Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Train

The Limited Express Twilight Express

Fine. I am in Kyoto. Today begins my second full day. It has been raining almost constantly, which has put a damper on my style. Rain is for other people, not for me, especially when I am mostly a pedestrian. It is a bummer since Kyoto is supposed to be one of Japan's most picturesque cities and also because it is where I have to start using the tuba. The travel tuba is a miniature by tuba standards, but it is still large and cumbersome if you are using public transportation, more so if you have to travel in heavy rain. Furthermore, no municipal bus accommodates baggage larger than a flute case well, Japanese buses would make a flute player wish she had specialized on piccolo. Then there is the hill that needs to be climbed to get to the house after the end of the bus line. Not pretty. I have and will spend a lot on taxi fares here. But more on all of that later. I still have the train trip to deal with.

The Limited Express Twilight Express is the closest I'll probably ever get to the Orient Express. I am glad I took it and no murders happened that I know of. Apparently they don't get a lot of English-speaking passengers because not one word of the several announcements were in that language. Fine, I had my basic information: get on in Sapporo, get off in Kyoto.

Though there were beautiful sights, there are not a lot of through-the-window shots because the glass was thick, it was raining a good bit of the time and much of the journey was at night. The undersea tunnel was not bad. It lasted for only 36 minutes. I was expecting much worse. 

Before you go through the photos, you might want to take a break and watch this: If you like it, type "G-Sale" into the search box for Episode 2; I think that is all that is up there. 

The engine. I was unprepared for such a classic machine. It was moving too fast, even in the station, for me to get any better shots than this.

These are the shared berths, four to a person.

My berth, a private B-Class. The seats convert to a bed or you can use the bunk above. 

My berth: Car No. 6, B-13.

The corridor of Car 6.

The travel tuba on its bunk.

Leaving Sapporo.

I brought a couple of sandwiches on board for lunch (you saw them in one of the photos). I bought the dinner offered on the train. It was brought to the room, packed as though "to go." Four courses. Very tasty. I took no shots. Believe it or not, on a trip like this you can get tired of taking photos. I was at that point. I also had the breakfast. For that I had to go to the dinning car. I had a choice of times starting at 6:30. I took the 8:20 slot.

A surreptitious shot of my fellow diners.

Misty mountains at speed.

I have to ask someone about all the ferris wheels.

Got milk.

End of the line (for me, it goes on to Osaka).

Some of my fellow passengers. 

Kyoto station.

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