08:00, cold, snowing outside. Packed beds as best we could, then breakfast.
Caption: Everything here was delicious and filling! The stuff on the leaf over the burner at the top of the photo was some sort of satay paste. At least that’s what it tasted like. It was amazingly strong, I stole Ayu’s because he wasn’t that keen.
A layer of fresh snow covered the ground, making it easier to navigate the driveway back to town. Left luggage at Shimizu, they offered to drop it off at the bus station in time for our ride, which was bloody good of them.
Spent the next few hours wandering around town doing more sightseeing. Light snowfall coming down making picture-taking somewhat difficult.
Caption: It turns out that Ayus have too much traction to drift properly
Caption: Mirror walkers
Caption: Snow falling on Gasshou Zukuri
Caption: As weird as the Japanese sense of humour is, it’s nice to see that some things are pretty universal
Hinamizawa is very much supported by tourist industries, so there’s plenty of little souvenir shops around. We did our bit, I managed to nab a bottle of the local doburoku. The elderly couple running the shop didn’t quite speak English, but they’d obviously seen enough tourists like us in their time, and they were very cordial.
Caption: Irie Clinic, no colour-blind lolis here though. Presence of subterranean facility remains unconfirmed.
Caption: It’s a bit chilli here
Caption: Cosmic reflection in Shoukawa
Not all of us made it to the bus in time, having made different arrangements for getting our luggage there. I the end, MrVacBob was perhaps 45sec late for our bus, so we chilled out at Takayama waiting for the next bus to arrive.
It’s a long way back to Tokyo, a good five hours travel. But in good company it seems like a trifling matter. We spent the trip back chatting, swapping business cards, eating smoked cheese (it was offered on the food cart, how could you not?) and drinking beer. Oh yes, lots of beer, Trej and I made sure of that.
Caption: Riding off into the sunset
One day I’ll get this right, at Tokyo station you have to exit the JR gates twice. Trying to start a journey on your Suica card by going through an exit-gate usually results in limited success. I swear I have the worst luck, noone ever speaks English when I have the rare need to hassle rail staff.
22:30, had gyuudon for dinner at Yoshinoya in Akiba. Joined up with some of the lulzfest crew while they were out on the town. Dropped a metric shittonne of yens on UFO catchers as a huge team, this sort of social activity is dangerous! Some of us were on fire pulling prizes like nobody’s business, but the regularity with which 500yen coins were disappearing into the machines was somewhat disconcerting.
Even worse, we were crawling from one arcade to the next, looking for new machines with novel gameplay mechanics. I think we only went home in the end once we got kicked out of Don Quixote for closing time.