We left Mt. Fuji to take the Shinkansen – the world’s fastest train to get us to Nagoya. We took a bus for 45 minutes to get to the Shinkansen then one train for an hour before getting on the shinkansen for another hour. It was exciting seeing and being on the shinkansen, but there was an overwhelming feeling of hunger, exhaustion and crankiness in the group given we had been rushing everywhere since 4:30am – with our giant backpacks. We got to Nagoya and even by night, it was clear that this was a very pretty, cosmopolitan city. We left our backpacks in the train station lockers and walked around for about 20 minutes to find a restaurant that had enough space for us. We got into a cute little place and I was ready to devour whatever was on the menu. My face fell when I realized it was a koroga joint – “all this hunger and you want me to cook my own food? This is how I will end up with tapeworms, cause I can’t even be bothered to make sure the meat cooks well. I tried to not be whiny, but that level of hunger turns me into a gremlin. After quite a few batches of koroga, I felt as if there was still a hole in my stomach. I was really tempted to look for a mcdonalds or burger king after dinner, but the need for sleep eventually overpowered the need for food.
That night we were to sleep in a giant public bath (onsen) that Natsuno had described as a theme park of public baths. She was not joking. Given the intensity of the day’s activities, some in our group decided to check into a hotel for the night. I was very tempted, but in retrospect I’m happy I stayed on for the night’s adventures. We arrived and this onsen looked like a hotel except with everyone dressed in matching pink or blue pyjamas. We got to the reception and were each given our essentials – pink pyjamas for girls, blue for guys, towels, soap etc. We explored a bit and this place was some sort of lucid dream. There were game rooms. Restaurants. Cybercafes. Cinema halls. Huge public sleeping rooms. Some more private sleeping rooms – still for large groups. Some sleeper beds with TVs. Spas. Aromatherapy rooms. It was like a mall except this was 1am and everyone was in the same matching pyjamas. There were young people, old people, toddlers, teenagers. We finally went to the baths, but first passed by the giant locker rooms. This was hi-tech. We of course started off in the public showers where people soap themselves sitting on buckets then rinse off before going into the baths. We got into the huge area – the size of half a football pitch with a huge number of different giant baths. There was a greenish bath. A reddish bath. A bluish bath. The main differentiator was the essential oils in each of them. They smelled lovely. This time, the water was just the right temperature as opposed to the bath in Tokyo that tried to boil us alive. I heard that there was even an outdoor tub overlooking the lovely city, but did not wake up early enough the next day to explore it. We went to sleep in one of the giant rooms with the reclining chairs around 2am. Our room had around 30 or so people. There were so many people snoring that night. Eventually sleep got the better of us. We were up at 8am for another busy, but fun day.