As I previously wrote, the 5th ended with us a couple of thousand meters up the side of Mt. Fuji, leaving us with a lot more to do before we could get some sleep! It turns out it was even more than we'd imagined...
Having left Chris at Goten-ba station we sleepily discovered we needed to make a short walk to the Goten-ba IC (intercity) bus station in order to catch our long awaited 4 hour bus ride to Nagoya, where we could finally get some long sought after sleep. The bus arrived late (apparently they're just as prone to delays as British buses, unlike their trains) and took 5 and a half hours to arrive, rather than 4, but we weren't complaining a comfy seat and time to sleep is what it is!
On arrival we found all the information spots in the Nagoya Station to be completely shut (it now being about 7 in the evening) so we made our way to the Mariott hotel to try and get a map and some help. It is genuinely hilarious watching the (I suppose natural) reaction for expensive hotel staff to usher unwashed Fuji-climbing backpackers out of their expensive establishment fight against the Japanese bottomless selflessness and helpful attitudes. The poor bellboy kept trying to shoo us away, then brought us back to give personal advice, hilarious!
After a little wander we found a hotel that, while being too expensive, gave us discount coupons for a Capsule hotel nearby. This is where I am now, but this is no hotel you've ever seen before...
You're shown in, given a locker key and given strict instructions that you are to get changed (=naked) and go to the sauna/onsen, dry yourself and put on the 'capsule wear' and then peruse the establishment. Another excellent shower/bath/shower combo later and I'm wandering around a spookily communist seeming recreation area, with a wall of TVs, super-massage chairs (with inbuilt TVs) web PCs and a proper massage area.
Round the corner are the actual capsules which, though I haven't actually been to see yet, are enormous pipes with a bed and a TV in with a blind at one end. Litterally a capsule for you to R&R in.
The reason I haven7t been to my 'room' yet is because we decided to go out for dinner. By sheer fluke we ended up in a local unpolished (well, actually fairly polished, but unburdened by expense) gem of a restaurant. Traditionally Japanese and with whole piles of fresh ingredients laid out at the centre of a U-shaped dining area, you just pointed at what you liked, noded, bowed, smiled at and charmed your chef (at the other edge of the 'U') and he'd grill, slice or build whatever you like.
The staff were so incredibly pleased to have gaijin (foreigners) in their restaurant, they knocked whole 0's off the cost and the characteristically helpful Japanese couple to my right helped us understand the menu, order fdishes that complimented eachother and told us about how excited they were to find foreigners that we so enthralled by their world. They then proceeded to tell us that they'd only been told about the restaurant by a friend and that it was almost totally unknown by the inhabitants of Nagoya. I guarantee this will not remain for long! The food was so utterly delicious we are most definitely returning there tomorrow. Fresh sushi prepared centimeters infront of you, (local style) pork kebabs grilled inches infront of your face and crisp, local beer coupled with the unrivaled hospitality we've found everywhere we go - and all for just over 10 pounds, in a top-4 major city.
Our chef even came out of his booth to give us each his business card personally, an honour if we understood the couple sitting next to us. A final interesting nugget before I go and sleep the matress off my capsule; we were told that you do not tip in Japan, comission is included but if you are truely amazed by the quality of your meal, as we were, the correct thing to do is to thank the chef even more vigarously that you previousy would have done, and tell your friends. While they will likely nbot be offended by a foreigner trying to tip them, they will hunt you down to give your change to you!
Details of the restaurant will follow, if you're ever in Nagoya you'll know where to go!