Oh, I was NOT ready to leave Tokyo or the Conrad Hilton this morning! I didn’t even get to enjoy the spa!
Nevertheless, I packed up, had a wonderful breakfast overlooking the city and the bay, waved goodbye to my room and headed out.
Next stop was the Shinagawa Station where we boarded the Bullet Train to Hiroshima. I love traveling by train because I get to see more of the country. I tried to take in as much as I could as it was whizzing past me at 200 miles per hour! I would have taken pictures but I think it all would have been a blur. LOL.
Japan is beautiful. It is mountainous and very green. All the houses are built close together (like the suburb areas outside of Chicago) and the cities are densely populated. Since very few flat areas exist, the hills and mountainsides are cultivated all the way to the top. They utilize vertical space as much as possible in the form of tall buildings and multi-level housing.
The people of Japan are absolutely precious. They are so polite and courteous and customer service is very important to them. For example . . . on the train, attendants come through every once-in-awhile with a service cart offering snacks and beverages (similar to the airlines). When the attendant comes to the end of a rail car, she pushes the cart through the door, turns to face the passengers, bows deeply and thanks them for the opportunity to serve them. She then moves on to the next car. How cool is that? This type of attitude prevails the entire country, especially the older generation.
After a four hour train ride, we arrived in Hiroshima. We caught a cab to the hotel, got settled and changed for dinner with Stan’s relatives. We had a wonderful evening with his family. Only one cousin spoke broken English but they all tried to make me feel welcome and did their best to communicate with me. I finally figured out I could use the translator app on my phone to communicate. Duh! I’m so glad I got to meet them all.
Another customer service story: When we were checking in to our hotel, a bell hop assisted us to our rooms. In the elevator, he identified himself as a trainee and apologized for not talking very much. When we got to my room, the card-key had apparently not been activated so the door wouldn’t open. He was mortified. He apologized and apologized. I felt so sorry for him. All my assurances could not alleviate his embarrassment. He dropped Stan’s bags off in Stan’s room, bowed, and ran downstairs to correct the problem with my key. After a few minutes he returned with the card-key and thankfully, it worked. He carried my bags in, asked if I had any questions, and when he handed me the key, he bowed deeply and in a bowed position humbly apologized again. Bless his heart. The idea that he failed to deliver less than stellar customer service was embarrassing to him. He was shocked when he received a tip from Stan.
Wow. America could take a few lessons – myself included.
Here are a few videos I had a chance to upload while on the train . . .
Remember the famous Shibuya Crossing from a previous post? I took two videos – one from the window at Starbucks, and one from ground level. Notice the guy who runs out to the middle of the crosswalk and stands there with his hands out. What was that all about? LOL.
Shibuya Crossing from Starbucks window.
Shibuya Crossing at eye level.
Tomorrow – Hiroshima.
P.S. By-the-way, I finally got to see Mount Fuji from the train! Although it was a distance away, it is an imposing and impressive figure on the landscape. So glad I got to see it!