Japan current location1:31PM Train to Hakodate.

This morning was like every other one, with me waking up around 7:30. It was still raining (and has been since yesterday morning) but it sounded like it had let up somewhat. I was going to just stay in bed for a while, but I realized Gene was leaving to go to work, and I didn’t want to miss saying goodbye to him. More than likely I’d just be back in a couple of days, but just in case, I wanted to say bye.

Downstairs, Gene and Lou were eating breakfast. He was dressed in his flight suit, which he’d worn the last couple of days. I asked how he was feeling, and he said like crap. Rats, it was worse for him. I was feeling fine, and even opted not to take my Sudafed this morning. I’ve just got that left-over cold type stuff now, but feel normal again. Lou said she was starting to feel bad, which sucks since Gene is leaving overnight on Friday for Tokyo for a conference or something. She’ll probably be worst right about the time he leaves. I made my latte and said bye to Gene as he left for work.

Back on the computer, I finished up one of the final parts of my Japan 5 update; now I can just dump a big tar file of logs and images and the server will do everything else including creating the thumbnails the first time someone looks at them. Unfortunately the first person has to refresh their browser to see the images right now, but I’ll fix that. Sorry! Okay, back to the log. By the way, I’m glad you guys are enjoying these things. I said to Lou that it was basically me belching out every little thing I do, but nobody seems to have complained about it being horribly long winded. ;)

I went upstairs and took a short bath as I was feeling a little chilly. Afterwards I realized I had forgotten my towel in my room though, so I had to nab a hand towel to cover my privies while I skittered into the room to retrieve it. Gee, I hope nobody saw that. I got dressed and repacked my bag. When Gene and I went to Sapporo I had limited the stuff in it, but since I might not come back to Misawa, I wanted to make sure I had *everything*. Man is my bag full. That sucks since I still don’t really have any souvenirs yet. It will empty out some as I give things I brought to people, but it’s still jam-packed. I decided to leave the Sapporo Beer glasses; worst case scenario, they can just send them to me. I didn’t want to lug them around to Hakodate when I didn’t really need to lest they get broken. The Litter Maid cat box in my room had malfunctioned and the litter wasn’t going into the little receptacle like it was supposed to, that was kinda gross. It had pushed open the cover and was piling up on the side. Eew. I finished packing, and left some room for the things I still had downstairs. That bag is SO heavy with everything back in it. I lugged it downstairs.

Gene was already back for lunch and was giving Lou a massage at the table. I pulled out my lunch things, which were the rice ball, gyoza, croquettes, and crab salad, and frantically ate them, as it was already 11:40, and the train was leaving at 12:29. I didn’t *have* to catch that one, but I would end up getting there at 7 otherwise. At that moment I got a message on my cell, which I assumed to be Yuriko. It wasn’t. I looked at the message for a while, and determined to the best of my ability, that it’s actually spam. Spam on a cell phone! Suck! I thought briefly it could also be that girl in Sapporo, but since it didn’t have her name, and was pointing towards a website (that I can’t get into) it must be a spam. That and it was plastered with little hearts, which I can’t imagine would have come from anyone I just met. ;) The crab salad was really good, the rice ball was soggy and cold, which was just because it was refrigerated overnight. Since it was warm when I got it, I think it wasn’t meant to be eaten later. The gyoza and croquettes were yummy, but I really didn’t want the second croquette. I finally noticed I had gained some weight back since I got here, which I expected, so I figured stuffing myself at every meal probably wasn’t a good idea. I convinced Lou to try it and she liked it well enough to eat it. She said it tasted like a beefy hush puppy, which is a pretty good description. I was really running short of time, so I quickly made a backup of my laptop on my MP3 player ( I think that’s so cool) and shut everything down. Lou said I should take my Happy Turn, but I think I need to lay off the evil things. I said she could eat them, which I’m sure she will.

I cram packed what I had left, mostly chargers and documentation for my phone and watches, into my bag, and slipped on my shoes. It was just about noon, which gave us 29 minutes before the train. Gene left again, and Lou and I took Jasper into the big SUV, tossing my bag into the back seat. It took a little time getting off the base, but we were on the way. We guessed I’d have about 5 minutes to get my tickets and get on. As we were driving, I noticed there was a stuffed pug in the back window of the car in front of us. Aww, pug! Jasper was being a really good pup in the back of the SUV, too. One light was really nasty for some reason, and we got worried, but we made it to the station with 9 minutes to spare. I hefted the bag out of the car, said bye to Lou and Jasper, then walked up the stairs to the station office.

