Spent today in Karuizawa, as it is my birthday and I wanted to
relax. I made a list of things to do in Tokyo
and Chiba and planned
out a route. Megan and I went to a restaurant for dinner, then to
the local bowling alley, the Prince
Bowl. I had to use the heaviest ball, as my fingers are too big
for the balls they had, which I guess were sized for Japanese hands.
We then went downstairs to the Sega World and played on some of the video
Took the Shinkansen with Megan to Nagano City. Went to Zenko-ji
Temple, were the gardens are very nice. They were very-crowd
free, compared to the crowded temple area. We walked back along one
of the main roads to the station, having taken the subway to the temple.
I stopped and picked up some souviners. We walked further down the
street to a Kimono shop, so Megan could look at something, then a camera
store, `Animate' and the Heiando
bookstore on the corner across the square from the entrance to Nagano station.
We rode the local train back to Naka-Karuizawa.
Meg went by bike to the bank on the way to the station, while I walked to the grocery store. I think the store actually opened at 9:30 am, but I was in there are 9:15 am. When I got outside four minutes later, it was pouring rain. Dropped off the videos, and ran with my backpack on to the train station. Soaked, I arrived at the station 3 minutes before the Shinkansen arrived.
At Tokyo station we looked around for a while for a locker, finding a storage room we could use to store our stuff. We then headed for the JR Line to Oofuna, 45 minutes. Then took a monorail to Enoshima, 15 minutes.
In Enoshima, there was a light drizzel and we took a wrong turn right away. It took a while to find the Enoshima Aquarium, by which time it was pouring down. The aquarium was 1800 yen, but that included the Marine World and Marine Zoo, which we didn't go to. Only worth the price if you go to all three, as the aquarium isn't worth the price alone, its small and crowded. The next day, we saw a better aquarium in a department store.
The weather got a bit better as we walked to the station, where at a cafe we had chocolate cake and tea, 1000 yen each. We returned on the monorail to Oofuna, the department store was rather nice at the station. The washrooms are very nice there and all the stores very posh.
On the train to Tokyo, I opened a box of Pocky, offering some to Meg and the girl beside me. She took some and she and Meg started to chat. She spoke some English (and Chinese she has learnt at University). Her name is Akiko or Ako, she said. She worked with some friends at Hakuba for the Olympics. Unfortunately, she had to leave us at Yokohama, worst luck, I forgot to give her a business card. Oh well.
We got to Tokyo station, easily found (stumbling upon) the room with our bags. We picked them up and headed off to Chiba, where we transferred and met Glenn at Mobara. We had taken the Rapid Express, which took just over an hour all told. Glenn met us there and we walked to his house and chatted. Went out for dinner at Coco's, a western restaurant, and then picked up a video on the way back to Glenn's.
We got up and went to see `Starship Troopers', which was rather violent, great special effects and an ok story line. Dropping Meg and I off at the train station, Glenn returned home a bit sick from his Korean trip. In Chiba Meg took a connecting train to Tokyo and then to Karuizawa. I looked around for a while for the Monorail. After asking a security officer, he took me to the fourth floor of a department store. I found the `Sports Center' stop, got a ticket and took the monorail. Then found out I was one station short and had to pay an additional 190 yen to go one more station. There is a baseball station next to the station, and I watched a game while waiting for the train. I asked a young couple, in Japanese, if it was a high school game, I think they said it was a professional match, oops.
Got to the zoo at 3:45 pm, it closes at 4:30 pm. The monorail track's exit were right beside Chiba Zoo. Only 500 yen to get in, and went against everyone trying to leave. The Zoo is quite nice and most of teh exhibit areas are big. The areas for the birds and apes could be bigger, but generally, it is far better than the Zoo in Osaka.
When I went to return to the Chiba
city JR station on the monorail, I had to wait over ten minutes in line
just for a ticket. The train was packed right back to the JR station.
There I decided to get a Japan Times
and get dinner. As the end of the station I had exited when I got
back to Chiba was pretty crappy, I thought the whole station would be.
Oops, again. As it turned out, the other end was quite nice and had
a McDonald's and a newstand (as well as a Japan
Travel Bureau). In the meantime, I walked around for an hour
and a half, around the outside of the train station. I discovered
the red light district, then couldn't find my way out. One very kind
elderly Japanese man offered me one his Spanish `employees' for 8000 yen.
