About Time
189 kms & 2 hours

A simple calculation would yield that I would have to travel at 94.5 km/hr to reach there on time. How did I get here. I have never missed a plane in my life, and I sure don’t want this to be the first time. 
A days earlier … Tokyo, 13.07.19
I like my weekends after a business trip, especially in Japan, one of my favourite destinations. Under the theme “Hidden Tokyo” my good friend Narm planned a one-night trip to Manza a hot spring resort 1.8km above sea level. When my friend plan the trip I asked him for, I don’t really think twice. 
An hour on a Shinkansen and an hour by bus is not a bad plan. We arrived at Karuizawa via Shinkansen where everything except the bullet train itself moved at 0.5x of Tokyo speed. We spent the morning hopping cafes and walking the tourist street knowing that it’ll be a relaxing evening once we reach the hotel. Planned travel, unplanned travel, semi-plan travel, different people have different preferences. Luckily, we operate in similar wavelengths at least for these two days.
Karuizawa Station
Our Cafe View
We found out that this is one of the higher parts of Japan once we arrived at the hotel after another hour of bus ride. The summer weather in Nagoya is cloudy with a chance of rain, but it didn’t stop us from walking out to visit the only walkable destination, a small shrine up the hill from the hotel. It was a good walk and helped us enjoy the 9 different outdoor onsen pool slightly more later in the day.
Manza Village
Onsen’s Liquid Silver
Manza, 14.07.19
And that was about it, my relaxing weekend was supposed to end nicely with us taking a late-morning bus down to Karuizawa station and catch the Shinkansen back to Tokyo. We checked out, wait at the lobby, board a bus that planned to take us down. Then, Murphy’s law went into action. 
Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong
Murphy’s Law (blame the movies & internet)
Half way down the descend, we realised the two lanes road came to a halt. According to Google Map & untranslable spoken words , there was an accident that occurred ahead of us. Great, nothing like a little surprise and excitement I thought to myself. Then as the time pass, the stress level started to rise. It seems like my deadline are running toward me, while I’m standing still far away from my destination. We were at the back of the van, I had my backpack on my laps, planning to jump down the bus, ask people for forgiveness as I run pass everyone, but I didn’t get to use that plan. Curves on the road felt like the musical ramp up of Giant Step by Coltrane, more intense at every turn. The Shinkansen we booked included a gap time between the bus arrival and train departure, but it was not enough.
Eventually, we realised that the bus, and our arrival time at the station, is out of our control. Calming down, we tried to think about what’s in our control one by one: calling the airline for a change of flight, finding luggage delivery options, different transportation from Karuizawa station. It turns out that we can leave on a later train at 1.50pm that would take us to Tokyo by 3.10pm. That means we have 50 mins from Tokyo station > Picking up my luggage at my Hotel > Haneda Airport (hopefully in-time for luggage check-in). It was quite an experience to remember, but I had a great team of support from handy google maps, Japanese translation of a two-stop taxi sentences, my buddy Narm that can take my luggage if it couldn’t be checked in time to the great driver and his acceleration. I made it at the end at the end right before the last luggage call, and I maintain my streak of never missing any flights. 
From an unplanned traveller, I think from now on, I’ll be slightly more planned maybe about the worst case scenario especially when transit are involved (possibly some contingency around that too). At the end of the day, this experience is what made it all worthwhile. 
P.S. What does it has to do with Swiss cheese? (google it!)

You may also like

Back to Top