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Sunday, May 28, 2006 - Harajuku and Trip to Kyoto

Today was a rather light day. Stopped at Harajuku in the morning to take pictures of the cosplayers and then got on the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto.

After we checked out of our hotel we left the luggage there so we didn’t have to lug it around. Quickly stopped at Harajuku to go to the bridge where the cosplayers come out on Sundays. That was fun and probably the most Japanese I’ve spoken the whole trip. Consisting of asking to take a picture and saying thank you afterwards.

After that we had dinner at a chicken place (think KFC type stuff, but not KFC) and got our bags. Got to the shinkansen and was able to take a couple pictures. Couldn’t get the actual one we were on but there was one that was stationed and I was able to get a good shot of the front of it. The ride on the shinkansen was nice. Definately like the green car pass, a lot more room. I tried to get some video to show the speeds of it. I’m guessing the cruising speed was around 120 - 150 mph (193 - 241 km/h). I guess they reach speeds of over 300 km/h (186 mph) nowadays, but it didn’t seem it was going that fast. One cool thing about them is the hydraulics. Aside from just being a really smooth ride the train banks turns. You can’t really hear it over the motor unless you are slowing down at a station and can hear it. Also I guess the tilting back and forth was also relaxing because I was out cold. Cousin had to wake me up at the stop and I guess I was really out of it. Maybe a repeat of when I was on the cruise ship and it rocked back and forth. Difference is you don’t really feel it tilting as it’s meant to bank just enough so you don’t slide to the side of your seat.

Once we get off we head towards the hotel. One thing that felt kinda weird is people seem even more polite here than in Tokyo. I had a few people nod their heads as they passed by or bike past. Bikes coming from behind would ring their bell. Don’t think I mentioned this yet, but most of the bikes people use are what American’s would consider the ‘old’ style or classic bikes, complete with the little lever to ring the bell. Although these bikes are definately not old. In the U.S. everyone needs to have these mountain bikes, even though they’d probably never last on an actual mountain. Also see those collapsable bikes that you can drop the handle bar and seat so you can take it onto a train. After we dropped off everything at the hotel we went and ate at some ticket place where you just buy a ticket and order with that. Got beef bowl again, that stuff is pretty good. Going to miss it when I come back to the states.

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