I declined. There were several `books and newspapers' shops, but
none had anything like the Japan Times, as they were all adult bookstores.
Picked up McD's and headed for the tracks. Figuring out which train
might be headed for Mobara (map)
and asked the conductor, who said `Mobara OK' and pointed to the train.
I hopped on the train and because there was no seats available, I crouched
Japanese style and ate supper. After supper, I sat and read the newspaper.
The walk back to Glenn's, in the dark, seemed longer than before.
Took the train to Katsuma, had to wait 40 minutes before heading to Kamogawa. There I waited for 30 minutes, went to a bookstore and picked up a small writing pad and then found a MosBurger. Took lunch to go and headed for the train. It was one stop to Futomi. There I asked a girl if she spoke English and it turned out they had just been to Futomi Flower Centre. She also showed me when the trains were going to Kamogawa later.
It took about 10 minutes to walk there and was 600 yen. At least a dozen large greenhouses, plus two very large ones, in which they sold orchids and other plants. Some of the orchids that would fetch hundreds in Canada, were being sold for 2000 yen or less. The gift shop was tacky, but the soft ice cream was a pricy buy at 300 yen. Over all, the Futomi Flower Centre is a worthwhile side trip, if you enjoy flowers and gardens.
Took the train back to Kamagawa, and asked the conductor there if the train was bound for Namegawa Island. After skipping the first stop I got a bit worried. But we made the second and I was only one off Namegawa.
Namegawa Island is mostly for young children, but it is quite nice, though some parts are run down. At 1600 yen, the ticket price is quite high. The famingo herding was funny and saw peacocks fly onto a lawn. The park is hilly, but generally nice. The bird avary is good, and you can walk among hundreds of parrots and feed them. There was also guinea fowl, who'd fly on to a lawn and then run into a pen.
Heading back to Mobara, there were dozens of cranes in the fields.
A very nice sight.
I got the 9:40 am to Tokyo and it arrived at 10:35 am, being the limited rapid express. From there I took the Shinkansen to Ueno, a four minute trip and had to wait for 30 minutes for a train to Mito. I picked up some crousants and stowed my bag in a locker. The train ride was relatively fast and started to fall asleep. I picked up a burger from McD's and headed for the buses in Mito. Somewhat confused, I got on the bs and missed the stop and had to walk back though a neighbourhood to find the Kairaku-en Gardens.
It has over three thousand plum trees, too bad its not late March when the blossoms are out. There is a bamboo forest, bamboo grass field, Japanese spruce forest and a lovely house that belongs to the nineth Lord of Mito, one of the Tokugawa's. The view from the bluffs wa very nice, as were the ponds below the small bluff. Unfortunately, the JR line and a highway run below the cliff as well.
When I exited the park, I looked at the Omiage stalls. The woman there told me, in Japanese, to try some. I tried a cookie and it was good, so was some other things. She then tried to ask me things, very little of which I got. She called her mother out, and they had a few laughs at my Japanese. The mother kept giving me pieces of different types of plum candy, most of which was quite good.
I picked up two boxes for 530 yen and 740 yen. The woman also threw in some `presents' into the bag for me, some small candies. I then confusingly asked for directions to the JR station. It is down the hill and through the parking lot, to the bus stop, and then its a zig-zag route back to the station. Passing the station a few times.
At the station I quickly picked up supper at McD's, then went quickly to the train. I sat down in the first seat at the front, as it was mostly full. I sat next to Maiko, a second year university student from Yokohama. She studies German and I told her about Waterloo (and Kitchener) and the Oktoberfest there every year. I offered to have some info sent on to her from the U. of Waterloo.
I hoped off the train, got my pack out of the locker, got on the Shinkansen and then noticed a few rows ahead of me, Sharon. Popped up and said `Hi'. She told me about her trip to the Phillipines, where she was returning from.
The television show, `Shomuni' was on, its one of my favourite Japanese shows. The title song is by Peach Union, well at least in English it is, the Japanese remake is by Shazna.
Finished off my lesson plan, then had lunch. Very nice day outside, very hot. Went to the local high school, where Megan works, to give a lesson on Britain. I had to change my shoes as soon as I got there, and then had to take them off when I went into the English department. I met the English teacher Megan helps out.
