Saturday, September 8, 2007

It Was A Long Long Journey Home

AUGUST 21, 2007
I fall victim to the earthquake which happened more than a month ago in Kashiwazaki, Niigata in the end of my journey back to Nagaoka. More on that later on.

Journey

On the last day of my trip (I'm actually just halfway of my summer trip), I will be starting a long long journey back to my place - from Okayama until Nagaoka. 14 hours was the total journey. That must easily the longest period of time I have traveled in a single day so far.
Seishun 18
As you can see from the white paper on the right, I am scheduled to reach Nagaoka at 22:46. But did it end like that? Just read on.
We got up earlier than usual. Kok Hong will be taking an earlier train as well instead of spending time doing nothing in the station. When we first time met, he was the first to arrived while this time, I was the first to leave.
Usual stuff like bai bai but no hug hug la. We will be going on separate ways after this but I am sure this will not be the end. How about Mount Fuji as the next one? Anyway, I got to say that Kok Hong has planned everything so well. All this while I thought I am not bad when it comes to planning stuff for traveling, but when I see how he did it, I was seriously amazed.
Thanks for such an interesting trip. More to come after this, okay?
Back to my journey home, as it will be all but train rides with some exchanges along the way, I went and grab something to eat at one of the stop. No ramen or okonomiyaki for me this time. Instead, it was just pieces of doughnuts from Mister Doughnut plus a bottle of drink from the vendor machine.
Doughnut
It was going fine until I reach the second train exchange at Himeji. I could not find the right platform to board the next train as the destination was not written clearly.
That is the time when I thought I have messed up everything and ended up in Osaka Eki which should not be one of my stops.
Osaka Eki
I ended up changing trains for 8 times (instead of 6) in 14 hours. I could hardly sleep along the way as there is always the possibility of me missing the train exchange. Even when I thought I have took the wrong train in the middle part of the journey, I was already cuak almost to the maximum.
But that was just the warming up session. I sat the train, throughout the morning and afternoon;
A.M.
Until it got dark.
P.M.
By the time night approached, there were almost no people left in the train. I was the only one in the whole coach.
Loneliness
Instead of just listening to my antique MP3, I tried finding stuff to do. As usual, listening to emo songs and try to emo along the way is not bad.
DSC05766
But you can't do that all the way, can you? So, I change my position a little.
DSC05765
Looking down at the floor will NEVER be the best option. Do not even think of trying to do that as it will NEVER work.

Then, I found a pile of newspaper on one of the seat while I was walking up and down between the coaches. So I took it and TRIED to read it, acting as if I understand what the content is all about. But I understand a bit also la of course. For example, when I see a few sets of numbers, I knew that must be the TOTO results.
DSC05759
In the end, I ended up folding paper airplane using the newspaper.
DSC05769
But it made an emergency landing but no casualties reported. The last option I took of course is sleep.

DSC05763

It went quite well, and I just couldn't wait to get back to my place, get a warn shower and have a good sleep before my trip to Mito the next morning.

Until, disaster struck. My worst nightmare. An announcement was made, saying that the train will not have a direct train until Nagaoka.

To be honest, I did not get it until I tried asking the people at the eki during the train exchange a few stations before the last stop at 柿崎 (Kakizaki). In the earlier schedule given to me earlier that day at Okayama, this thing wasn't told to me at all. The guy tried calling to some HQ and he later told me that they had made a mistake in the paper I got. What the frog?!!

For the rest of the journey until Kakizaki, I was wondering what should I do. I won't be so worried if I didn't have to be at Nagaoka Eki the next morning as the bullet train to Mito will be at 8 plus. In fact, my trip at Okayama was cut short by one day, because I saw the date of the Mito trip wrongly. I thought it was 24th, instead of 22nd, until one of my friend informed me.

It was all because of the earthquake that occured less than two months ago in this area. Here is to give you a better idea about what I am trying to explain.

Route

The train will stop at Kakizaki as the track - Kakizaki-Kashiwazaki (in red) had some damages and are undergoing some repair. We are required to take a bus from Kakizaki to 柏崎 (Kashiwazaki) which is in blue. By the time I took the bus, it was already the last bus of the day.

I reached Kashiwazaki safely. But here is the problem. It was already almost midnight, and there wasn't any train left to Nagaoka. The last train of the day left an hour ago. The only choices I have is take a taxi all the way to Nagaoka; or to spend a night at Kashiwazaki and take the earliest train to Nagaoka the next morning.

The first choice is certainly a no-no as I don't even dare to imagine the fare it will charge me. It was about a 40 kilometers journey. Even when you hop into a taxi here in Japan, it cost you about 650yen (RM 22). So, I settled for the second choice.

When I got down from the bus, I realized that Kashiwazaki is just another small town.

One Way

It was closed to midnight by that time and all the shops have already closed. That time, I had to inform my friend that I will not be going back to my place and will straight wait them at Nagaoka Eki the next morning. But I was left with my handphone without any battery left.

I straight went to the eki's counter and asked them for the nearest 7 Eleven outlet. After getting a map and some simple directions from that guy, I slowly walked there, while asking some taxi drivers and some shops people along the way, who were kind enough to tell me how to get there. It was not as far as they told me initially. It took me just around 20 minutes although my legs were already blistering and aching after nearly a 2-week trip.

(skip this part if you want as it contains some of my desperate acts)

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Along the way, I tried using the electric source from the vendor machine. What I did was taking out the plug of the vendor machine, and tried plugging my battery charger. But luck was not on my side. There was some plastic covering each sockets which was too narrow for my battery charger. So, I decided to try charging at 7 Eleven in the end.

