Saturday, July 15, 2017

Wednesday, May 3 -Travel to Fuji Shiba-sakura Festival

Indeed, we were fat, dumb, and happy the night before.  We got up very early to travel to the Fuji Shiba-sakura Festival, at the foot of Mount Fuji.  We took the JR Line. From what Mary read, on the internet, it should take two hours by train, then 30 minutes by bus from the Fujiyama Train Station.  Well, we got so far by train, then had to change trains, to the “local line”, which did about 20 miles per hour and stopped every mile at local stops.  On the train, two little girls played a hand game, while singing to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy. 
View from the train, as we
trundled slowly onward.
We finally got to the end of the line and out of the train station, only to discover a line for the bus that went half-way around the square parking lot.  I stood in line, while Mary went and bought the bus tickets, which included round trip fare, entrance fee, and a Mt. Fuji post card.
     It took a long time to board the bus, because the bus people would not depart the bus until the ‘standing room only’ (in the aisle) portion was filled.  We are so glad we did not do the ‘standing room only’, as it took us hours to get there.  We got one with seats next to each other.  This bus had small flip down seats, so people could ‘sit’ in the aisle.  We got out into traffic and through town, then onto the main road where it was stop-and-go bumper-to-bumper traffic.  We started our trip at 7:00 a.m., and did not arrive, at the festival, until after 2:00 p.m.  What? Over seven hours?  I guess, we get to get off the bus, snap a photo and get right back on, if we want to make it home today! 

 It was lovely.  We walked around and enjoyed the view, but there was hardly anywhere to just sit down and relax.  We took a couple selfies with Mt. Fuji behind us. 
We walked over to where some flags were and discovered food vendors.  There was a walkway that lots of people were going on, so we decided to see what that was about.  It turned out to be parking area one, and all those folks were leaving.  So, we walked back and Mary got in line for a crepe, ice cream, chocolate, banana thing.  I bought a bottle of water.  I was beginning to not feel very well. 

We walked around a different way and took photos of the flowers and mountain.  We were getting ready to leave when Mary mentioned we had not found the Post Office.  We found the P.O., so we wrote our post card to Pete, and we got it posted direct from the festival.  I wrote that it took us four hours to get here, but at that time I had no idea it had taken us seven and a half hours.  

I had a biffy break then got in line for the bus, again.  At some point, Mary found out it was holiday, thus so many people and traffic.  We got actual seats, but it was near the rear of the bus.  I was getting car sick, so I opened the window for fresh air and tried not to look out the window. 
Our bus route to and from the festival took us passed a big
lake.  I took a photo out the window of some fisherman at the lake.
We made good time on the way back; it took 50 minutes.  At the Fujiyama train station, we got back on the slow local train.  I was feeling so crappy, but I took a photo of 'Travlin' Mary'. 

When we got to switch back to a faster train, we freshened up in the restroom at the station, first.  The train that pulled in was a nice train, with two-story cars!  We got into a single floor car, and we found two comfy seats. It was all so very nice until a uniformed gentleman asked us for our tickets.  He said this car was reserved seating only and we would have to move up.  This was car 5, so we moved to car 4 and were comfy there, until the man came and said car 4 was reserved seating.  Mary said, “Which cars are not reserved seats?” He said, “Cars 3, 2, and 1.”   Well, we went into car 3, and it was packed with people standing in the aisles.  We squished through and made it to car 2, which was the same scenario.  Then we decided to stand in the lower stairwell of car 1.  Then there was a stop, and a man got off, and I got his seat. At the next stop, some people got off and Mary got a seat, across the aisle.  This train was really booking and expressed right through 8 or 9 in-town stops.  Thank goodness!  We disembarked at Shinjuku, and took the subway the rest of the way. We found ourselves at Electric Town, which is very near our hotel.  We went to our room and freshened up, then went to Gaburico, where the waitress swiftly lead us through a maze of tables and turns, then we were instructed to remove our shoes.  We were seated in a closed-off booth (in the floor) next to a rowdy bunch of folks.  They served my chicken, with cheese on top, on a bed of French fries, and it was perfectly delicious. The tea was luke-warm but tasted good.  It was noisy, but we still relaxed and had a good time.  We returned to the hotel exhausted after a very long day.

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