We went to the class and the kids `ooowed' when I went in. Meg had to explain I wasn't Dennis and that I was an old friend. Some of the girl's hadn't paid attention and at the end of class they walked by and looked to see if I had a ring on my finger.
The talk went ok. I may have gone a little too fast when speaking and I could ahve been a bit louder. But as long as they got a little out of it, thats whats important. Such as, the capital of England is not Paris. there were two groups, one front left and one back right, who were more responsive than the others. May be eight or nine of the thirty-eight. They quite liked the pins and I gave the front group some of the maple sugar candies. We used then at the quiz at the end. I had to explain they where candies and not soap, as some thought.
After the class I chatted with some of the kids. Yumi and some of her friends and then Yoshi and some of his friends in their English club room. I briefly chatted with the teacher, Konuma-san. He was sad and happy I was there. Happy the students had met me, sad, because some of them hadn't understood me. He gave me a can of Coke as a thanks. Yoshi asked me if Megan took drugs, as he had just taken some. I wasn't sure what he meant, as he seemed a bit giddy, so I said no. Turn out it was vaccination and blood test day.
I returned home and started to clean up and do laundry. It then, of course, started to rain.
1:45 am, the town alarm goes off, speaking something in Japanese, Meg tells me to get up only if the telephone goes, as someone from the town would be calling to say if it was an emergency.
3:am, the alarm goes off again, this time, I think, to say the all was
I'd given up the idea of going to either Matsumoto or Tokyo
today, cus it was supposed to rain. Also getting up at 11:30am pretty
much scotched the whole plan. I got up and worked on the postcards.
It rained also most continuously all day. Met Sharon at the video stores
and we chatted. Had a bit of a problem at 7-eleven, as they where
out of 70 yen stamps and seven 10 yen stamps wouldn't fit on a postcard,
so I got a 80 yen stamp. I also picked up the second book in the Shomuni
series, but I can't read Japanese, yet. I also got a video, which
said it was English, but was actually Korean. As it is still damp
outside, my laundry from yesterday is still not dry.
Got up early to head off to Matsumoto. Ran to station, it takes forty minutes to walk there, I'd allowed thirty minutes. Dropped off the postcards in the post box by the 7-eleven. Train left six minutes later than I thought it did. The Shinkansen got into Nagano City at 9:43 am, too late for the limited express, so I took the local 10:02 am instead.
Sat beside a lovely woman, who spoke no English. This lack of fluency is getting frustrating. The train had to reverse twice on the way to Matsumoto. First to let another train by, and then because we had missed a stop and had to go back.
Picked up travel information guides, JR no help, the local tourism office was, and the person even spoke English. McD's across from the station for lunch, and later for ice cream.
Matsumoto Castle (another link, another good link ) was a 15 minute walk from the castle. The castle isn't as nice as Osaka or Himeji, but it may not have been as fully reconstructed as those two castles. I saw a light powder blue coloured Koi, but I couldn't get any pictures, as it was rather small. I did get some nice pictures of some Koi feeding.
I then walked through the town to a Park about 25 minutes from the castle. It was ok, as it was an urban park rather than a gardens. I then headed downhill to the station. The trip back to Nagano City was quite fast, as it was the limited express I had gotten on.
Then I had to wait 45 minutes for the Shinkansen. Headed over
to Heiando books for a few minutes. The train home was packed. Megan
and I went to an `Italian' restaurant for dinner.
Walked to the local Ginza for lunch, on the way stopping at the pond. Its a lot more overgrown now. Went to the Formula One shop, a very large PIAA-Tyrrell section. There is also a shop with just Tyrrell gear (one of their drivers is Japanese). Bumped into Kengo, one of Megan's students, who was at my lecture. Kengo thanked me for the lecture and tole us how he wants to go to USC for film studies. We walked to the station and chatted about relationships. Kengo asked me who I thought was pretty in his class. I said, Yumi, Irene and a girl who was sitting at the far back right in the class, as well as Chika, which Megan clarified which one I meant. We took the local train to the stop with the sundae shop, which is where Kengo lives. But there was going to be a two hour wait, so we went down the line two stops for me to go to a department store, so I could get a cd-player. But because I couldn't hear it play, I didn't get one. I will wait for Tokyo tomorrow.
Met Umi, one of Meg's students outside the video store. A lovely
girl, she just returned from an English language retreat in Guam.
