The next day, and final day in Japan, I had a trip to Mount Fuji. The day didn't go as well as I'd hoped, because the entire day it was raining and cloudy. We took a bus ride a few hours to Mount Fuji, and drove to the fifth station on the mountain. We stopped and walked around, and of course hit up the gift shop. It was so cold out and there was snow everywhere, which for some reason I wasn't expecting. I guess I thought we weren't going to be going up high enough for there to be snow. But the ground was covered and it felt like winter in Kansas, which I thought I'd missed. And lucky for me, I wore flip flops so it was even more unbearable. After spending some time shopping for Mount Fuji souvenirs, we went back to the bus and drove to the Visitor's Center. There we, once again, went to the gift shop. And after that we watched a short film about Mount Fuji. Then we drove a while to Hakone and took the ropeway for about 30 minutes. We stopped near a lake and drove a couple minutes to a boat, where we took a ride on the lake, hoping to get some good views of the mountain. But it was too cloudy and we couldn't see Mount Fuji at all. I was pretty disappointed, since that was the whole point of the trip. The rest of the trip was fun, but I was really looking forward to seeing the giant mountain. Oh well, I'll just have to come back during July or August some year and climb to the top. They said it only takes about six hours to get to the peak. After the boat ride we just took the bus ride back to the ship and I got back on, after waiting in line forever. Now's going to be the most boring stretch of the trip. We have about a week and a half until we get to Hawaii, and then another week until we get to San Diego. During that time I'll have to write a few papers and study for my finals. I don't think anyone's looking forward to the rest of the trip.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
After one day in transit, we arrived in Yokohama. The first day I went with a couple girls to Tokyo. We took the train there, having to transfer lines once. It only took around 45 minutes for us to get there once we figured out the subway. Then the girls I was with decided to just start walking blindly, after I suggested we look at a map and find some place cool to go. But they started walking and about 15 minutes later we realize there is absolutely nothing the way we're going. Luckily, we ran into an old Australian couple who asked us if we were lost. We said yes and just decided to follow them around for a bit. They went to a park that had the Meiji Shrine. None of us were sure what the significance of the shrine was, but it seemed like it was a place for prayer. Then we decided to go to Harajuku, a young and hip district in Tokyo. We only walked for a few minutes and hit an intersection with giant retail buildings - the biggest Old Navy I've ever seen in my life. I noticed that we'd hit the district because suddenly there were only young, stylish teens walking by. There were a quite a few people with a face full of piercings. And when I mean full, they were completely covered. We walked around a while and found the Oriental Bazaar. I guess that was just a store that had souvenir items at a cheaper price, although it was still pretty expensive. We spent a while there and I bought a few knick-knacks. Then we decided to go get some food. We wanted Japanese food, specifically their stuffed crepes, but a lady from the ship told us there weren't any around. So two of the girls I was with went into Shakey's Pizza, which is supposed to be pretty good, and the other girl and I went to look for cheaper, more authentic food. We finally came across a little stand that sold the crepes. I bought the famous kind, which name escapes me right now, and it was so good! I went back for seconds and got a crepe with chocolate ice cream, which was even better! I hope I can find some places that sell those back in the US! After that we kept walking around and found a little shopping strip that mostly sold younger clothes and accessories. But we just walked around a looked, and after a while we decided to head back to the ship since we were both so tired.