Saturday, 16 February 2013

I'm off again!

Thursday 7th February 2013

MP3 track of the day: National Express -The Divine Comedy

Weather: Mild in Miyako / cold in Morioka / Very cold in Aomori.

... Well you've all done very well. This was a hard lesson so well done 
– yoku deki masta...”

I think these were my last words to my final class today. I cannot be too sure as, what follows, became a haze. I raced out of the classroom and into the teachers room where my lunch was waiting for me. You see, this evening I was off to Sapporo and, even though I had plenty of time, I hate rushing. I therefore ate without style or composure, thanked the dinner lady and raced out of school. The time: 12:45pm.

As I drove home I thought about all the stuff I needed to do:

  • Change,
  • Pack a few more bits,
  • Pay my rent,
  • Turn off the water,
  • Unplug all of my electrical appliances (except the fridge),
  • And lock the front door,

All was done by 1:45pm and so I waited for the 2pm bus to Morioka. I would leave Morioka at 6:45pm and get to Aomori around one hour later. I would then switch train stations (using a 'transfer train') to Aomori's main station and take the night train, leaving at 10:30pm, and arriving in Sapporo at 6am tomorrow. In my mind it all seemed so simple. As I left Miyako, bound for Morioka, I read about Sapporo within my guidebook; slightly annoyed that I had forgotten to unplug the washing machine.

The bus to Morioka takes 2 hours and, after half of the journey I had finished reading. For the next hour I listened to music and stared out of the window. As we climbed forever upwards into the mountains the snow became higher and higher; the funny thing was, as we descended into Morioka the snow didn't seem to recede.

Once off the bus I buttoned up my coat and walked towards Morioka's train station. I checked my trains departure time (still on time) before heading to a 'foreign language bookstore' to purchase a new book. Yesterday I had finished 'Dance, Dance, Dance' by Murakami. I like his style of writing and so I choose to try his new book: 1Q84. With still over two hours until my train left I found a coffee shop, ordered a cake and a drink, and watched the world go by. I've been so busy recently that its nice to just sit and think; unfortunately my thoughts ended up being questions:

  • Will I miss my train?
  • Had I forgotten anything?
  • Did I do everything I needed to do at home?

Once I had finished drinking my drink, eating my cake and answering my own questions I headed to the train stations waiting room.

Unbeknown to me at the time, but there was already a mistake with this blog. Earlier I wrote that my train left Morioka at 6:45pm; it actually left at 6:26pm. For some unknown reason I had 6:45 in my head. I only realised my mistake after I had finished reading 'chapter 2' of my new book, and I looked at my train ticket to check my seat number. This occurred at 6:20pm; 6 minutes before my train was due to leave. I almost fainted. Looking a bit like Mr Bean when he's panicking, I quickly picked up my stuff and raced up the escalator, onto the platform, and dived into the train. I had just got comfortable when the train started to pull out of the station. I had arrived in Morioka two hours before my departure time and I had almost missed my train; 'how stupid', I thought to myself.

Once in Aomori I changed stations with ease and soon I was standing in Aomori's main station, looking out into the abyss. Aomori was even more depressing than I remembered. I realised then that it wasn't because of the snow falling, and it wasn't the fact that all of the stations restaurants were closing at 8pm; it was the place itself. There was something about it; maybe it was the buildings but something brought the words 'forgotten', 'downtrodden' and 'uncared for' to mind. I rushed into a closing restaurant for a 'take away tea' before it shut; I bought a few of the remaining pastries which, most probably, had been on the shelves all day. Once devoured I read my book conscious of not loosing myself within it and making sure I checked the time every so often.

With twenty minutes spare I made my way onto 'platform 3'. It wasn't long before a very old train pulled in with some very old carriages. At first I thought that 'Japan, of all nations, wouldn't be running something so 1970's'. However then I read 'Sapporo' on the carriage. At least I didn't miss the train.

Inside the decor was very 'brown'. It was like being in one of your grandads slippers and, because of this, I liked it a lot; it had a lot of character and it felt cozy. I snuggled down, looking forward to what lay in store for me over the next three days.

So, this otter is once again around the world … and about time too!

Toodle Pip!

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