Our stay in the hotel following Nagashima was different to what we had experienced so far. Instead of all staying in a large major chain hotel, we split into two groups to stay in single room business hotels. After dropping off the overnight bag (our luggage was still elsewhere) I went to explore Yokkaichi, the city in which we were staying. Heading in the direction of the nearest camera shop (it was my turn to get a new memory card) I wandered to see what was about.

Yokkaichi calls itself "the city which is wide open to the world" and has close ties with Long Beach USA and Tianjin in China. This may explain why I found a car lot selling cars adorned with chinese style decorations. I was looking for a Chinese guy in a cowboy hat running out to show me the offer of the day, but it never happened.

This was an English language school in the city, which was running evening classes. In my introduction I said that I had wanted to teach English in Japan when I was younger and I would likely have ended up in places like this, teaching locals how to correct common mistakes with their English.

I actually hovered outside this place for about 5 minutes trying to decide whether or not to pop in and see if I could join a class and help out! After all I do have over 30 years experience ofthe language. In the end I didn't know the etiquette around gate crashing and suspected that my invitation may not be welcome, so I chickened out.

Yokkaichi is a mid-sized city (for Japan) with around quarter of a million people living there. Pretty big usually but dwarfed by the population dense cities of both Tokyo and Osaka. There were no major skyscrapers from what I could see, and it was getting quite dark so couldn't see too far.

Yokkaichi has one major train station, and this is it! It houses a bunch of shops and restaurants. Looking for dinner I went for another bento box and took it back to the hotel to eat. I later found out that the city's red light district was on the other side of the station between it and the hotel. Most of the people exploring the city had stumbled into it by accident. Having headed off in the other direction when leaving the hotel I'd missed it all !

Here's the hotel that we were staying in and it was very grand for a business hotel. I was hoping it would be a pod hotel, something I had seen years ago and always wanted to try. However they're exclusively men only so difficult for the organisers to arrange. There was also the chance that I may have been too tall to fit in one.

Here's the room, definitely pokey but it contains everything you need, even Japanese porn channels, which Tim rather disgustingly didn't like due to the excessive pixelation that happens in Japan.

and here's the view out of the window, taken the morning after. Probably the worst view of the trip so far but it had tough competition as I've had some of the most amazing views on this trip. It was off to another zoo then Fuji-Q to ride Dodonpa, the ride I was looking to ride the most.


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