Debbie and I started this trip at the beginning of September, just the 2 of us. Last week L & R joined us. When we picked up the car we found a tour guide came with it. So we are now 5. She did not introduce herself so we named her Clarice. It is a bit crowded. C is reasonably competent but she is annoying. Similar to the lady in Safeway’s self check out tills. Every word she speaks is a command and there is no opportunity to question or ask for clarification. “Turn left in 700M, pause, turn left in 300M, pause, turn left at the intersection with traffic lights, short pause, turn left”. On it goes until the last thing she says for the day is “you have reached your destination”.
I generally do not like to travel on freeways. We travel too fast and the walls on the side of the road block the vision of the countryside. Therefore today we get off the toll roads and travel the secondary highways to our accommodation in Tokushima. The trip is along the ocean side, through towns and past some agricultural land. A much better picture of Japan than the ubiquitous asphalt road lined with a metal fence.
The vision is one of SE Asia. Although it is much more modern and in very good repair. The ocean is calm because we are on an island protected from the open ocean by other islands. The towns are quiet and orderly. The agricultural land is green (or golden in the case of rice) and organized in neat rows.
We arrive at our Air B&B house to find it a very small, older Japanese house. Two floors, a living area, kitchen, dining area, living space, two bedrooms and one bath (in North American terms). It has a Japanese dining table and a western sit down dining table. The part we are surprised at is there is food in the fridge and food prep supplies in the cupboard. The place was a bit expensive but if you calculate the included meal stuffs it is quite a good deal.
The house is the source of my second Japanese toilet installment. This can has the usual heater, rear washer, and a localized exhaust fan, almost boring by now. The cool thing is that the lid (not the seat) lifts as you open the WC door and closes once the toilet is flushed and the door shut. Spooky the first time you enter.
We constantly heard from others how expensive Japan is. I therefore budgeted for meals at a slightly inflated amount to cover off lunch and dinner, 12oo Yen each for lunch and 2500 Yen each for dinner. After 6 days here we have only exceeded our budget twice. Once when we took someone out for dinner and the other time when we were in a Japanese Restaurant and our basic Japanese was not adequate enough to know what we were ordering or what it cost and the bill came to slightly more that 10,600 Yen for the four of us. The rest of the time we spend less then 1/2 what we expected.
We have one day in the Tokushima area and then the next few days we will be about as far from civilization as one can get in Japan. Should be interesting.