Trip 1st day
September 21st
Fujisawa - Niigata - Ferry (On the way to Hokkaido)

At 9:30PM on September 20th, our adventure started. Just after we dismissed our Saturday night Bible class, we left our home. It was raining and dark. I remember that we also had rain in 2 years ago when I drove to Niigata to catch the same ferry. I did not plan to use toll road because it costs about $100 to go to Niigata - less than 250 miles. Expressways are ridiculously expensive in this country. We figured it would take about 10 hours to arrive Niigata by just using city streets. Still I was thinking to use one section of toll way to avoid ups and downs of high mountains between Gunma prefecture and Niigata prefecture. It costs about $10 for just one section, but we could save lots of time by using long straight tunnel (about 7miles) instead of curvy mountain road. Somehow I missed the Inter Change and ended up driving long and winding ups and downs in the dark. It was not so bad because there was not much traffic, and rain was not so hard by that time. John tried his best to keep awake, but he went to sleep while I was driving there.
Anyway I managed driving down to Niigata without any problems earlier than I expected. We bought tickets and finished paperwork to ride the ferry by 7:30AM.

Our car, Subaru Rex in Niigata

Now we had to do two things. One is breakfast at McDonald's. The other was to find out if North Korean ship is in Niigata.
Somehow Japanese McDonald's does not open before 8AM. We successfully located one but had to wait for a while until they open.
After we ate, we asked a girl in McDonald's if she knew anything about North Korean ship. Very recently North Korea celebrated their 55th anniversary. For the preparation of the ceremony, their ship had been coming to Niigata sometimes to get lots of stuff from Japan. We thought that we might see the ship. But the girl was not sure. We drove around the harbor but could not find anything like the North Korean ship. We gave up and decided to go back to ferry.
Ferry Lilac

This is the Ferry we rode to Hokkaido.


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