Day 26 – Taipei to Tokyo to Aomori

Alright, resuming the journaling of the Asia trip on January 31st, 2012.

I got up from the hostel and got on the bus to the airport. I was a little concerned when the bus didn’t go to the terminal first, but it was just making a few stops before the airport and I was just being paranoid. Got to the airport and I made my way through check in and security without any problems. I stopped at the Duty Free shop to pick up a bottle of Kaoling liquor for Sean, the guy I was going to stay with in Hokkaido, because he said that he wanted some.

After a short flight I got to Tokyo. Went through customs and then to the travel desk. I figured out what trains I needed to take, and information about the rail pass system. I was off on the next super train north with an East Rail Pass good for a month and to use on three days. On the way up the East coast of Japan I sat next to a guy who was wearing very traditional Japanese clothing and wooden sandals (known as geta). He didn’t speak any English and I didn’t really speak any Japanese besides a few words I knew, but somehow we conversed what we could. He showed me his pictures of the leaning tower of Pisa, so I assume he had just been there and was returning home. For some reason, he gave me his photos. This was just the first of many similar strange gifts that people gave me throughout my Japan trip. I think I gave him one of my weird flashlight gifts. He got off around the Sendai, which later was the location of that big tsunami. I hope he was alright.

So I finally got to Aomori at the very top of Honshu. But it was so late when the train arrived that the next train to Hokkaido was the following day. The visitor center was closed, so I couldn’t find a cheap place to stay, so I just put my bags in a locker at the station and started walking.

I walked and walked and walked. It was getting late and I figured the park was as good a place to sleep as any. Japan is a really safe country, and I had no fear of getting mugged or things being stolen. And although it was a brisk September evening, it wasn’t too cold. So at first I slept on this stone slab in a park. It wasn’t comfortable so after a while I got up and walked around the town some more. Luckily there was some 24 hour shop so I got a snack or two. I returned to a wooden bench near the sea. I maybe slept for about an hour. Woke up and walked around a little bit more, then moved to another place. Slept on that bench for another few hours.

This was the first time in my life that I had ever slept on a bench homeless style, but I figured considering the circumstances it was alright. I hear that business men often sleep on benches after missing the last train, so it wasn’t altogether uncommon.

Sadly I am missing all my photos between the last few days of Taiwan and when I ended up in Tokyo a few weeks after this, so I can’t really prove where I slept. I probably could find it on google maps. It’s just north-east of the train station.

So the next morning I woke up to an interesting surprise, which I will explain on the next trip log.

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