Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Japan! Day 5, Part 2 : Arriving in Ichinohe

It took about 3 hours from Tokyo Station to Ninohe via 'shinkansen', or bullet train. When Steve and I lived in Japan in '95, the bullet train only went as far as Morioka, the capital of Iwate prefecture. Now it travels up to the town Ninohe, a few miles north of Ichinohe, where we lived and worked after college. We took a taxi from Ninohe Station to Ninohe Park Hotel. The Japanese style room had four futon beds lined up on the tatami floor. Soon after our arrival, Miyuki, her daughters Manami and Hitomi, and Hitomi's daughter Hana came to greet us in the lobby. We made plans to meet up the following day.

We still had the rest of the evening, so we decided to take a walk to the train station and catch a ride to Ichinohe. On the way we stopped by Aixs video store, the layout was the same as it was 18 years ago, now DVDs have replaced the VHS tapes. In Ichinohe, we saw J. Heights, the apartment complex I lived in. We also walked by Steve's house, parts now covered with tarp. The streets were quiet and such a contrast to the busy city life in Tokyo. We kept walking and spotted Jois Shopping Plaza, a new center away from the train station. We found a Japanese cafe within the plaza and enjoyed ramen noodles, fried rice, and curry. We were especially pleased with the placemat presentation of my dinner, how did they know I was such a foodie?

As we returned to the hotel, little did we know we would be in for such adventure in this rural part of Japan in the days ahead.


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