Got home, and after a nap, we had dinner and I watched the Formula
One race. The race was a bit of a snore, Eddie was doing
really good, till Fischella took him out of the race. Michael S.
got third with the McLaren boys one-two. We called our Mothers and
wished them a Happy Mother's Day.
Rode the bike to the station, and took the Asama to Tokyo at 9:29 am. Very cold out and hands where frozen by the time I got to the station. In Tokyo, I checked out the route to the Narita Express, but it seemed a bit confusing. Hopefully it won't be too long.
Got on the train to Oofuna, and then the monorail to Enoshima, like last week. Got to Enoshima, it started to rain. What luck. Walked across to the island, then to the top where the gardens is. The gardens is a good hike up to the top of the island. It is best to go when it is not raining, and when the flowers are in bloom. A rather small gardens. I went up their observation tower and felt a bit of height sickness, which wasn't helped by the four elderly Japanese ladies chatting to me in Japanese and literally running around like school girls. I felt uneasy up so high, in the high winds and rain. Usually, Fuji-yama is visible, but not today. On the way back across the causeway, I thought this would be my last chance to put my feet into the Pacific. So I went on to the concrete steps, took my shoes off and walked into the water to emerce my feet, somewhat in the Pacific. Nothing great, but at least I did it. There was a few windsurfers out, but the rain was picking up and I headed back to the station, few where outside.
In Oofuna, school had just let out and some of the primary school kids where getting on the train. The girls, about seven or eight, where so cute in their sailor suits and old British style fashion uniforms. Their rim hats and brollies were so adorable. The train was quite busy and I got a seat after the first stop. When I got to Tokyo, I took the JR line to Akihabara, the electronic goods supermart area. The duty-free stuff was wildly over-priced and the cd-player I got was the same price I'd seen yesterday, in boonie-ville Nagano. But this time, after a bit of bother, I got to listen to the cd-player. It was Amuro Namie's `When I was a girl', a quite good tune. So I got it for 9400 yen, it was 14500 yen at the duty-free stores.
Looking for a bookstore, I gave up and headed for Tokyo station. The info girl greeted me, she now knows me, I have been there a few times asking for times. I picked up McD's, after being helped by a young woman, who walked half way across the station with me , I commented in Japanese, that `the station is a big town'. She laughed, so I think she understood. I picked up McD's nwe McGourmet burger, too dry and an obvious attempt to go after MosBurger's market for great burgers. Its in the basement, and hard to find. Picked up some film outside the station, 5 rolls of 400 speed, 24 exposure for 1300 yen, far less than inside the station, and you get a little toy.
Got the 7:16 Asama, which was packed after Ueno. When I got into Karuizawa, it was absolutely pouring down with cold rain. Changed into a windbreaker and hopped on the bike, but was unable to get the light to work, as it was so dark. I rode home, with the umbrella up. While I had been away, Meg had booked my room for my trip to Kanazawa. A very funny skit on SMAPxSMAP. It was about five minutes long and was a parody of the Titanic, with the female character saying none of the guys was cute enough, when they slide down the bow of the ship into the water.
Slept in my mistake, had to skip breakfast and ran to station for my train. Saw Irene, from Megan's Advanced English class, on the way there, and I said Hello to her. By the time I had gotten to the station, my right heal was hurting very badly. I got onto the train, and discovered my foot my bleeding. I asked the conductor on the train for a bandage, but he said there where none. I picked up some bandages from the pharmacy just outside the entrance to Nagano station, the pharmacist was very helpful.
I was able to get the Shinano 8, to Nagoya, at 9:45 am, so I should be at Nagoya by 12:40. This is a really nice trip, as there is a beautiful canyon on the west side of the tracks on the way to Nagoya. But once again, it is raining for me on this section. When I got to Nagoya, I found a sauna, massage parlour, a university, a McD's, HMV (where I picked up the new cd from Garbage, and I met a Canadian, the second in two days, last night met another in Tokyo). He showed me where the banks were, which is what I was looking for. The first didn't do traveller's cheques, so I went next door and was out with 90,000 yen in under five minutes.