I went inside the ticket office, and was second in line. There were two windows, but both were taking a long time. One left, and the man in front of me took his window. I’m not sure what he was doing as he already had tickets and was showing them to the station attendant. The other window was off in la-la land, too, as he’d already been shown and handed his tickets. They were checking something in the computer. I kept looking at my watch and saw the time ticking down. I figured, worst case scenario I could always just take a non-reserved seat, which is very easy to do with a rail pass, assuming there are seats. Luckily the left window became free, and I squeezed out that I wanted to go to Hakodate as I was breathing hard from carrying the suitcase up all those stairs. He got me a ticket for the 12:29 train and I thanked him and left out the exit.

I showed just my rail pass to the manned ticket gate, and walked through. I started to head to Track 1, which said it was for Aomori and Hakodate, but he said I needed to go to track 2. I was a little confused; tracks 2 and 3 are together, but are on the side that Gene and I arrived on for sure. I was like, “second track?” and he kept pointing to it. I stopped, and said, “isn’t it the first track?” He shook his head and said, “track 2!” Then I think someone inside told him I was going to Hakodate, as I also said it to him, and he waved his hand in front of his face and said “no, no, track 1!” Well, I knew that. I thanked him anyway, and went down the stairs to the platform. I took about a minute to figure out about where the car was going to stop, man that’s still so confusing. If you don’t know what kind of train it is (i.e. Hakucho, Super Hakucho) it’s almost impossible to figure out. And it’s never in English. Like I said, just don’t even try if you can’t read Japanese. Just show your ticket to someone and ask.

The train arrived, and the car was a little further forward than I expected, but at least I was on the right end of the train. As I walked in, the door showed it was “touch here to open”, but I touched, and it didn’t open. Wha? I pressed on the door a few more times to no avail, but then lightly brushed it in the area specified, and THAT worked. Brute force fails again. It’s weird, because the area to press is just a decal, it’s not like a sensor or anything, so I don’t know how it works, exactly. Leaving my suitcase behind the back row of seats, I took my seat, 3D, which was next to an older Japanese businessman. He was pretty quiet, and I just broke out the MP3 player, camera, and GPS, which couldn’t get a signal for quite a while. I sent a message to both Alex and Yuriko on the phone, and again was struggling with entering Japanese. It’s pretty durn slow. Alex had called me last night, and I think we’re going hiking up to see monkeys in Kyoto next week. :) Yuriko wrote me last night and said she would be off work around 9pm. That gives me some time to find a hotel and run around some. I’m sure I’m going straight to the wharf and getting my dried squid rings (kind of like jerky, but made from sliced squid) first. I’m also grabbing a waypoint for ya, Cloyce, so you can find it this time. Cloyce understands my obsession for squid rings.

At Aomori, the Japanese man next to me got off, and this time I was prepared for the Big Switcheroo; when most of the people had gotten off, I put all my stuff on the seat next to me, then went and got my bag. I moved it to what was to become the back of the car, then came back and rotated seats. You press the pedal down which is in the aisle on the bottom of the seat, and this puts the seatbacks up and unlocks the swivel. It then rotates in one direction to face the other way. The opposite seat became mine, so my stuff was already in it. See, thinkin’ ahead. ;)

We’re now back in the big-ass tunnel to Hokkaido, but I’m sure we’ll be out soon. The tunnel starts before you get close to the water, so I have no idea how deep it actually goes. The pressure keeps changing though, and my ears are popping left and right. I had pulled down a picture of Yuriko back at Gene and Lou’s; I hope I recognize her! We just stopped at a station that’s in the *middle* of the tunnel. I keep expecting some fish-men to get on the train every time we do.


I spent the rest of the train ride watching The Last Samurai, which I haven’t seen yet. What was interesting was one scene right at the beginning they have a shot of rolling hills with spiky pine trees, and at that moment, I looked out the window and saw exactly that outside my window. Neat.

