Japan Day 14
When I woke up in the morning, I realized that we only had one week left in Japan. I was both sad and excited. The night before, we had all decided to split up for the day, since we all wanted to do different things. Patrick wanted to go to an amusement park that was themed after the anime One Piece, Tim was going to head back to Tokyo and start exploring Akihabara, and I was headed for Nagano. Since I was the first one up and ready, I told the guys so long and then headed back to Kyoto station. Once there, I had breakfast donuts at Mister Donut and a coffee from Starbucks. Before eating though, I took the time to explore Kyoto station. It was amazing! A giant staircase leads to the top of the station with a fantastic view of the city. Unfortunately, they had glass window panes to look out from, so any attempts of mine at taking photos was ruined by reflections.
As I descended the staircase to grab something to eat, I bumped into Tim. I guess once he was ready to go he took off as well. As our backpacks were really starting to get heavy, and we knew we'd be buying more stuff once back in Tokyo, we decided to get some suitcases. Actually, we had planned on buying some before, but our attempts at finding one in the Kyoto downtown proved fruitless. Everything was way too expensive. Fortunately, there was a place right in the station that was having a sale of 20% off of their luggage. Once we had our suitcases, we said farewell again. Turns out we were on the same train, just in different cars, though. While Tim continued all the way back to Tokyo, I got off at Nagoya and transferred to an older train. From there, it was almost three hours to Nagano.
Shortly after leaving Nagoya, the train started moving through more rural parts of Japan. Before long, beautiful mountains began to spring up. It was amazing. It reminded me of the kinds of worlds that Hayao Miyazaki created in films like My Neighbor Totoro or Kiki's Delivery Service. Since we were going to the Ghibli museum in a couple of days, I was pretty excited. About half way through the train ride to Nagano, I began to see mountains with snow covered peaks. Though it was nice and warm in the train, I began to think that it looked rather cold outside. Once I finally arrived in Nagano, I was a bit surprised at how warm it was. Typical spring time weather. However, there was a bit of a chilly wind blowing, so I wore my jacket.
I got checked into my hotel (Holiday Inn), and then set out to get some pictures and explore. My main reason for visiting Nagano was to see the building where Gust Corporation operates from. They've created some of my favorite games of all time and I'm kind of a huge geek, so I wanted to see where they work. For the first half of the train ride I kept thinking to myself, "Why would Gust be based all the way out in Nagano when most of the major game companies are in Tokyo?" At first I thought that it probably had to do with the cost of workspace (and that probably has something to do with it), but after seeing the beautiful country side that surrounds Nagano, I began to think that it was for the inspiration. The games they create often take place in beautiful worlds, so I think that perhaps the beauty of Nagano helps to inspire. This is just me theorizing, though, so I could be totally wrong.
After snapping some photos, wandering around the city, and doing some shopping, I headed back to my hotel and got some sleep. It was really nice to sleep in a real bed after sleeping on futons for so long. Less than a week of my journey is left. I have a feeling that it's going to be the best week ever.