Apr 04: Complication

I apologize for the somewhat anemic previous post. Our travels have been complicated somewhat by Tracie having fallen ill. She has a cold of some sort which we were hoping was just allergies, but no such luck. She’s going to rest in bed today while I make a solo exploration of Takayama.

Here are a few more photos from the train trip. These are the sorts of signs that one is confronted with when trying to make a connection in a train station in Nagoya:

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You’ll notice that there are bits of English on them. They do in fact eventually display the names of the trains and the destinations in English, but you have to wait for awhile for them to change, and they change back to Japanese quite quickly. It all works in the end but it’s a little nerve-wracking when you’re trying to figure out where you’re supposed to go to meet a particular car of a particular train on a particular track headed to a particular location, and you’re laden with baggage and you’re trying to be helpful to your traveling companion who is a little unsure of foot on her best days and now happens to be struggling with a cold on top of it. But obviously we made it.

On the second leg of the trip we were seated in the first row of seats, right behind the train… um… What do you call the part of the train that has the controls and stuff? I doubt it’s called the cockpit. In any case, we were right behind it. It was quite interesting to watch them; for instance, we noticed that they bowed to the tracks before starting the train. They also had a formal-looking series of gestures for acknowledging the signals on the tracks. (Yes, I think I captured an example of this on video tape; I wish I could post it here.) Here are a couple of photos looking forward. Check out the white gloves.

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This fellow was waiting to take pictures of the train as it left the platform. I think he noticed I was watching him and became somewhat self-conscious:

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(Yes, that’s rain you see on the windows in some shots.) Finally, here are some more photos of random stuff along the way.

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That’s a cemetery. Tamae-san mentioned that the Japanese cremate everyone as a matter of course (um, after they’re dead, that is) and that families share a single tombstone.


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Okay, I’m going to close for now and head out to see the farmer’s market in Takayama.

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