After wandering around for 45 minutes, I went back to the station in search of the subway. With the help of a shaved headed girl, I found the Higashiyama line. Luckily, all the station names were in English as well as Kanji (which I copied for the station name). The Nagoya Zoo is right outside the station. Its one of the most western zoos in Japan I have seen. As I discovered, the botancial gardens is rather large. Definitely worth a second look and more time. The Japanese/Chinese gardens are quite nice, and the greenhouses are fantastic.
Having spent more time in the gardens than planned, I had to skip half of the zoo. The trip back on the subway was packed with school kids. I exited at Nagoya station, the signs stop part-way down the mall. So I had to double back, but did so on the surface. Missed any chance at supper, and had to rusj to get the train to Kyoto.
Foot is bleeding again, but will have to leave it to the hotel. The McD's in Kyoto is closed for Tuesday, for some strange Japanese reason. And no MosBurger, convienence store is five minute walk and I have only five minutes before train leaves. So I picked up a snack, and got on the train I thought I was supposed to take. Turned out to be a `sleeping car'. Oops. Basically, after being told I'd have to pay 8600 yen to go to Kanazawa, I am getting off at Tsuruga. Pass is no good for this train. Might have to wait two and a half hours for next train. Hopefully, a local train will come by. We pulled in at Tsugara at 7:30 pm, and I was lucky to get a connection which left at 7:36. I am now in a non-smoking car, which I also hope is non-reserved. This section of the trip is going a bit wrong, with the bloody foot, wrong trains, and lack of supper. I asked the conducor when the train would be getting into Kanazawa, he said 9:06, half an hour faster than the sleeping train. He didn't even ask for my ticket.
Considering the monsoon outside, the four odd minutes I was outside to get to the hotel, I got soaked all the same. The hotel was a bit much at 6900 yen, a bit much, but good considering how close I am to the station, its not bad, and the bad weather. The tv is pay by the day, for 1300 yen. So I won't be seeing `Conspiracy Theory' again. The hotel is big and seems clean. They have a massage service, but its all in Japanese so I'll have to give it a miss, even though I really would like one.
Took the bus to Kenroku-en Gardens, no. 90. Hopped off outside the gates to the gardens. The gardens are rather over populated by tour groups, all of which were on the same route, at the same time. Consequently, they was bumping into each other and the mega-phones where somewhat distracting from the pleasure of the gardens. I spent two hours in the gardens and it was well worth the trip. The gardens were very nice and I took too many photos again.
Went across to the Kanazawa Castle ruins, which appear and I later asked a surveyor/architect, they were being rebuilt. They are in the third year of a ten year plan to rebuild the castle. Should be done around 2006? Said `Hello, goodbye', to some schools kids. They giggled when I talked to them in Japanese, asking them how they were might have been too much.
I then walked over to Gyokusen-en Gardens, a nice quaint, little gardens. At 500 yen, a bit more than the 300 yen at Kenroku-en, the castle was free. being Wednesday, the Seison-Kaku Villa was closed. Gyokusen-en was quite nice and peaceful. After exiting I checked some of the bus schedules nearby and then walked around two sides of the huge castle ruins moat. They have a lot of work ahead of them to fix up the castle. It appears there is also a school or something on the grounds, with a sumo center and a few other buildings.
The bus back to the station was packed, my hair was touching the roof of the bus, it was so low. I turned at one point and knocked over a few Japanese, purely by mistake, I was trying to get otu fo the way, so more people could get on the bus. Got to the station, and took the 2:03 north to Naoetsu, arriving at 3:55 pm. Picked up McD's, today's first meal and ran for the train.
Saw the Sea of Japan, after some frustrating attempts, got to photograph it. Was able to get a 4:pm to Nagano, but it was a local and was full of school kids. Probably thinking I was an English teacher, no one talked to me or even sat next to me. Oh well. I tried to look really touristy with my camera out, but to no avail. Got into Nagano at 5:40 pm, and got the Asama Shinakansen ten minutes later, which was also packed. Got off at Karuizawa, and called Megan. Saw a titmouse on the way home, funny, there was something on the news about them tonite. We watched Shomuni again, still funny, though I still don't understand it.
Meg made sure I was up early this morning, only problem was, when I went to go for a bike ride, I found that Megan had the lock key. I went to Heiando and got a music magazine. Then over to the Prince shopping mall, and to Burger King for lunch. I then went to the other small mall by the train station. Some of the shops were quite good and the prices very good. Like LL Bean, Benetton, Eddie Bower.... I then rode around the top of the statino and toward the Ginza. There were many students around, rode up the Ginza, then back down some treed side streets. Rode through the back roads to the base of Asama-yama, then to Megan's house.
