Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Obon - the way up

I have just returned from an Obon trip to Akita.  I'd considered taking the night bus, because it's more time efficient, but being Obon, seats were fully booked by the time I got around to inquiring. But the trains are fun. They were more crowded than usual, perhaps due to the route I took, but more likely because of the Obon season.  It was the first time to see people travelling from Tokyo to northern Tohoku on seishun 18 tickets with young children.
I arrived at the local station with 7 min to spare to catch the last train that would get me there on a single day. A comfortable buffer zone, until I couldn't find the seishun 18 on the ticket machine. The station attendant was amiable, and ambled out to help me... It's on the shinkansen ticket machine, not the regular one...  I caught the train with half a second to spare.

It baffles me why people tolerate this.
A young punk legs spread, bag on the vacant seat
next to him... Two people in their 60s standing in front of him...
It wasn't "silver seats" but a vacant empty seat being hogged by a bag.
When it happens to me I always ask people to move it...
And they do, usually apologetically (practiced at feigning methinks).


Rice crops on the way up.
This is so different to the winter scenery from my March trip up. http://ponkanchan.blogspot.jp/2015/03/seishun-18-march-2015-tokyo-yonezawa.html

Between Fukushima and Yonezawa.

Fukushima - Yonezawa

I had an hour break at Yonezawa. It's a more interesting place to
wait than Shinjo, largely because there is a standing noodle bar just
outside the station. I indulged in a kakiage soba.
The tempura is cancelled out by the low fat soup broth ;).

A Yamagata University student holding a sign for
an open campus shuttle bus.  It was hot, and
Hiro's alma mater was Yamadai... so I bought him a bottle
of chilled tea. 

Going north near Shinjo


Mamurogawa in Yamagata

Mamurogawa, Mogami, Yamagata

The sun going down at Yuzawa, Akita

It was a quick change at Akita. Just enough time to ring Hiro's mother to let her know I hadn't missed a connection and would arrive at 10.19 as scheduled.  As usual the train was full at Akita city and gradually thinned out over the journey back to Odate.    By the time the train gets to Hachirogata, there are not many people left.  Two very respectable looking obasans took practicality into their own hands and stretched out to sleep.  In Tokyo when people do this they are invariably male and drunk, though they would probably also take off their shoes (social condition of the deepest kind?). 

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