From Nagasaki to Tokyo

As we walked back to the tram through the memorial park, we saw this: A plastic stylized totempole, unmistakable based on North American west-coast native design, and donated by Rotary International. How very peculiar that something in this location from that group would look this... bad.

There are several "Bullet Train" designs, and each seems to have a different maximum speed, and cost per ticket! Our Japan Rail Pass permitted unlimited travel on the "Ordinary" bullet trains, but not on this one, the "Nozomi" bullet train, the current speed champ. The Nozomi trains are usually full of business passengers on business trips. It makes fewer stops, and other trains have to move out of its way by waiting at sidings or stations. Well, we got our wish to try one, as the train we were scheduled to take needed to be replaced by this Nozomi for part of the trip back to Tokyo. So we boarded this very aerodynamic looking machine...

Even though we were able to get onto a Nozomi bullet train, it still had to make all the "Ordinary" stops, BUT it could sure fly between stations! Here'a a picture of the data coming off my GPS unit, note the maximum speed so far: 287 km per hour!! The Nozomi's rated max speed is 285, so we got the full deal. In comparison the "Ordinary" bullet train is rated at 260 kmh, so it's no slouch either. But there was a real difference in ride quality: smoother, quieter at speed, and definately felt like it wasn't working as hard. Needless to say, the countryside goes by real fast at these speeds!

Back in Tokyo, while Yuko visited friends, I wandered the neighbourhoods for a last chance to soak up the atmosphere. This dragon astride this bell is actually just the very decorated loop by which the bell is hung.

And further down the street, there was Tokyo Tower in the daytime!!!

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