February 26, 2016

Trip to Tsudanuma, Chiba, Part 1/千葉県津田沼への旅、パート1

On February 24, my son and I took the Joetsu Shinkansen again for another university entrance exam on the following day, Feb. 25, in Tsudanuma, Chiba prefecture. More specifically, the secondary exam of a national university. The secondary exams of all national and public universities are held on this particular day. The primary exam is the "Center Test", conducted on two days in mid-January.
2月24日、息子と私は、また上越新幹線に乗りました。翌日2/25に千葉県津田沼で行われる大学入試を受けるためです。正確に言うと、国立大学の二次試験です。全ての国公立大学の二次試験がこの日に行われます。一次試験は、1月中旬の二日間行われる「センター試験」です。

The transfer time at Echigo-Yuzawa station for changing trains from the Joetsu Line to the Joetsu Shinkansen was only 6 minutes, so we bought some snack at the local supermarket, Harimaya.
I bought a cheese bun and a can of beer.
越後湯沢駅での、上越線から上越新幹線に乗り換えるための乗り換え時間はたった6分なので、地元のスーパー、「はりまや」で軽食を買いました。
私が買ったのは、チーズパンとビール一缶。 
Cheese bun from Matsuya, located in Tsunan.
津南にある松屋のチーズパン。
Sapporo Nama (Draft) Beer, Kuro (Black) Label:
サッポロ生ビール 黒ラベル:
500 ml can, 258 yen at the supermarket. Probably a little bit more expensive at a kiosk.
500 mlの缶で、このスーパーでは258円でした。キオスクでは、もうちょっと高いと思います。

Why did I select this particular brand? You will see the answer soon.
なぜこの銘柄を選んだかは、まもなく分かります。

The two-storied Max train was quite crowded, just as I had expected, so we went to the first floor of the train. Even so, we were unable to sit next to each other. On the first floor, the scenery from the window is not very appealing.
二階建てのMaxは予想通りかなり混んでいたので、一階に行きましたが、それでも隣同士に座れませんでした。一階の窓からの景色はあまり魅力的ではありません。

Ueno Station:
上野駅:
You can see that the bottom of the window sill is lower than the platform.
窓枠の下部がプラットフォームより低いことが分かります。

Inside the train:
電車の内部:

At Tokyo Station, we took the Somu Line, rapid.
東京駅で、総武線快速に乗りました。

Japanese version:
日本語:
English:
英語:
After the Narita Express train left the station, the Somu Line train came.
成田エクスプレスの電車が駅を出てから、総武線の電車が来ました。
Tokyo Sky Tree (left side of the photo), seen from the Somu Line train:
総武線の電車から見た東京スカイツリー(写真の左側):
It was a 27-minute ride from Tokyo to Tsudanuma.
東京から津田沼まで27分でした。

We went to the hotel, checked in, went out to see the exam site, and returned to the hotel. I went out again soon so my son could study some more, and strolled around the town, went back, had a bath in a tiny "unit bath". He also had a bath. At around 7 o'clock, we went out for dinner. We went to Royal Host this time. This particular "fami res" (family restaurant) chain is a bit pricier than than others, but I intentionally selected this one because I wanted to have dinner in a calm, relaxing atmosphere.
ホテルに行き、チェックインし、試験会場を見に行き、ホテルに戻りました。私は、息子がもう少し勉強できるように外出し、あたりを散策し、戻り、小さな「ユニットバス」に入りました。息子も入って、7時頃、夕飯に出かけました。今回はロイヤルホストに行きました。この「ファミレス」(ファミリーレストラン)は、他と比べてちょっと高めですが、落ち着いたリラックスした雰囲気で食事をしたかったので、ここを選びました。

The waitress (should I use the term server?)  offered us two tables by moving one table to contact with the next one. I later learned that we were not special. The elderly couple, who came later, was also offered two table. There were no youngsters or young couples as far as I could see.
ウェイトレスは、一つのテーブルを隣りのテーブルに接するように移動させ、テーブルを2つ用意してくれました。後でそれが特別ではないことが分かりました。後で来た老カップルにもテーブルが2つ用意されました。見渡す限り、若い人や若いカップルはいませんでした。

Kirin Premium, Medium
キリンプレミアム、中
594 yen
594円

My son ordered a kuro buta (black pig pork) hamburger and a C set.
息子は黒豚ハンバーグとCセットを頼みました。

The C set includes corn soup.
Cセットにはコーンスープが入っています。

Rice.
ご飯。
The waitress informed my son that he could have a large portion with no addition cost, so he asked for it.
ウェイトレスが、無料で大盛りにできるというので、息子は大盛りを頼みました。

Avocado salad:
アボカドサラダ:
378 yen. More than half of it had already been eaten by my son before I could take a photo.
378円。写真を撮る前に、息子が半分以上食べてしまいました。

Kuro buta hamburger: 1,274 yen
C set ("drink bar" included): 583 yen.
黒豚ハンバーグ:1,274円
Cセット(「ドリンクバー」込み):583円

I ordered Katsudon!
私はかつ丼を注文しました!
To pray for my son's success in the exam, naturally.
もちろん、息子の試験合格を祈って、です。

The decanter wine was quite expensive (more than 1,000 yen), so I ordered a glass of wine, instead.
356 yen.
356円。

We had a satisfying meal in a calm atmosphere. We later went to the supermarket in the basement of PARCO to buy some food. We then parted there. I headed for Jiyu Kukan (Interet cafe).
落ち着いた雰囲気で、満足のいく食事をしてから、パルコの地下1階のスーパーに食べ物を買いに行きました。そこで息子と別れ、私は自遊空間(インターネットカフェ)へ行きました。
4th floor of a building.
ビルの4階です。
This was my very first visit to such a cafe. I didn't expect much from it, but I did enjoy the stay there. I was there until a little after 11 o'clock.
このようなカフェに行くのは初めてで、大したことないだろうと思っていましたが、行ってよかったです。11時過ぎまでいました。