I got some stuff to eat and also for the next day's breakfast like some bread and a packet of milk there. Later, when paying at the cashier, I asked the girl politely while trying to make me look as a pitiful boy as ever and she agreed to let me charge my handphone's battery. At least this time, I was not told that simply charging electricity at anywhere is a robbery, like what I came across in Tokyo earlier.

Of course, I did the important stuffs first while I was charging it. First, informing that I will not be reaching Nagaoka by that night. Later, I continued charging it as I wanted it to be as full as it can be to be used until the next day's evening, at least. During that time, I took the opportunity to tell the 'good' news I had to Kok Hong (he faced the same thing when he was on his way from Miyazaki to Hiroshima) and also sms-ed Jonathan to kill some time.

I stayed there for almost 1 hour. During that period, that girl asked me if I have finished informing my friend. But I just started charging my battery. So, I told her I faced some difficulties reaching my friend, although by that time I have done with the important stuffs. You see, when you are desperate, it is nothing wrong to tell lies.

During that time, I also acted made myself like a lost tourist, while taking some pamphlets to look for hotels. Then a guy told me not to take too much time and I got the cue. By that time, I was sure my phone will last me until the next day already. So, I thanked them, left 7 Eleven and walked back to the eki.

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By the time I was back to the eki, it was already 1 in the morning. The eki was closed already. So, I picked a spot.

The Spot

My earliest train later that day (it was already morning) was 5 something. I cannot miss that train or I will not be able to catch them at Nagaoka later on. If I sleep, I might not wake up on time. So, I walked around, and with some memory left in my digi-cam, I was finding for anything worth to be taken. Fake bottle of drinks at the vendor machine, for example.

Refresh

Then, there was a truck who came and I was wondering what it was doing in the middle of the night. Only I later realized that it was the newspaper man.

Newspaper

I was really tired by that time already as I have been traveling since the last 16 hours. Eventually, I dozed off.

Sweet Dreams

I guess it was the breeze wind that made me gone to sleep so easily. Lucky me, as I woke up almost 2 hours later. I did not know what make me woke up. I later walked all the way to the seaside, hoping to catch the sunrise before I take the train at 5 something.

Along the way, I noticed that the damages from the earthquake was still clearly visible, even more than 1 month after the quake.

Damage

In fact, Kashiwazaki was the most serious hit town during that quake. But the sky was cloudy and I could not catch the sunrise on time. In the end, I walked all the way back to the eki. It should take me around 30 minutes, but as I was worried about the possibility of missing the train, I reached the eki in less than 15 minutes. So you can guess how fast I was walking that time.

When I reached the eki, there was not anyone there yet, not even the person at the counter. So, without buying a ticket, I just got through it. The ticket from Kashiwazaki to Nagaoka for a 40-minute ride should cost me 650yen (RM22).

Before you throw me any bad comments, let me tell you this. I was not cheating. I just acted fairly to JR (Japan Railway). You see, I was using Seishun 18 for the long rides during my trip. According to the schedule given to me the previous day, I should reach Nagaoka night before. Meaning I will only be using up one of the 5-day on the ticket. But they did not tell me anything about the track repair in the middle of my journey, which made me having to stay a night at Kashiwazaki Eki and forking out another 650yen (or another one if my 5-day Seishun 18). We do not usually use Seishun 18 for short journeys which are usually under 1,000yen.

If I know about the track repair, I would have re-plan my schedule. So, I took the illegal way, without buying the ticket. Afterall, when I reach Nagaoka, I did not have to exit the eki as I will be joining them from there to Mito. I guess luck was on my side as well. There was not any attendant at the counter which enable me just to walk pass the ticketing machine.

This is the eki which I will never want to be made remembered again. Kashiwazaki.

Kashiwazaki

To wrap up this trip, I here present you the souvenir I got from Kok Hong. Since my mum and young sisters and my young cousins read my blog as well, I can't go all out and show the uncensored pictures.

Guy's Toy

This is no way a pornographic site. If you really want to see the unsencored version, click here. Don't say I never warn you first.

Enjoy ^.-

12 comments:

ns29 said...

Just have to say,this journey wasnt just journey...feel like adventure.
travelling around by own really amazing..the only in densha,the only in eki...
Huh Calvin..u really sugoi.

michelleg said...

my gawd!!! din know u are capable of those illegal acts. tsk tsk. haha.

it was kinda interesting tho. =)

kokhong said...

you're welcome

Calvin said...

@ ns29:
yeah, it was tiring, but in the end, it turned out to be a nice experience :)

Calvin said...

@ michelleg:
those acts were not illegal. but when you are in a desperate situation, you will know to find alternatives.

Calvin said...

@ kok hong:
sama sama ^.^

reena said...

guys toy lol =.=
eh wat young cousin? Im not that young la. but thanks for the compliment hahaha.
its so damn obvious wat it is can.
stop shagging japanese girls la ROFL.

Calvin said...

@ reena:
okay la. let me make a correction here. it should be innocent cousin, instead of young. now it sounds better, right?

and by the way, you don't can can can with me now, can?

KOKahKOK said...

shagging wif japanese gal? woo....when this item was in sencored version...i cant guess what is that untill i click on another link to flickr! walau.....you use it often? haha...how much? haha

calvin said...

@ kokahkok:
i thought i have mentioned in the post that it was a souvenir from my friend before we parted.

are you sure you couldn't guess what was it? maybe the ones you have been using are far more high-tech than this one. anyway, i will not be mentioning here how often i use it =P

KOKahKOK said...

haha no need to mention haha....we can have "side" chat for this! anyway, fun to see it. i will be suporting you old post whenever i feel boring...working now hehe...

calvin said...

@ kokahkok:
i thought the purpose of that thing is more than just seeing it. we use it, don't we? anyway, make sure you don't let your boss caught you going through my posts as some are categorised under NSFW materials =P