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Published: September 24th 2013
Tuesday- Day Four Toyama prefecture and Takaoka- north west coast of Honshu.
Upon arrival in Japanese port all passengers regardless of whether they are disembarking need to go through a face to face immigration procedure. This involves being digitally fingerprinted; thermal imaging for heat, and a photo, so 3000+ passengers requires some logistics in accomplishing this smoothly.
It was so amusing to see people who just would not line up try various strategies to not queue; bullying of staff, cutting in line, trying to join the tour lines, pushing in, distraction, lying, you name it, it was tried.
This only happens once, so our other 3 Japanese stops are basically get on and off.
Really the whole process from line up to getting on the wharf was less than 45 minutes, and Takaoka had a never ending line up of free shuttle buses ready to take us into city. These did a 35 minute loop stopping at various points where you could jump on and off at will.
Takaoka is a small city near the port, extremely tidy,no sign of any rubbish or litter, just a normal little place who rolled out
the welcome mat. Lines of stalls, dancing, bands, welcome speeches and fireworks on departure.
On the drive in from the port it was amazing to see small fields of rice being grown between the houses, middle of suburbia, with no lawns, no waste of space. Petrol was equivalent to $1-61 a litre.
We visited the Aeon Mall where I was delighted to find the children's book"where the wild things are" in Japanese. I bought a pair of shorts and TShirt for $15-, and we had a real coffee, Starbucks!!!
Our Japanese is minimal to nonexistent but people were so polite and helpful, using lots of mime and gestures and really tried very hard to help us everywhere we went.
Our second stop was at the Takaoka railway station where we walked up and over the rail line into town and to Kojo Park. Looking through the small museum and zoo and immaculate park surrounds was a nice way to spend a hot and humid day. We took pot luck and bought an ice-cream on a stick. It was a red bean/milk mixture, odd, very frozen but quite refreshing.
have also had a stop at a temple and at a department store in the downtown area, but by 3pm we were hot and tired. Opposite the train station whilst waiting for our bus we went into a building we thought was a store. Instead it was a huge building full of pokie type machines, row after row, with the most deafening sound I have ever heard. A cacophony of sound that was truly astounding. Young hostesses made up with false eyelashes the size of small spiders worked the aisles; their hearing would be totally destroyed within a month of working there.
We chose not to do one the numerous tours on offer; they are priced from $50 to $120. We like to get out there with the locals seeing snatches of real life rather than sitting on buses with the people from the cruise.
Once back on board the ship, we tried out the adult only pool section in the late afternoon; the pool was refreshing after such a sticky hot day. This section also has 2 x 10 person spas and is a child free zone.
The main pool area has 2 swim
pools, and 2 smaller spas & 2 larger spas.
We dined silver service tonight whilst watching the ship pull away from the quay; you could barely feel the movement as we got underway.
I had the ice skating rink almost all to myself tonight, while Martin went to the casino and played roulette. Almost got my skating groove back, was lovely. And joining the casino fun, we ended up playing all night until 12-30am, and came away with$150 profit.
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