Thursday, December 10, 2009


Three weeks ago I met my friend C in Shimoda for the weekend. We chose it because it was close to Tokyo (where she lives) and is on the coast. It's not on any must see list of Japan but it notable in that it's the port where Commodore Perry arrived in 1855 with his eight black ships and "suggested" that it would be nice if Japan were to end its self enforced isolation and trade with the US. (A few cannonballs convinced the Japanese that it would be wise to comply.) And so Japan was opened.

What the Lonely Planet Guide does not tell you, however, is that there are TWO Shimodas in Japan. And the one where we were headed does not have a very easily identified train station name. I knew that I needed to go to Izukyu-Shimoda because I was the one who poked around on the internet and booked our hotel. C is a trainee lawyer in an international firm and frequently works until 10pm so she didn't really have the time to do any research. We found out though when she ended up north of Sendai, hours away from where she wanted to be. By the time she realized her mistake there were no more trains back to Tokyo, let alone Izukyu-Shimoda. So I spent the first night and morning alone.

But after that small hiccup, we had a lovely trip. We took a cable car ride up for some views of the bay and the Pacific. We rode on a poor imitation of a Black Ship. And we visited a local onsen (a first for C.) Sunday, we hiked along the beach and wandered around town before heading back. We talked so much on the train back that I left my bag on the overhead rack when we got off. I was almost on the shinkansen back to Nagoya when I realized I was sans suitcase. I had to sprint back to the other train, which luckily was a local and hadn't left again yet.

Our plan was to meet again before Christmas but it looks like the only way that is going to happen is if I steal up to Tokyo and hang out in the afternoon by myself while she works on yet another deadline. Makes me glad I'm not a lawyer!



Small island with a shrine and a few fishermen.

Perry Road - named in honor of Commodore Perry

Tourist gimmick that we totally bought into.

Temple where the US and Japan signed their first treaty.

How Japan "really" felt about the US. (Actually they held a sumo contest in honor of signing the treaty.)


1 comment:

  1. Your traveling stories are so much like mine (leaving your suitcase on the train, you and your friend booking different hotels with the same name) maybe there really is a curse... ;)