DM's Japan 2006 Trip Diary

Day 3 - Utsunomiya

Tuesday, 24 January, 2006

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21:50

I'm still on Sydney time, because I woke up around 05:00 this morning. I was still tried enough to get some more sleep though. I got up just before 07:00 and had a shower, then wandered down to the lobby where I was meeting Matthew at 07:45.

We crossed the road to a combini (convenience store) where we bought some sushi for breakfast and then walked across to an empty area near Utsunomiya Station where the Canon commuter bus would leave to take employees to the site buildings. Buses for several companies were waiting there to take staff out to the factories, but the Canon bus wasn't there yet. We waited in the sunshine as it was a cold morning, but a queue began to form next to us, with the back end in the shade. We saw that one of the people waiting had a Canon ID badge, so we figured they were all waiting for our bus, but we elected to stay in the sunshine.

The bus arrived and we climbed aboard. It departed right on time, at 08:09, for the 45 minute journey to the site. We ate our sushi on board as we noticed some magnificent mountains out the rear of the bus, to the west, capped with snow. Although it was bright and sunny, grey clouds seemed to hang ominously over the mountains.

We arrived and managed to navigate our way through the maze of offices to the lens measurement lab, where a full day of work began. For lunch today I had some chicken and vegetables in a spicy tomatoey sauce, with rice and miso soup, paying for it with a prepaid card I bought from a machine outside the cantten. We finished work just after 18:30, and caught the 18:55 Canon bus back to Utsunomiya, with Saito-san, who said he would like to have dinner with us again.


Central Utsunomiya
He took us to a favourite restaurant of his on the west side of the station, where one of the waitresses knew him, since he visited regularly with his wife. Another work associate of his joined us at the low table where we sat on our a tatami mat. Saito-san ordered a fixed menu for us, which began with some of the gyoza for which Utsunomiya is famous, followed by sashimi served with a selection of plates and bowls containing miso soup, a tofu salad, rice, a small plate of pickled vegetables, and a plate of sliced fruit. It was all delicious, but my knees and legs soon began to ache from sitting cross-legged on the mat. I shifted position several times during the meal, as Siato-san and his companion chatted to us about various things in broken English.

After dinner we took a short walk to Lala Centre shopping mall where Saito-san showed us a huge electronics store where they had various cameras and lenses in stock. Unfortunately they were sold out of 1Ds Mark IIs. After browsing the gear for a while, we headed back out to the cold night air. The others left us to walk back to our hotel by ourselves.

My laptop was having trouble connecting to dial-up Internet despite allegedly having been set up to do so back in Sydney, so Matthew tried hacking some registry stuff to get at a user name and password that would work, but we gave up after a fruitless half hour.


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