Then, I went back to the hotel. My son was still studying on the bed.
それからホテルに戻りました。息子はまだベッドで勉強していました。
***
Feb. 25
2/25

We got up at 7 o'clock in the morning. My son said he couldn't have a sound sleep (me either). We went down to the first floor to have breakfast.
朝の7時に起きました。息子は熟睡できなかったそうです(私も)。1階に行き、朝食を食べました。

The Toyoko Inn Hotel chain is unique in that they offer breakfast (buffet style) to their guests free of charge. I had everything offered for that day, such as four different types of onigiri (rice balls), two types of bread, curry, and potato salad.
東横インホテルでは、お客に朝食(バイキング形式)を無料で出してくれます。私は、その日に出された物をすべて食べました(4種類のおにぎり、2種類のパン、カレー、ポテトサラダなど)。




Coffee
コーヒー
I finished my meal with a bowl of houji cha (roasted green tea).
最後はほうじ茶で締めました。
As usual, I had more than enough so I didn't feel hungry even at noon.
いつも通り、昼になってもお腹がすかないよう、一杯食べました。

I must say I can never be used to a Western-style hotel room.
私は洋式のホテルの部屋にはとても馴れません。

Indirect lighting:
間接照明:
 
Bed.
ベッド。
Western-style bathroom.
様式のバスルーム。

A bath tub and a toilet in the same room.
浴槽とトイレが同じ場所。

Just my opinion, but I'm sure a lot of Japanese feel the same way.
私の意見ですが、同じように感じる日本人は多いと思います。

To our surprise, the hotel room had a balcony.
驚いたことに、このホテルの部屋にはバルコニーがありました。
We checked out, and went to a konbini (convenience store) first to get a bento and some snack.
チェックアウトして、まずはコンビニに行き、弁当や軽食を買いました。

View from the north exit of JR Tsudanuma Station.
JR津田沼駅の北口からの景色。

We parted in front of the exam site a little after 9 o'clock. I headed to Jiyu Kukan again. I had an important mission: Access the website of a private university to tell if my son passed the test. The announcement was to be made at 10:00 a.m. I learned he passed the test at 10:03. Then, I left Jiyu Kukan immediately, called my wife to tell her, and hurried to the bus stop where a free shuttle bus service is offered.
9時ちょっと過ぎに試験会場前で別れ、私はまた自遊空間に行きました。重要な任務がありました。私立大学のサイトにアクセスして、息子が試験に受かったかどうかを知ることです。発表は午前10:00に行われる予定でしたが、私は10:03に合格したのを知り、すぐに自遊空間を後にし、妻に電話で伝え、無料シャトルバスがあるバス停に急ぎました。

South exit of Tsudanuma Station. You can see the Loyal Host restaurant at the center of the photo.
津田沼駅の南口。写真の中央にロイヤルホストの店が見えます。
Tsudanuma Station
津田沼駅
Morisia:
モリシア:
While waiting for the bus, I called to make a reservation. The bus arrived on time, 10:20.
バスを待っている間に、電話をして予約をしました。バスは定刻10:20に来ました。
The bus arrived at the destination a little before 11 o'clock.
バスは11時少し前に目的地に着きました。
Destination: Sapporo Chiba Factory!
目的地: サッポロ千葉工場!

I wanted to make a reservation for a factory tour no later than three days before the desired date, as described on the website of the beer manufacturer, but I was unable to, because of the important mission described above. That's why I called them at the bus stop on the very day. Luckily, my request was fulfilled.
ビール会社のサイトに書いてある通り、希望する日にちの三日前までに工場見学の予約をしたかったのですが、上記した重要な任務のため、予約できなかったので、当日、バス停で電話をしたというわけです。運よく、私の要望は通りました。







To be continued.
続く。


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hiroyuki-san: I stayed at several Toyoko Inns during my recent trip to Japan. While the breakfast was quite filling, some of the cooked foods like the miso soup and the fried rice had a lot salt or msg. My mouth felt very dry for several hours and I had to drink a lot of water. Did you have the same experience?

Hiroyuki said...

Anonymous: No fried rice was offered on that particular day, and I found the miso soup was "salted" properly (with miso, of course). I didn't have such an experience.

I understand that people from other countries, especially Western countries, have problems with MSG, but here in Japan, such problems are unheard-of.

Maybe Toyoko Inns and other hotels should start thinking of the impact that salt and MSG can have on non-Japanese people more seriously...

9895039531 seeandoh said...

Your Travelogue and photos are very nice. A foreigner like me can see and get a lot of information from such write ups. The menu and dishes you have in Japan is interesting. Very simple but filling and delicious. Here in India, we use a lot of spice but now Indian dishes are getting popular in Western Countries also.

9895039531 seeandoh said...

Good to know your Son passed the examinations. Congratulations. Why don't you post some family photos if you don't mind. I haven't see even a photo of yours.

Hiroyuki said...

seeandoh:

Traditional Japanese cuisine focuses on the natural flavors of individual ingredient, but the Japanese palate has changed greatly. We love spicy food, too!

No photos of us, because my family, especially my wife, do not want to be identified.

A Hairy Viking said...

I find a toilet in the bathroom strange too but I live in Western Australia. Our toilets tend to be separate. Even in the ensuite the toilet is in it's own little room with a door.

A Hairy Viking said...

Too many weird people out there now. I also don't want to be splashed over the internet. I like my privacy!

Hiroyuki said...

A Hairy Viking: Toilet in the bathroom strange? Glad to know that I'm not the only one who feels that way!