Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Driving to Yokohama is not fun.

Gracious forgiveness is begged for the lateness of this blog post! I’m so sorry it’s been so long. It’s been three weeks since I arrived back in Ichinoseki and since then it’s been back to school and lesson planning and correcting like crazy.  Also, I lost the SD card with the photos from Tokyo and Yokohama on it and I didn’t want to post without them.
However, memory card found! Where? Ummm.... oh.... under some papers on my desk. Whoops! So here is the rest of the story of my August sojourn  - Part One.
If you recall I was in Hakuba. I left on the morning of the 10th of August to drive, via Fuji-Yoshida, to Yokohama. Well, that was a task and a half of full cream dairy milk let me tell you! The first part, however, wasn’t too bad. Lots of tunnels as I headed eastward and downward where the air wasn’t so cool. The traffic was okay though, so that was good.
Fuji-Yoshida is in the shadows of Mount Fuji, the closest I have got to this mythical mountain. However, again clouds and mist prevented a great view, although I did get the best pictures of it thus far. After that the traffic slowed right down for an hour or so. I drive past a lake and many holidayers. It was the season.
Finally it sped up again and I was moving along one of the better routes that isn’t an expressway in Japan. Double-laned at times, I felt confident of getting to Yokohama by 6pm. Then, as I approached and was within 50km or less, things got slow again. I decided to hop onto the expressway, not too far too go shouldn’t make a huge dint in my pocket, and would move me very quickly to my destination.
Wrong. After five kilometres I suddenly was in non-moving traffic. Just sitting there. Every five minutes we moved 50 metres. Surely not! What’s the point of paying to go on an expressway if it’s just as slow, if not slower than the normal road. I was on for forty-five minutes before I got to the next exit. Off I hopped and back to the normal roads. Sure, I would get lost and not move fast but at least I wouldn’t be paying for the privilege.
Lost I got. But I wasn’t far from my destination when I got lost. I had to guess at points, got on to route one to find it was just as bad as the expressway. Got off and just tried to head in the right general direction. When I got near to the end, my google map became pretty pointless and I didn’t know what road I was on, their aren’t a lot of street names in the Yokohama suburbs such as Sugita. I had to meet my in-laws at the Shin Sugita station.
I went too far along one road and turned back. Maybe this way? That way? The map was useless and I was lost, stressed and over it. I had been driving for ten hours by this point. I tried to sense my way to the right place. I followed signs to suburbs marked on the map in the right direction. Somehow I made it. I found places I recognised and I was there. Driving in Japan can clearly be a nightmare. I have learnt my lesson. I won’t do that again.

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