I am in Atami, sitting on the floor on four pillows with my back to the wall and trying to figure out whether all this up and down is really good for me. When I made all my hotel reservations I had trouble with Atami. All of the cheaper hotels were booked for the two nights I wanted. I wound up in a place you enter at the bottom of a steep hill in a Japanese style room. This was all a surprise to me. My hotel confirmation got printed out in Japanese. That should have been my first clue. Also a surprise is the lack of English speakers around here. This is supposed to be a famous resort, but not for us English speakers. The people at the info center were very nice, but no English. They directed me to the hotel, which seemed to be close to the station, but I had trouble following the map so I finally got a taxi. (Yes, Grace, it’s a great doctrine.) I couldn’t believe when he dropped me off. This place makes Pittsburgh look like flatland.
Of course, I was too early for check-in time, but I left my small suitcase (I shipped the larger one to my next stop, Okayama), and went up a long stairway back to the station to get the bus to MOA, the famous Museum of Art. As with many contemporary museums the building is more impressive than the art they were showing. You enter the building, already high on a hill, and immediately get on an escalator.
I didn’t count but I think there were six of them; very long escalators; 200 meters of escalators rising 60 meters. Very impressive, but ultimately boring.
Various write-ups say they have 3500 Japanese paintings with probably only a hundred or so on display. I did see a lovely display of Rinpa art that I enjoyed.
I managed to have three meals today. Breakfast in the train station was a small sandwich on white bread and a bottle of cold green tea. Lunch in the museum was tempura on rice. I really did not want tempura, which was greasy and stayed with me all afternoon, but they had no English menu and this was the best I could do with the waitress’s limited English. I am still surprised about it. I know that English gets more difficult outside of Tokyo and Kyoto, but Atami is supposed to be a famous resort.
On my way back to the hotel I stopped at a 7-11 and got rice wrapped in seaweed and something that looked like it might be spinach with scrambled eggs. I’m a little concerned about the lack of green stuff here since I have my coumadin balanced on a certain amount of it. I was hoping seaweed would make up for it but no such luck.
I think my jetlag is receding. It’s 7:45 and I’m still awake. First time since I arrived.