I was lost.
I arrived two hours before midnight at Kansai International, found the right train to ride and got to the correct station. But what I wasn’t ready for was my cellphone provider’s data roaming not kicking in. I did not rent a portable wifi device for my trip because I erroneously thought my data will be available anywhere on the globe (hint, hint). But alas, no, and I was lost without Google maps. Lost in Japan.
Well, that had an exotic sound to it, at least. I mean, the idea of it sounds exciting now. But it was raw and unnerving during that time because I rarely get lost. I am only stating a fact when I say that I have exceptional navigation skills. Coupled with the amazing technology that Waze and Google Maps provided, I haven’t been lost for quite a long time now. But there I was with a screen capture of my supposed “path” to my hotel which looks so simple on the map. But when I looked up, I am accosted by a thousand blazing neon lights and a warren of tiny little walkways spreading out in all directions. That’s when I said my first expletive in the land of the rising sun. Oh, was I fucked.
My spirit hasn’t been broken yet so early in the game so I shrugged my shoulder and chose one road out of many, only because the crowd seems to be going that way. My tiny capsule hotel is one road away from the Running Man of Osaka. I chose it because of its proximity to the famous landmark, in case I get lost. Smart, right? And yet it didn’t feel like that because the sheer number of people and those blazing, blazing neon lights made me lose my bearings. Who can find anything in this melee?
Maybe if it was morning, it would have made a difference. For one, those flashing neon lights would be asleep. And as for me, i wouldn’t have been that tired. The foreign signages would look charming, not eerily dangerous. I would feel I still have all the time in the world to find my way. Perhaps everything seems mildly dangerous when it is only 45 minutes before midnight and you have been walking for an hour trying to find a place which is supposed to be just 15 minutes away from the train station. It was hard finding a local who speaks English. I quickly learned that the best people to ask would be the Europeans and their reliable data roaming provider (I will remember this betrayal until the day I die, Globe Telecoms). They tried to give me the directions all the way to the Running Man, and every time I thought I understood and I said my thanks. But something unexpected always happened (wait, she said just straight ahead across the bridge, but there is a fork on the road and there is no bridge; or he said right but this right has two rights… ack).
And then when I finally found the Running Man an hour and a half later, I still couldn’t find the right street to my hotel. This was when 7-11 came to my rescue. I stood outside the store and connected to the free wifi. But while waiting for Google Maps to connect, a Japanese girl approached me. She must have seen the frustration on my face. At this point, I had tears in my eyes, I try to convince myself it was because I was tired, and not because I was, like, scared or anything. Ahem.
“Hello, are you lost?” she asked in halting English. I said, yes as if my whole face did not scream it. It turns out that is all the English she can muster for now, but by that time Google Maps was already on and I just pointed to the street and name of my hotel. And bless her, little Japanese angel she was, she turned and walked me to the right street. I was bowing so low with gratitude, and she looked pleased for my grand show of thanks. If she only knew, I would have kissed the fucking asphalt for her, if she asked.
I stood quivering with relief at the door of my hotel. Damn you, Japan. You broke me. On the first two hours of my arrival, you have made a mess out of my world order. I will check-in, leave my luggage, and go back down to have dinner at that 7-11. I will take a bath (ahahaha, this is another story for another time), and I will sleep in my capsule. Tomorrow, I said to the door, “I will be ready for you.”
My famous last words. - Bee
My dinner whilst plotting war.