As we got within 8 minutes of Hakodate, I shut off the laptop and noticed that my cell phone had missed a call! I had put it on “Manner Mode” which is their way of saying “silent”. I tried for a while to figure out how to see who it was, but just couldn’t figure it out, even in English. Right before we got to the station, I got a text message from Yuriko saying that she’d call me just before 9pm, when she got off work. I immediately wrote her back asking if that was her that had called, as I hadn’t heard it. I tried some more to see the call log, but my phone ended up ringing. It was Yuriko. I told her I was getting off the train right then and to hold on for a second. I ran to the back and pulled my bag out of the rear with me out on to the platform. I tried to understand what Yuriko was saying, but it was really noisy, and that “talking in a box” problem hadn’t gone away. I told her about the noise and she said she’d call me back. I found a spot nearby next to that big relief art piece that seemed pretty quiet. I called her back. She asked if I knew where I was staying yet, and I said I was about to go search for a place.

“Is the Plaza Hotel okay?” she asked.
“That’s the place you used to work, right?”
“Then it’s fine.”
“It’s cheap,” she added.

She then asked me what I was going to do, and I really didn’t know. She asked if I wanted to see the “night view”, meaning take the ropeway up to Mount Hakodate. I said I did, and she added something I totally could not understand. I got pieces of it, but the phone quality just isn’t very clear. Even talking in English with Alex yesterday night, it’s just not easy to hear anything. She repeated it, and mentioned something about her working until 9, and then I thought she said it was going to be bad weather, and I wouldn’t be able to do something. I asked if maybe tomorrow would be better for that, and she said, “ah, yes, maybe.” She then told me to call her when I decided where I was going to stay, and I said I’d call her later. I put the phone away and, frustrated with my inability to understand anything, went out the exit gate.

I walked to the Tourist Information Desk, and an older man was manning the desk that said “Hotels”. I told him I wanted to stay at the Plaza Hotel, but he mumbled something about something he couldn’t do, and made a cross with his hands. He told me where it was though, and said something about seeing at the hotel. I gathered at this point he meant he couldn’t make a reservation for me, but I could check there. No problem. I asked for a map, and the lady next to him handed me a “Romantic Hakodate” booklet, and a tourist guide map in English. I thanked them, and walked out of the nifty circle-shaped automatic doors. My Japanese is just sucking today.

Outside I took a few pictures of the station, and it’s really cool looking now. I’ll have to go back and see if there are any pictures of the old in my photos from last trip. I’m sure there’s video somewhere. I walked along the taxi stand line, across the street, and one block straight past the department store where Molly and I saw some really weird boots last time. I looked left as I passed the department store and saw the sign for the Plaza Hotel, right where I expected it to be. I took the elevator to the second floor and approached the front desk. I told the woman I didn’t have a reservation, and asked if she had any single rooms available. She did, thankfully. I didn’t want another Sapporo Debacle on my hands. I don’t know how long I’m staying here, so I just decided on two nights right then, and then I’d worry about it again on Friday. She had me fill out an information card, and showed me that it was going to be 7400 yen or so for two nights. Geez, that’s less than a quarter of what we paid in Sapporo! Of course, this is also a single room, but still.

She gave me my key and told me that checkout would be 10am the day after tomorrow. I thanked her and then took the elevator to the third floor. I’m on the opposite side as when I stayed here with Molly, as those are double rooms. I wasn’t really surprised when I opened the door, but it’s definitely a tiny tiny room! There’s a “semi-double” bed in next to a teeny tiny work area (if that). A pay TV is in front of the bathroom, which is just big enough to turn around in. The hallway is about half of the square footage of this room, I kid you not. Plus it’s pretty run down, the carpet sucks, and there’s rust in the bathroom. It’s definitely a cheap hotel, but it’s functional.

I plopped my stuff down just briefly, then took what I needed for the day ahead of running around. I had a good five hours or so before Yuriko would be available. I did check really fast to see if there was a wireless network nearby, but my luck with that has run out I guess. I walked down, left my key, and then headed back towards the station. I knew a general track of where I wanted to go, so I pretty much followed my instinct. I went down to the left of the station and took the road that adjoins the fish market, which is pretty much dead at that time of day. There were a few places open, and all of them were bustling with the delectable crustaceans we all know as crabs. So many of them, my mouth is watering immensely just thinking about it. I continued down the road past another shop and did a double take – there were *live squid* in that tank! I took a little movie, just to prove it.

Further down, I passed a few omiyage ( souvenir ) shops, and in the entrance of one was a small furry white dog with an adorable little bear backpack. So cute! The omiyage also had tons of weird things like owl post boxes and stuff. I continued down the road past the Kokusai Hotel, which was the place that wouldn’t change money for Kel and me on 1998, and also the Niceday Inn, where we stayed that time. Up ahead on the right as I continued was Hakodate Beer, the local brew pub, albeit a trendy one. It has a big menu of generally yummy looking stuff, but also some not so yummy, like salmon roe pizza.

