Arrival in Japan
No late evasive action required this time, just a smooth landing with nice sea views out the window as the plane approached. Seeing some dark rectangles in the water prompted Akashi to inform me that they were seaweed farming, the type that makes the wrap on sushi. He also went on a rant about the poor tasting quality of fish in England and gave some last minute knowledge of Japan.
Clearing customs was easier than I expected, fairly quick and minimal hastle. So onto the challenge of getting train it was.
Lack of WiFi gets me angry
After a short walk through the station I decided to take the ‘I’ve just landed in Japan’ selfie to send to my friend, only to find that the JR WiFi is terrible!! I found one spot where it worked for maybe 5 seconds at a time before dropping out again. Any normal person would have just shrugged it off, but it got me very stressed, all I wanted to do was send a message to my friend, and poor WiFi quality meant I couldn’t, this was not what I needed after 12 hours on a plane! 35 minutes later I got enough signal to get my message out, so I could then turn my attention to getting a train.
There were a lot rail counters and lots of ques, so in the end I opted to try a self service machine, thankfully there was an English option! So getting the ticket was simple enough. I established that I need to change in Osaka, then Kyoto. Though maybe I could have got an express train to Kyoto, no idea. I had no idea which platform I needed, an attendant pointed me to a platform with a train on that said ‘no service’, I assumed that was just summing up the WiFi. Eventually that train left and the Osaka bound one arrived.
I ended up falling asleep on the train, which was needed as I hadn’t on the plane!
Upon arrival in Osaka I worked out which train I needed to Otsu via Kyoto. It was also here that I discovered you can match the symbol on the train departure board with a marking of the same on the floor which is where you had to que. A short train journey later and I was in Otsu!
I had been emailed simple and clear directions of where to go from the station, but I screwed that up by leaving the station at the wrong exit! I also discovered ticket barriers hurt!! There was a barrier with the gates open, in the UK they sometimes leave them like that and it means you can just walk through. But in Japan it turns out if you do that the gate slams shut straight into you! So always put the ticket in even if the gates open!!
After exiting and establishing I was on the wrong side of the tracks I had to work out how to get back across. I couldn’t go back through the station as I had no longer had a ticket, 15 minutes later I found the subway across, and shortly after found the 7/11 that was my first map point. Going through Otsu was quite strange, as it is really quiet and peaceful. About halfway there a guy approached me asking if I was Matt. Turns out this was Oliver, the other person currently doing the same thing I am. He was on his way out, but pointed me to where I had to go, and let me know a key had been left so I could get in.