I was burning with fever, my nose runny and have a cough and outside, it was slightly drizzling. I had to pull myself out of the capsule. If only I need not travel on such a bad day but I already spent 18,690 yen the previous night (equivalent to P8,600+ in Philippine currency) and sleeping inside the capsule isn’t really a good idea to just rest for the day. I checked out of the hotel, walked to the Ueno train station but although it was just around 100 meters from where I stayed, it seemed very far. I miss my mother. I don’t even have enough medicine to treat my affliction and if I had to take the train to the main Tokyo station to get on the Nozomi shinkansen…
I spotted a taxi and what the heck, hailed it, never mind if it will be expensive but I just want to get to the station as soon as possible. The door opened automatically and inside, a lady driver in dark uniform, a cap and white gloves. She was polite and courteous, and quite helpful. After I gave her my destination and I was coughing and blowing my nose, she got concerned. After a few lines of conversation and before leaving her taxi when I arrived at the station, she gave me instructions, wrote on paper in Japanese and told me to present this to the pharmacist for the medicine.
I was finding my way around the huge Tokyo station, although I was already feeling slightly okay, with medicines bought and taken, I was still coughing. But the fever has abated and I was sort of stronger than when I woke up. After a couple meters walking, I arrived at the platform where I have to take my train for Kyoto. It was open air, but spanning several platforms were the white bullet trains that I have wanted and decided to take. Face to face, the Nozomi Shinkansen. The fastest line in Japan and I was about to take one.
The Nozomi is the fastest shinkansen in Japan. And for my ride from Tokyo to Kyoto, a length of 476 kilometers, it will just take me 2 hours and 20 minutes. Think of it as the distance from Manila to Legazpi City, a length of 484 kilometers and takes you 10 hours by bus! Just amazing at how fast this can be, at around 270km/h! Of course, despite my fever, cough and colds, I was at the same time excited. I intended to ride this one, for the experience, just as I took the TGV from Paris to Carcassonne for 100 euros and took me 5.5 hours for a distance of 770 kilometers overnight.
I’m the kind of traveler who would want to experience things that can only be experienced in particular places, or countries. Wherein you have to be aware of the costs and prepare for such. Will it be fun to go to Japan but not experience the fastest train? My 1130H shinkansen arrived. Sleek, white and very modern looking. Within a few minutes, the assembled cleaning crew in pink uniform with sakura blossom designs were lining outside the door. When it opened, they stepped in and in no time, they were done. As we entered the train, they bowed as we passed. Amazing isn’t it?
Inside, it was spic and span. The train wasn’t full, but as a tourist, it is always better to get your tickets beforehand, which I bought at a ticket station the previous night. You might not be aware of special holidays or if its a weekend and trains can get full. The seat was very cozy, plush. There was high speed wifi and electrical outlets on seats to charge your gadgets. At 1130H, the train started to move, on time. It’s a strange feeling. You would think that because of its speed, everything will be a blur outside. But it isn’t. I didn’t feel like riding on a very fast train but I was comfortably ensconced at my seat and just looking at the world go by.
Two hours, twenty minutes later, I stepped on the platform at Kyoto Station.
This trip was made possible by Philippine Airlines who provided the Manila-Tokyo/Osaka-Manila plane tickets. Check their website Philippine Airlines for tickets and promos. Like their Facebook page and follow them in Twitter.