Slightly more on is Hakodate Factory, a strictly souvenir-type place that sells all sorts of fish, crab, sausages, cheeses, and whatnot to the tourists. It’s fun to browse through! I located some of Molly’s favorite cheese sausages while searching for my tasty squid rings. All of these shops have express mail service as well, since most of what they sell is perishable, so you can just get them to send it to you after you’re home! Behind Hakodate factory is a bigger warehouse-like shopping area also run by HF. Inside there was more fresh fish, crab, scallops, and the gamut of various Hokkaido-based souvenirs. What was cool here was that they had little grills everywhere, and they would crack open a scallop or slice up a live squid and cook it right in front of you. You can’t get any fresher than that! I almost sat down, but decided I was going to wait to see if Yuriko had eaten dinner. On the other hand, it was only about 5pm at that point. I found my squid rings almost immediately, but this wasn’t the place I bought them from twice before, so I figured I’d wait lest they be something else. They looked identical though, down to the gold twist tie, so I really didn’t have any doubt. I dragged myself away from the delicious looking seafood and marked a waypoint out front so Cloyce is set. A block away was the wharf area, so I made my way in that direction.

I snapped pictures like mad (and you’ll see when you get to the gallery) hoping to get some good ones out of it. As I crossed the bridge over to the tourist part of the wharf, I realized there was a big 35mm movie camera pointed at it, and a number of people milling about. Somebody was shooting a movie right there! I was on film, somewhere, although I’d imagine they won’t use it. Along the way I passed the “Ashita ga aru” restaurant, so named by me because it’s where this song was playing that Molly was annoying me with in 2001. This whole area is called the “red brick warehouse district”, and it has dozens of shops and eateries. I hastened when I saw the shop (also a Hakodate Factory) where my squid rings were, and marked another waypoint. Inside, it carried the exact same stuff as the last big warehouse place, down the grilled squid and scallops. However, despite a very exhaustive search on my part, I wasn’t able to locate any squid rings. This place had cups and sake sets MADE OUT OF SQUID, but nary a squid ring in sight. As usual I should have bought it when I saw it.

I walked back out onto the street, and headed back in the direction of the warehouse dealie. I needed my squid, dammit. I did make a few pit stops in the brick buildings on the opposite side of the street, as they had effectively a shopping mall inside them! One store, called Labrador Retriever, sold not only clothes for people (a la Abercrombie style) but also clothes for dogs. Apparently this is a big thing in Japan, dressing up your dog (says he who dressed up his dogs as superheroes for Halloween). Nothing really fancied my eye anywhere in there, so I continued to make my way back to where I could get my snacks. I walked back in the store, but couldn’t remember where I’d seen them. Oh no, don’t tell me they’re gone! After a short search I managed to turn up three remaining bags of the stuff, and I bought all three for 524 yen each. I’ll be back…

I retraced my steps for the third time today, and walked back past the third Hakodate Factory once more. At the end of the street were a couple of weird things; a coffee shop called California Baby, a teddy bear shop, and the freakiest clown-themed hamburger joint known to man. It’s outright terrifying. Poltergeist, It, and even The Simpsons all rolled into one. I don’t know why it’s scary, but you check the picture and say you’re not afraid of it. Lots of people were out front munching down Evil Burgers happily, but I pushed on past, afraid to watch while their souls were possibly being sucked out by the ice cream cones on the wall above them.

I was generally headed for the Russian Orthodox Church; I was curious to see what it looked like when I wasn’t in a blizzard. To get there, you have to walk up this really steep hill, which is also the place where Japanese Cats Like Squid (the first Japan site) earned its name. The pack on my back was starting to feel a little on the heavy side, but I pushed on up. It’s much easier to climb without 6 inches of snow on the ground. At the top of the hill, you can turn left to go to the ropeway, but I chose right. That street dead ends at the Catholic Church. Hakodate was a big port back in the day, and as such many foreigners came here from Russia, the US, and other countries, then ended up staying. There’s a lot of foreign influence in this town. Left at the Catholic church led me up to the Russian Orthodox and Episcopalian churches, which are directly across from one another. As I stopped to tripod a picture, a car honked at me. Apparently the road in front of them is not only not pedestrian-specific, but it’s also two way. It’s barely big enough for ONE car, much less two. I moved out of they way, pressing myself up against a wall until they passed. The Russian Orthodox church looked really cool in the setting sun.

