I got to Tokyo station at 7pm on Friday and met Rainer, Judd and Fujie there, while David was late as usual. There was no sign of Lawrence. He disappeared before our last trip as well.
From Tokyo, we took the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Yamagata, way up North, which took about 2 hours. Then a taxi van to the mountain town of Zao. There was some snow in Yamagata, but it didn’t look promising. Things got much better as we went higher up. The driver seemed to be in a hurry and the van skidded a few times on the icy road, but we survived. We arrived at the inn around midnight, took a bath and went to bed.
I should say something about the water. The whole place had a strong rotten egg stench and all the pipes and drains had yellow deposits indicating a high sulphur content. I wonder if the Japanese style baths have any good effect on the skin.