Photos

New! 'Best-of' photos available here in interactive album.

All photos from this trip can be found in my Trans-siberian gallery. Click on the image below to enter.

Click here to enter my Trans-siberian gallery

Videos

All videos from my trans-siberian trip can be found on my Trans-siberian You-Tube channel.

Click here to view the Trans-siberian video channel

Blog Index

My summer 2007 trans-siberian blog can be viewed as a single (HUGE!) page, or as individual pages listed below.

Japan

The journey begins
Leaving Japan

China

Welcome to China
Voyage to Shanghai
Shanghai - Day 1
Shanghai - Day 2
Bullet Train to Beijing
Arrival in Beijing
Forbidden City & Great Wall
Stranded in Jining
Beijing Duck
The hotel Hutiejuhengnuobinguan
Business in China
Thoughts whilst waiting

Mongolia

Hello Mongolia
Endless miles of stars
Live from the yurt
Speechless for 3 days
Where's my train gone?
Yurtastic fun

Russia

Buying tickets in Russia
Driving in Russia
Lake Baikal - part 1
Lake Baikal - part 2
Travelling 3rd class
The Russians
The 60 hour, 4100km ride part 1
60 hour train ride part 2
A walk amongst the stones
Hello Moscow
What? You mean my train for Germany left an hour ago?
A day in Moscow

Europe

The most luxurious Train in the whole world
Hello Poland
They speak my language!
British Passport Control

England

Arriving in the UK
A familiar sunrise
One week on
The final Leg
The final word

Leaving Japan: T minus 10 hours and counting

Monday 13th August 2007

Yep, just 10 hours until my ferry departs from Osaka Port.

I'm now staying in the Umeda Dormitory, which I stayed in for one night 2 years ago. It's in a pretty convenient location, and has very friendly owners; for these reasons I recommended it to my coursemate Simon who arrived in Japan a month back for his Year Abroad, who promptly moved in and thus is able to offer me his floor to sleep on - for a fee. The sign in the elevator states that

IF YOU NEED TO DO YOUR FRIEND, please make a request to us and pay 2000 yen.
Only 2000 yen to be done by Simon! What a bargain! ...although as it turns out, I've been given my own luxury room, complete with no window and 3 square inches of floor space. [Thank you Simon for your hospitality, I really appreciate it. And the Mac advice too. Will miss you!]

When checking in, I was pretty surprised by the owner's power of recollection - he remembered me, and my friend at the tourist info office that recommended the place to me. Afterwards though, I though "Well of COURSE he would remember me..."

So here I am, trying to desperately sort through the few hundred photos I've taken over the past couple of days. Busy Busy Busy. I've changed some of my money into Chinese, er, whatever the currency is there, and the rest into US Dollars, which is apparently the way to go in Mongolia and Russia.

Money has been a bit of a concern lately, well, ever since I bought my camera to be honest! But still, I knew that things would work out, and sure enough, on the day I left Tokyo a very very kind friend handed me an envelope containing US$200 - as a gift! I was completely taken aback by that gesture - I am very grateful, thank you.

A few hours ago I cancelled my phone contract, and picked up a spare battery for my MacBook to give me up to 9 hours of typing time on the train. Phoned mum and dad to say tarra for now and can you pick me up at the local station in one month at 6.30pm please? Dealt with the backlog of emails. Bought a load of food for the boat; just my socks to wash now.



Sky Biru [as featured below] through the crayon box: the structure you see above is about 40 floors up




The fact that I'm leaving Japan hasn't hit me at all, and may not do so until I reach my hometown in mid-September. I think only then, when the excitement has come to an end, will I feel truly lonely, that wretched feeling of loneliness when one is unable to hold one's love.

Speaking to *Twinkle* I can feel her pain. It's terrible and terrifying. I'm not entirely happy with the manner in which I seem to be suppressing my emotions; I'm not allowing myself to feel the hurt and loss that I know is there.

I know it's there because I felt it hit me when her Shinkansen pulled out of Shin Osaka station. Crikey, it was bad. Like the bottom falling out of my world. I lost it then, burst into tears on the platform. Writing about it now makes me feel distinctly wobbly.


I regained my composure a few minutes later, and have not allowed myself to explore those dark places again. It'll be interesting to see how things go. We may be apart physically, but we remain together in spirit.



We had a lovely final couple of days together. *Twinkle*, Pepe and I. Pepe, incidentally, is thinking about launching his own blog sometime in the next year, possibly followed by books and a film. Watch out for him. He is no ordinary Penguin. For a start, he can use chopsticks.



As those of you who have looked at my latest photos will know, we spent a couple of hours on Saturday at Kansai's largest wedding dress place. It was somewhat bizarre, surrounded by all those people in wedding dresses. Great fun though, really made me smile. *Twinkle* looked so gorgeous (and no Alice, you can't have her, she's mine!).

When it came to my turn to try on suits, I was stuck. I hadn't a clue what to choose. There was also a bit of an issue with size: being made for Japanese grooms, all the suits were midget-size.



I'm not really as bald as I appear in the photo above. It's the lighting.

Despite having lived in Osaka for a couple of years, *Twinkle* had never been up the mightily impressive Sky Biru.

I do love this building. One reason could be that it stands clear of any other tall buildings. Located next to the largest undeveloped space of any major city in the world (A Japan Rail freight yard which is to become a housing and shopping complex in the next decade), it really does shine. I love the architecture too - the way it seems to be made of shiney building blocks, bolted together with meccano struts (which happen to home escalators and elevators).


The weather was absolutely superb, thus from the top we had views right across the kansai plain. The river was being mightily blue, and the bridge mightily white. The city almost looked pwerty.


Went to a lovely Thai restaurant with Ena and Mariko. I won some little towels with my beer. Hurrah :-)


Shame about the strange look on my face. Mind you, not half as strange as the look on my face tonight.


Anyway, I must shower and go to bed. Bye Bye from Japan. My next upload will be from China. Let's hope TDM makes it through the sensors.

Bye bye Japan, thanks for having me.

xxx joseph

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