A damp start to the day. Rain was drizzling down, and I hadn’t brought an umbrella. A miserable way to start my trip to Hiroshima. I phoned mom in the morning (just to let her know that I was still alive and kicking).

Ok, everyone has heard it before: “The Shinkansen is really fast”. Well, it’s true! The journey from Tokyo to Hiroshima took around 4 hours (around 750km as I recall). I clocked the train a few times with my watch, and the average cruising speed seemed to be around 230km/hour. The weather seemed to be improving as we headed west, getting out the continual overcast skies of Tokyo, and into fluffy, scattered clouds. Relaxed on the train and drank cold green-tea (rather tasty!). Riding the Shinkansen feels more like flying, than taking the train. This feeling is heightened somewhat by the vendors who walk up and down the aisles, selling food, snacks, beer, etc. Being a foreigner, I found the vending girl’s polite bow as they entered/exited the train cars to be really cute! I’m sure the Japanese take no notice of it, expecting it as simple politeness, but coming from a country such as Canada, where customer service is usually “poor at best”, this extra level of politeness was very nice to see.

Arrived in Hiroshima, and made a beeline for the hostel (it was still rather cool outside). The guidebook said “look for the Daiei department store”. I was still not “thinking in Japanese”, so I wandered around for 15 minutes until I decided to try reading some of the stores’ katakana signs. Found store, found bus-stop, went to hostel. The hostel was not quite as nice as Yoyogi, but still quite comfortable.

Sidenote: At this point in my diary, I have the following, written in Japanese “Nihon ni takusan kawaii onna no hito desu yo! Arigatoo Nami-sensei”. Which, when translated, is basically “There are lots of cute girls in Japan. Thanks Nami!”

This note was probably inspired after I used my Japanese to chat with some rather pretty Japanese girls in the hostel that evening.