Thursday, March 20, 2008

Another weekend finally

Getting a two day weekend is no longer a rule but a rare exception. Last week I had the privilege of having a holiday on sunday. My teammates decided to go out and checkout the natural beauty of Japan. On sunday morning Rajasree and Akhilesh were supposed to wait for Siddharth and me in the station at 10 but we were fast asleep even around 10 30. I woke up and went to see what Siddharth was doing, he had just woken up. Then we both spoke about getting ready at will and taking off. Right then I saw Akhilesh and Rajasree marching like they wanted to kill us. They were waiting at the station for the last one hour and we dint have a cell phone, that dint help. At last we reconciled and decided to go to Hakone at around 11 am.

We took the train to Odawara and reached there around 12 noon. From there we took another train on the Tozan line to Hakone-Yumoto. It was a nice ride. The train from Odawara to Yumoto reminded me of India(The train near Ooty on which Shahrukh danced) since it was not very fast and went through a less populated region. It was great to see nature at its best. This region was not like the Tokyo or Atsugi. It is primarily a tourist spot. Everybody comes here to see the Mount fuji, old volcanoes and hot springs. On reaching Yumoto we had a look around the station just in hope of finding a desi restaurant. But we were not that lucky. That region hardly has any foreigners. Foreigners are only tourists over there. We ate biscuits for lunch and left for a further trail.

We took the cable car till a station called Gora, where we got down and took lot of pictures. It was where the real beauty of Hakone begins. We took the ropeway from there, The ropaway stops at many spots before reaching lake Ashinko. Each stop has its own beauty. Especially the mountains emit smoke all the time. It reminds one of documentaries on national geographic channel about earthquakes. Its about the nature being extremely beautiful and devastating all at the same time.

The best part of this whole journey is the views we get to see from the train, cable car and the ropeway. This is something I saw for the first time in Japan ie. the laid back life. In Atsugi/Tokyo I saw people only rushing from home to office and back. The trains were full of people either listening to music or playing with their cellphones. In short as slaves of technology. The story was very different in Hakone.

Anyway, last stop of the ropeway was lake Ashinko which was again very beautiful and we were supposed to take a cruise from there but we were late by 10 minutes for the last cruise. We had coffee in a coffee shop on the bank of the lake. We saw some very beautiful pieces of art on the wall of the cafe. It looked the same girls photo's that were drawn everywhere but at different stages of her life. I asked the old lady who served us coffee, if its some famous personality of this country whose potraits are kept for display. Her reply was that it was her own pics when she was 12, 13, 14 etc. Now she looked close to 60. I smiled at myself and we left. Not before we thanked her in japanese and she replied to us saying "Shukriya".

We left from Lake Ashinko in a bus to Odawara station and from their we took a train back to Atsugi. We had our dinner in Bismillah and bid farewell to Akhilesh who was due to leave later that week. Overall it was great fun to see a new face of Japan before getting back to the grind on monday.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Weekend atlast (last weekend)

It was a very long week. Each day of the week was very long. I think his is when you feel best about taking a break. I finished lots of unfinished business. The most imporant one being a much needed haircut. It was the first time in the last month since I left India.A desi gentleman, I met in the srilankan grocery guided me to a salon where he spoke to the hairdresser in japanese about how I like my hair to be cut. A salon is not the best place to experiment with a new language.

Next adventure of saturday afternoon was cooking chicken curry. To my surprise it turned out to be really nice. Almost like what Im used to eating at home. All thanks to the readymade masala mum had packed.Saturday evening was at the ebina masjid. It was a big gathering there as usual. Many new desi/paki faces. I made a new friend. His name is Faizan and even he belongs to Bangalore.

After dinner in the masjid we drove away to Yokohama about 30 minutes from Ebina. It was a casual drive. Even I tried my hand at driving on the Japanese roads. I was not that comfortable as I have only an Indian license, so dint drive on the main road.We were back in Ebina before fajr. Then, I returned home and hit the bed.

In the evening I had plans to go to Tokyo for some electronics market, which dint work out as I was catching up on my sleep. Went to Tokyo around late evening. Did my mogrib prayers in Yoyogi Uehara "Tokyo camii". It is one of the oldest mosques in Japan. Managed by turkish expats. It was a good experience.Then, I had a walk till yoyogi park. A jazz concert was on. Some of the Japanese audience of that concert guided me to the closest railway station and I returned home around 9 PM.Overall it was a much needed break and an eventful weekend. Not much to write, but the experiences were fun. For now its back to work.