We decided to go out for dinner. As we were walking down Meg's driveway, I remembered my train pass and went back, then just past the high school, Meg remembered she had forgotten the map to the restaurant. So she went back, I ended up meeting her at the station. We took the Shinkansen to Sakudaira, then a local train two stops to a small town. From there we walked to the restaurant. It was all the beef you could eat for 1500 yen, in 90 minutes. You go to a long wall fridge and pick out what you want to have and then take it back to your table and you cook it yourself. It was a nice restaurant.
When we finished, we had to rush back to the station, when Meg realize the next train was in eight minutes. Since you pay at the restaurant when you enter, we rushed out and ran to the train station. On returning to Karuizawa, I picked up a few drinks for my trip tomorrow. We returned to Megan's house and I packed my bags.
I didn't sleep to well last night and had to get up early, so I would make my flight. The bags are very heavy and the zip is kind of broken on the one. Megan called me a taxi, and we walked to the end of the drive-way. The cases are about 33 kg and 27 kg, and my back pack was about 20 kg. Bit hard lifting them up into the trunk of the taxi.
I said my good-byes and thank you's to Megan for letting me stay over. Then headed off to the station. I had to use the elevator to get up to the station entrance. Then I was able to get onto the platform as the train pulled in. The train was packed(the 8:52 am to Tokyo) and I had to stand in the corridor for one stop and then at the back of the car for several stops, and then a seat two stops from Tokyo.
At Tokyo station, I got a picture of the Asama (forgot to get an inside picture). I tried to use the elevator, but couldn't get past the subtrack level. So I had to use the stairs. It was very hard on my hands carrying the bags. A normal four-five minute walk to the `Narita Express' took more than twenty minutes. I just missed one train, so instead of waiting for an hour for the next one, I took one to Chiba, hoping to get a connection to Narita for the plane. The train pulled into Chiba, and somewhere there was a train headed straight for Narita, but I missed it because two really kind Japanese helped me take my bags off the train and down stairs off the platform. But I missed where the connecting train was. I was actually trying to follow someone who was getting the connecting train, but I lost him soon after my helpers, helped me. I then had to wait until 11:52, almost an hour, to get the next train to Narita. I called Canadian, my airline, and they said it was ok for me to be a bit late. Then the strap, for pulling one of the suitcases, broke on the platform, while I was moving the bags.
I got on the Express and it got in at 12:32, just as I was supposed to have already checked in my bags at the airline counter. I luckily found a cart at the top of the escalator. Showed my passport at entry control and then ran for the escalator. I was shown the elevator on the first floor and it took me straight to the fourth floor, without having to use the escalator all the way up. From there I went to the Canadian desk to check the bags, which luckily, were light enough to be checked for the flight.
I picked up the Japan Times and Asiaweek, using most of the yen I had remaining. had to purchase a departure ticket for 2000 yen, no other choice but to use my VISA for this airport tax. Went through Immigration Control and toward the bs to the gate. The flight attendents asked me were to go, as it was their first time in the terminal. Since I'd looked at the map and knew the way, I was able to tell them which way to go. There were very few people in the gate area, may be 20-odd. I got a hotdog, and had 100 yen left. The flight left at 2:15 pm, with may be half the seats empty. the flight is supposed to take 8:28. Nobody sitting beside me for the flight, yippie....
The showed `Mousehunt' and `Seven years in Tibet', but I am not sure
how either ended, I don't think I fell asleep, they just seemed to end.
Oh well. While at the toilet, some fool tried to steal my seat.
Told him off. Slept a bit, read a bit, nothing much really.
We landed at Calgary at 10:12 am Toronto time. I think the flight
took half an hour longer than planned. W e all had to disembark,
and then get on the plane in an hour. I guess so they could do a
quick cleaning. We landed in Toronto at 2:50 pm and we had to walk
a good distance to the customs post, from there we picked up our lugage.
I passed another customs post, handing in my forms and exited into the
gate area, twelve minutes after the plane had started after unloading.
A fast time, as far as I am concerned. Walked around the terminal
until I found my family and they welcomed me home.
(but i really, really want to go back....)