Day 2 1/2

Day 2 wasn't half as exciting as Night 2, but there is a lot of schlepping to tell you about before I get to the evenings festivities. After being fed an awesome omelette by Diane, 
I boarded the Asama Express for Nagano.
Sat next to a nice lady who is married to one of the Canadian Mens Hockey Team Coaches. For you hockey fans out there, her husband played for the Bruins for 15 years. Can you guess who her husband is?
I arrived at Nagano station only minutes after The Great One and his NHL buddies passed through. Sorry to have missed such a big photo op. I'll be better prepared by the time Salt Lake City (2002) rolls around.
In any event, unlike Wayne,I had no accomodations waiting for me. I checked with the folks at the tourist info center and they said my only hope was a capsule hotel nearby. There was a "Reservation Full" sign outside and it didn't even open until 5pm.
Fortunately, I opted to walk a little further down that street where I discovered, Neo Wave Internet Space. I made a mental note, decided to worry about finding accomodations later, and set off to find a place to store my (fairly heavy) bag. Train Station lockers - Full. Station three local stops away - No Lockers. Nagano Bus Station lockers - Full. Two hours and a sore back later, I wound up back at the Internet Cafe with my backpack next to me. I caught up on some email and fiddled with the websites a bit. I asked the nice managers here if I could leave my bag for a couple of hours, and they said OK. On my way out, I stopped by the capsule hotel and was informed that they would have a "slot" for me tomorrow night. 
Relieved, I set out to explore Olympicland as the sun began to set over Nagano. I misread the map and wound up heading in a direction that led away from the action. Still, cool to check out the more normal side of this town and wouldn't you know it I stumbled across a computer megastore. I made it back to the Net Cafe 30 minutes before it closed, picked up my bag, put it in a locker at the train station, and got ready to begin a long night of exploring Olympic nightlife. 
I arrived at the Media Village just as the main venues wee closing up. The big sponsors set up their own kiosks or stores to hawk their wares. In the case of Coke, there are 1/2 dozen of these shops - each with a very hyped up girl (must be too much Coke) out front inviting passers-by to have a Coke and a smile. You'll have to hear this (when I get back) to really appreciate the vocal capacity of a 'demure' looking Japanese woman.
Having finished the three slices of pizza that Diane packed for me and feeling the noodle craving pangs intensify, I began hunting for a noodle shop. I walked into the first one I came to and the festivities began.

Reid and Brian are cameramen with CBS filming freestyle skiing, Cheiko is an accountant, Rick and Wolfgang are the Dutch and German hockey announcers, Akiko... I'm not sure what Akiki does, and I can't remember much about the Swiss guy either except that he really liked the Bon Jovi tunes at Karaoke. The audio and video pix will convey more of the tone (or lack thereof), but suffice to say, it was a fun first night.

I'm going to wrap this up quickly because the Olympics are going on outside and I am tired of being in front of this machine (as hard as that may be to believe). I wandered town until daybreak - had a cocoa at Royal House (Japan's answer to Denny's), bundled up at the train station for awhile, and made it up to Zenkoji Temple just after sunrise. 

Only 4 more hours til I can check into my capsule. Not feeling too tired, but suspect I'll sleep well tonight. Have no idea what I'll do now, but stay tuned to find out.

Day 1
Day 2 1/2
Day 4 
Photo Gallery
Days 1-4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9