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Overview of today:
The sleek Shinkansen Kodama #637 zips me from Tokyo station to Odawara. I switch trains to the local train to Shin-Matsuda, a small station, and then take a spectacular ride to Gotemba. First stop: a taxi ride to a quiet tour of the Kirin Distillery Fuji Gotemba and a polite 20-minutes at their free whiskey bar. Second stop: a short train ride and a thirty-minute walk to the Mt. Fuji Komakado Cave. Sounds tedious? Far from it! Back to Gotemba station for the long wait for the free shuttle bus to my hotel. Boring? Not so! The bus is full of people in a really good mood. What’s this? Ice skaters? Acres of free parking? Hordes of people milling around outdoors? It’s the huge Gotemba Kogen Resort. So this is what local people do for fun! Ah, and my hotel is called Hotel Brush Up, which is encouraging. It’s Merry X’mas lights, big time!