We had another early morning as we had to catch the express train from Abashiri to Sapporo. This train, at least, had more than one car...but we were in the smallest car I've ever ridden in. There were only about eight rows of seats, total. The train also made a Y turn partway through the trip, so everyone had to get up and spin their seats around to face the opposite direction. (Everyone except me, that is...we had stowed our numerous bags and packages in the space behind my seat, so I spent the second half of the trip facing backward. I didn't mind, but the poor Japanese couple assigned to sit one row up from me were probably wishing they had gotten a different seat.)
We arrived in Sapporo with a bit of extra time before our next train, so we spent it doing last-minute souvenir shopping. I picked up a package of camembert that had "This cheese is alive!" written across it. (How could I resist?)
Finally the long-awaited time came, and we boarded the Hokutosei. We had one private room for two people and a third non-private bed. The train is set up with the rooms along one side and a narrow corridor along the other. In this picture, megory and wednesday_10_00 are standing next to one of the non-private bunk beds. You can see that there is only a curtain between the bed and the corridor.
We dragged all our luggage to the private room. On the door was this sign (and I will be disappointed if this doesn't wind up in a fic at some point...). The room itself was quite small, with barely enough space for our bags--less room than the typical express train overhead racks, in fact. Each bed, as can be seen in this picture, came with sheets, a pillow, a hanger, and a yukata with a pattern made from the "JR" logo.
wednesday_10_00 demonstrates how you can sit and watch the scenery or curl up for a nap (although there's more room on the bed once the luggage is stowed).
We then went to explore the rest of the train. A couple cars down, we came to the dining car. Those who want to eat dinner or breakfast there have to make reservations. Passengers can also buy snacks, drinks, or souvenirs there. Further down is a shower room and a lounge car, complete with a television.
We mainly stayed in our private room for the duration of the trip, which began around 6:15pm on the 9th and reached Tokyo the following morning at 10:30am. From where it stopped at Ueno, we made our way to Ikebukuro to check into our hotel. megory and I did a bit of shopping at Animate--now new and improved with nine stories instead of eight--while wednesday_10_00 ran to Chiba for some final errands. (For those familiar with "Otome Road" across from Sunshine City, starting in September there will be FOUR buildings for K-Books: one for merchandise, one for manga/novels, one for doujinshi, and one for telephone cards.) Then we crashed in preparation for what might be considered the most exhausting part of our vacation...
~ To Be Continued ~