Japan 2023: Day 17

Not many pictures today. Slept OK, I’d probably give it a B-. In any case, I got up, ate some breakfast at Tully’s again, and realized I was very early for my train ticket that I bought yesterday.

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I went to try adjusting it to an hour earlier and they pointed at this sign:

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I did not read it but they said the Marine Liner is stopped. That’s the one that goes across the Seto Ohashi to Okayama, and it’s stopped due to heavy winds. I think it also says the Uzushio from Tokushima to Matsuyama is stopped as well. I asked if they had any other trains and they said not at the moment. I asked if my fare went poof and they said no, they’d refund the whole thing. That was about 9AM. OK, so time to figure out what else to do.

I went to the bus terminal and asked about buses to Okayama and they sent me to the local bus terminal. I guess there’s two buses each day, one around 8AM and one around 5PM. No other options. So back to the highway bus terminal with me to find another way off of Shikoku. I found two companies side-by-side. The first one told me the 10AM bus was full and the next one was 11AM. I saw there was a 10:30AM on the other side and they were nice and told me to try that first. Open seats were available but only sitting in the middle (a weird seat that blocks the aisle). Nope, back to the first counter and now I have a couple of hours to kill.

There are some good parts to taking a bus. I wondered what going across the bridges to Awaji Island were like and almost drove across the southern bridge yesterday. It’s better to ride the bus since it let me look out to see if there were any whirlpools (there were not). And the northern bridge was just a bridge. Nothing really special.

Since I didn’t trust my online sources (one said the Shinkansen was delayed as well), I stood in line at the Shin-Kobe ticket to ask at the ticket counter. And I figured I could buy my Okayama to Tokyo ticket at the same time. Met a guy in line who owns a packaging company up in Seattle and he was a hoot to talk to. He’s married to a Japanese woman from Kobe. Then I got my short ticket to Okayama (30 minutes) and my long ticket from Okayama to Tokyo (more like 4 hours). I also bought an ekiben because I was hungry. I hoped I’d have space to eat it and the train wouldn’t be packed.

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It was pretty good. Probably not “kobe beef” good but meh. I’ve been suckered by tourist stuff this whole trip. I didn’t need to worry, I got an aisle seat and the window seat was not taken.

I got to Okayama just after 2pm, about two hours late. It was freezing. I checked in since this hotel starts checkin at 2pm and sat in the room for a bit. I did walk around the neighborhood and took my expensive Momotaro jeans in for repair again, just like last year. And the Mister Donut is back! Not sure why they closed but it seems to be in the same spot. I bought a silly donut and it wasn’t great (wasn’t expecting it to be) but it also wasn’t awful.

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And the I wandered around the station underground and the coin flip app told me to get the same ramen I had last year.

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The broth I tried this year has a flying fish base, I think, and it was a little on the light side. I like it a bit more salty. The fatty pork char siu was great and I even got a rice bowl with seasoned char siu on the side. Next time I’m probably back to the one soy sauce flavored broth that is flavored with fish, pork, and chicken.

And that’s about it. I’m meeting our friend Yumi tomorrow and we’re going to hit some onsen. I’m having dinner with her brother and his family too. Should be fun!

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