However, fortunately we were not as crowded as before.
Tuesday, May 30, 2000
Terry and I hung out at Chuck’s house to do laundry and nap. We were worn out and needed a recovery day to help us get through the rest of our action packed adventure.
Wednesday, May 31, 2000
Terry and I went back in to Tokyo. We wanted to find a specific store called the Oriental Bazaar. It was worth the trip. The store was an excellent place to pick up souvenirs and gifts. It was recommended in several of the guidebooks that we had purchased. Terry and I found cotton yukatas for all of us, and I insisted that we have dinner in the robes at Chuck’s house (like at the ryoken). Fun times.
Speaking of Chuck’s house, we had to get used to the difference in height. Terry is 5’10” as a reference to the pictures below.
To be continued…