Today Saturday was the first day since we left on Tuesday that we have not been in transit. I tell you what, I am going to have some harsh words with my travel agent when I get back home. One wonders how this person ever got to be in the travel business unless it was as an agent for Beelzebub Travel Planners, We Put The Hell Into Travel,
Before I go into today's activities, a response to the comment from Daughter #3. She asked why we were so angry to not pay for the extra baggage fee yesterday. The reason was there was no option to pay for additional carry on. I said I would pay but the answer was "no we have a 7 kg limit per person and it is inviolable." End of story. I would have gladly paid more.
Because we had not planned on spending all day Friday on trains trying to get to Kagoshima, we had already made reservations on a recommended tourist train combo for today. The day got off to a great start. for the first time, we got up at a normal hour, had a real breakfast, and took our time before getting going.
Unbeknownst to us, there is evidently quite the tourist train cult going on in Japan. On each of the three trains we took, there were cards you could take where you stamped the name of the train on them and then, if you were lucky, got the driver to sign the card for you. On all of these trains there are stops at small stations where you get out and there are folks there selling stuff.
On the third of our tourist trains, it turns out it was the maiden voyage of the train and there were all kinds of celebrations going on at the stops and they were giving out all kinds of goodie bags. Plus along the route were people taking pictures of the train. It was a total happenstance for us.
We also were able to have a lot of personal interactions with folk as just about everyone on these trains was doing it for tourism reasons. FYI we were the only Westerners on the train. In fact we haven't seen but two other Western faces in Kagoshima. Yet we're finding there is more English understood (though really not that much) than would have been thought. We're also finding we can use our credit cards much more than guide books had us believe.
Today was very relaxing and we felt we were totally getting immersed into things Japanese.
For dinner last night we did Shabu-Shabu with the local specialty, black pork. Today we did Teppanyaki. So far if there is sticker shock from prices it is reverse sticker shock. The costs of thing has been way lower than we would have expected.
Today was the first photo intensive day and I'm just getting enough time to start going through them and editing them. Hopefully I will get some up tomorrow.