There you are, standing ever so still in the middle of the chaotic ebb and flow of an ocean of people. You are narrowly but always missed by a billion bodies vying for a step in the right direction. Only, while all is brass band noisy, you have tripped and fallen head first into some self-reflection. You stand there thinking of how different your life is now. You feel the delayed rush of air as the trains race off like earthbound dragons, late for work and you see so many images per second that you are hypnotized into a dizzy, sleepy state of mind. Only when Roland slides into your field of vision carrying a bag filled with Mr. Donut goods and two vending machine coffees do you snap out of it with an almost audible pop.
A few months back, the voice shouting at me through the train station loudspeaker may as well have been the teacher from Charlie Brown for all I could pick out from the broken bits of sound but now I appreciate it as what train will be at what platform, when. The red dragon on its way to our neighboring prefecture of Miyazaki is the one we are meant to board and while this should be as easy as two foreigners plus train equals ride to land of mangoes and my South African buddy Buttermilk, the equation is bumped up to higher-grade by the addition of two bags, a pillow, chocolate pies and a futon. It is upgraded to university mathematics when you subtract the knowledge of decent Japanese. After much cursing about getting an airbed rather than lugging our futon around with us, we packed all our luggage in the overhead compartment and took our seats. A different world calls for different embarrassments and Roland and I had moved up from `hey look at that foreign couple` to `Hey look at that foreign couple who brought along their mattress, are they planning to take a nap on the train?`
|Miyazaki, unlike other prefectures (looking at you Oita) has proper beaches.|
|Roland proving he is just as smart as a Robot.|
On the way back Roland stood on an ancient wooden castle and surveyed his lands while the others in our group assassinated an unsuspecting samurai. Although in Mr. Samurai’s defense, his swords were locked away in a glass box and this makes it difficult to avoid attacks from a rolled up guidebook. As is usually the case, a hard days castle climbing steered us right in the direction of our next meal. This turned out to be some very tasty Mexican food in a very, very Mexican restaurant. It took almost all of my self-restraint not to play with the Sombreros and wrestling masks or to speak like Speedy Gonzales while munching my Quesadillas.
|This all belongs to Roland now.|
Of course on the journey home the next day Roland and I accidently sat down in reserved seating and had to take down all our luggage, including that ever annoying futon and do the walk of shame back to the unreserved seats. As amazing as our little adventure was, I sat down next to Roland and told him that I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and getting back home and for the first time in my life, I was referring to Oita, Japan.