Got up early in the morning, and as I was packing, I was invited by one of the assistants at the hostel to eat the breakfast I had neither requested, nor paid for. Oh well, free meal (it was a little cold though – probably because I didn’t know about it and got there late). Calling this day “wet” would be a vast understatement. It was not “wet”, it was “soaking”. Of course, the Gifu hostel was in the middle of a cloud at the time…

It took me around a half-hour to walk the 2.5km road back to Gifu, where I could catch the bus to the train station. By this time, I was totally soaked. I opened my backpack at the train station, and everything was soaked (all of my clothes, books, maps, etc.). I was quite worried at this point that the Awara Youth Hostel would be booked solid (I hadn’t bothered to try making reservations after my first attempt). I figured that, at the worst, I’d just be forced to book into a nice hotel (oh, horrors [grin]). It was nice to be out of Gifu though. It’s a little like Prince George, B.C., (which is my hometown). Friends (and parents) of mine will immediately understand the reason I wasn’t too fond of Gifu. It was a little small for my liking, and there wasn’t much to see or do really… I would’ve liked to see the cormorant fishing, but that wasn’t for another month or two.

It took around 2 hours to get to Awara Onsen, and another hour or so to track down the hostel (I didn’t have a map, so I had to go and ask people for directions. No problem!). Upon arriving, I found the hostel more or less empty. Eventually, an older lady showed up, and checked me in, showed me my room, and vanished. I fired up the kerosene heater, dug everything that was still soggy out of my backpack, and sat in front of the heater and read some new manga I had picked up in Gifu two days earlier while my belongings dried out. It was really very comfortable, with the tatami mats, futons, heater, etc., it really “felt” Japanese!

Two Japanese university graduate-students arrived later that night (they were heading to Kanazawa for a conference of some sort), so we all sat around chatting, watching TV (True Lies in Japanese), etc. A very good day (aside from the weather!).