At this point, it suddenly came to me what Yuriko was saying on the phone – she was working until about 9, so she wouldn’t be able to go to the top of the mountain with me if I went. Ah soo! In that case, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if I went alone, as she lives here after all. I picked up my tripod and suddenly realized I was being swarmed by the same freakily-huge mosquitoes that pincushioned my body back in Misawa. WAAAH! I swung my arms wildly and raced up the hill. One managed to get my neck, but I got him. I turned left, then left again to go around the Episcopalian Church. As I walked down the hill, two Japanese passed me walking a daschund, who was wearing a leather coat and black and white plaid pants. “Kawaii…(cute)” I said to them, and they laughed.

I took a right at the next intersection, and that led me right to the entrance to the ropeway. Since it was just dusk, now was the perfect time to go up. I bought a ticket (1160 yen) and waited in line to ride the ropeway up. It’s a huge cable car, and it gets up the mountain lickety split. You’re riding with about 50 other Japanese people, but it’s not that crowded. I’ve seen it with wall to wall pressed sardine people. As we went up, my ears were popping, and I kept clearing them. Below us, I noticed a bunch of trees that appeared to have blown over and I wondered if those were due to the rash of typhoons they had recently.

The car arrived right when it got dark; I couldn’t have timed it better. From that height, you can see all of Hakodate, which lights up like a Christmas tree at night. Pictures inside the building are obscured by the glass, but I, along with everyone else, didn’t realize that at the time and snapped away anyway. I decided after a few shots that I needed a clear view. I walked up the closest flight of stairs, which deposits anyone who takes it in front of the convenient gift shop. Just past that is an exit, which leads out to the TV station and the big Hakodate-yama sign. I broke out the tripod again, but couldn’t see much of the land really, and what little I could see kept getting obscured by a woman in the big tour group ahead of me who kept bobbing left and right. I finally gave up on that and walked up the stairs to the first level of the roof. It was pretty packed, and it took me a while to wait out a space on the railing. When I got it though, it worked out great and I was able to take a number of pictures of the city in all its glory. I heard some milling about behind me and a big crowd of people was snapping pictures of… a bunch of video cameras and an announcer? Apparently, some TV show was filming there, and was on the highest point counting down from three to something. Weirder still was that there was an American with them who turned around and faced the city and said, “Wonderful, beautiful, fabulous” really loudly. Where’s my TV guest spot? I’m a foreigner too!

I returned down to the TV station level and realized I was really thirsty, so I went to the vending machines. I got some calorie-free drink from Coca Cola, which sucked, but below it, in the warmed section, was Hiroyuki Sakai’s Corn Potage drink! I couldn’t resist, so I bought one for my can collection. (Hiroyuki Sakai is the French Iron Chef, if you don’t recognize the name) I took a few more shots at the Hakodate-yama sign, then walked over past the TV station to see what was over there. As I reached the other side, I noticed the moon looked really nifty, so I ran over to snap a picture. As I arrived, I shot like crazy; there were these weird, bright lights that illuminated the sky and clouds, and looked like they were competing with the moon. It all seemed very mysterious and UFO-like (I kept thinking of Close Encounters for some reason). I also realized it was interesting – everyone else was over on the other side trying to get a steady shot of the city, while here I was taking pictures of the moon on the opposite side. Yes, I’m weird.

I returned to the front, grabbed one or two more shots, then went into the gift shop and bought I think some strawberry candy, simply because it had weird English on it. At that point I was ready to go; it was already 7pm. I got back on the ropeway, which for the first time ever had no wait, and returned to the base. After blipping a waypoint, I decided to retrace my steps, yet again, and go back to the hotel, taking pictures of things I saw at night. The Russian Orthodox church really didn’t look at that cool at night though. As I picked up my tripod, a group of girls was on the other side of the fence in the Episcopalian area. One said, “konban wa (good evening” and I said so back. I think she took this as “oh he speaks Japanese” and she asked, I think, how to get to where I was. I told them I realized later:

“Go turn that way, and then turn left, then turn, and turn left again at the next corner. Go turn some more and turn left again.”

Good job, dorkus. ‘Massugu’ ( straight) is not ‘magatte’ (turn). As soon as I realized I kind of walked that way and saw them again at the lower entrance. I pointed at the exit and said the correct word for straight, and they thanked me and walked off. I tried to walk up there to meet them and apologize for sucking, but they literally had vanished off the face of the planet. I really don’t know how they disappeared, I walked back down the long-ass hill, and maneuvered back to Hakodate Factory. As I descended, my left ear was feeling pressure, so I took a cue from scuba diving, and cleared my ears. Bad idea. My left ear wasn’t releasing pressure, so I ended up unable to hear in that ear at all! Gee I hope Yuriko doesn’t call right now, I thought. I spent the rest of the trip screwing up my jaw trying to make my ear feel normal again, but it didn’t help. I’m sure it looked interesting though.

I shot pictures of Hakodate Factory and areas around it at night, which really made me appreciate my tripod. One thing I wish I had is a remote shutter switch; I realized I kept bumping the camera slightly when I pressed the button. My legs really started to get tired about now, but I just needed to keep walking. As I passed the Kokusai Hotel, I realized, wow this is where every foreigner stays, apparently. There were a number of gaikokujin walking around, crossing the street to Lawsons, or just talking around the hotel. Every foreigner but me, that is. After a tremendous walk for the day, I returned to the hotel, got my key from the front desk, and went into my room to work on the log.

About 8:30 my cell rang, and it was Yuriko. She said she was done with work for the day. She said she worked near the ropeway, actually. She then asked if I was hungry, and of course I was starving, so she said she’d come meet me in the first floor parking garage. How long, I asked, and she said she’d call when she was downstairs. I continued to work on the log, and not ten minutes later she called. I quickly gathered up my laptop, my camera, and whatnot, changed out of my sweaty shirt, and raced downstairs to meet her. She was futzing around in her back seat, but turned and raced over to say hi. We shook hands, and then hopped in her little teeny Suzuki car. She asked if steak was okay, and we drove around the corner to Victoria Steak House, which is next to the Lawson’s Molly and I got food from in 2001.

We talked a little, then decided we needed to order. I got a gouda and cheddar cheeseburger patty, and she ordered the teriyaki burger set. We talked about all sorts of things, ranging from America, to Japan, to her new job and stuff. She’s kind of funny; she tends to make random English comments amongst her Japanese, like “oh my God” and “hai I understand”. After we finished eating, she said she wanted to see my pictures, so I broke out the laptop and started showing her all the people, places, and things I’d pretty much ever taken a picture of in Austin. If you’re reading this live, chances are we looked at you. She had all sorts of questions and I explained about things like the Alamo Drafthouse, my sister’s new house, the pug meets, etc., etc. I showed her pretty much every picture I had, including the ones I’ve taken in Japan so far, leaving out just some pug meets and things that look pretty much the same. She pointed out that the squid cups apparently make sake taste delicious, and that the bright lights I took a picture of were squid fishing boats. They lights, which are so bright you can’t look at them, attract the squid. She also recognized an actor in the movie picture. This process took about four hours, and around 1:40 am my battery finally started to give up. Not bad for having watched half of The Last Samurai on it! With both batteries, I get about 6 to 6 and a half hours of full usage. Nice. We had talked about a few places we’d go see tomorrow, so she said to call her when I got up tomorrow, anytime after 8am was fine. We got up, went to the front, and paid “betsu betsu”, which is everyone separate.

I asked her where she was living, and she said it was about 15 minutes from here in the country. She lives with her parents and her 10 year old dog, who keeps bumping his head on things he’s so old. It’s pretty normal in Japan for women to live with their parents until they’re married, so that sounded about right. She dropped me off in front of the hotel, we said good night, and I walked up the stairs to the front desk. It didn’t occur to me that I’d be coming in so late tonight, so I wondered how I was going to get my key.

I approached the desk, and there was a light on in the back. “Sumimasen,” I called. I called once more, then realized I was hearing heavy snoring coming from there. I peeked around the corner, and there was actually a bed back there! I called again a few times, but the buzzsaw just kept on cuttin’. Since I was in view of the back of the desk, I looked in my slot, but there was no key. Uh oh. Then I realized it was sitting out on the desk, easily accessible. I leaned over, grabbed it, and took the elevator up to 3, since the stairway was closed for some reason.

Now it’s time to recharge all my gear and hit the freakin’ hay. It’s 3:20am already!!

-- Hik