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Spirito, didn't you say you stayed in Japan?nm(5 posts)

Spirito, didn't you say you stayed in Japan?nmeschelon
May 3, 2002 11:40 AM
yep...just outside of osaka.....Spirito
May 3, 2002 1:52 PM
ive mentioned the name of the little town to a few people (kinkotown - sp?) but all have shrugged shoulders. when i saw it on the map i couldn't help be so intrigued and had to stay there.

3 of the most beautiful and interesting months of my life actually. didn't know anyonme nor spoke a word of japanese. for the first 6 weeks or so i dont think i even spoke - justed pointed ot food i wanted and showed maps or pictures or signs.

then i used a few numbers a friend gave me. they were all of girls from australia who were working as escorts or "models". things certainly got more interesting in the next 2 months.

for the most part i was there during there national baseball finals and every night was a parade and party. sort of like a japanese mardi-gras - or carnivale in their summer. i got drunk with many a fine japanese stranger and actually shared ramblings that im sure neither of us understood but always had good mirth and laughs - prolly most at my newly learned attempts at drinking copious amounts of sake.

one of the sweetest experiences was staying in smaller villages amongst much natural beauty and scenery in very cheap "ryokans" (sp.) that were decidedly full of character from a whole different era. real old world in style. and sadly i didn't have a bike as some parts were indeed remote and had perfect roads for solo rides.

spent very little time in tokyo - usually lost and struggled with the few words i had learnt. overall though i thought it such a gas to be tall :-). one bar i went to i remember asking the bartender if he knew any disco's i could go to.

he looked a little betwixed at my question and hesitantly nodded and bowed then wandered off to talk to the manager. both were looking back at me and talking and shrugging between themselves before the bartender printed up my check for the drinks i had. he placed it upside down on a check tray and handed it to me whilst triumphantly announced in a sharp tone "disco!". not sure of what he meant i turned over the check for my drinks check to see that they had taken off 15% and given me a "discount". i couldn't help but laugh and giggle to myself and im sure they thought me very strange as i left the original amount and then a genorous tip for their kind if somewhat misunderstood attempt to help me out.

indeed it is somewhere i would like to live for an extended period as there is so much richness in a culture that is very different but to me all the more beautifull for it. also japanese cable TV is an artform of its own and absolutely bedazzling. let alone their vending machines - wow!
bikes and vending machines (long)MelMo
May 3, 2002 3:11 PM
Spirito--Your comment about vending machines reminded me of my best-ever bike ride. Thank you.

I lived in Japan (west coast, Ishikawa prefecture, near Kanazawa, fwiw) for a year right out of college. I needed a bike, and an English guy I knew had a standard commuter (dark blue, singlespeed, basket--the bike equivalent of rice in Japan) he didn't want. I took the train down to his place and decided to bike back to my apartment because I didn't know if you could take bikes on trains, and I was too new and too helpless to try and brazen it out.

I think it was about 30 km from Komatsu to my then-home, Matto. The only straight rode was the only highway, and bikes were not allowed. I had no map, I'd been in Japan about two weeks and hardly spoke the language, and I hadn't ridden a bike in at least 5 or 6 years. Night had fallen, but it was still about 95 degrees and 100% humidity. The bike had a tiny, weak rim generator light and no rear reflectors. But the gods sometimes smile on the foolish.

I started up the highway, but got off at the first exit. I knew the sea was to the west, my left, as was the moon. The highway was to my right, as was a small amusement park with a ferris wheel. Moon on the left, ferris wheel to the right, and if I hit the sea or the highway, reconsider. Right, off I went. I periodically ended up on roads that petered out in rice paddies, but I seemed to be heading the right direction. It was during O-bon (the festival for the dead that takes place in August), and I could smell incense and hay burning as I biked, and hear music floating across the fields.

Despite the magic of the night, my very out-of-shape ass hurt, and I was quickly melting into a puddle. But bless the Japanese, there are vending machines everywhere, and I was able to get a can of a sports drink called Pocari Sweat (really--I'm not making that up), which I drank by the side of the road. Restored, I continued on, moon to the left, and somehow hit upon a road that led directly to the Matto train station, a landmark that helped me actually find my apartment. Spirito, if you remember the spaghetti-like layout of most Japanese towns, you'll appreciate that miracle.

I haven't had that kind of bicycle magic here. I think it takes foolishness and innocence.

Ah, now I want to go ride.
true, true, true...Spirito
May 3, 2002 3:40 PM
i just remembered how sticky it got there with the high humidity and when you mentioned night time and old towns i remember the uneasiness i felt from the constant humm of the overhead spaghetti-like strewn power cables - buzzing away with the occasional pop and sparks.

the names of all the products in their vending machines
at once brought laughs and amazement. i often knew not what i was buying but never felt cheated either.

the coolest place in the world to be lost in my opinion as you never feel threatened or alienated no matter how odd things may seem and there is always something to take your mind away.

japanese porn is still something that im trying to understand :-) - now thats something else...hehehhhe

and just in concluding i am sure that there was a micro-car by the name of "spirito" - but im sure if there ever was a car name registry the japanese makes would fill 90% of its content.
ah wonderful!hayaku
May 3, 2002 7:35 PM
I am living in Kanazawa now. I work in Matto and regularly take the same path you wrote about on my way to my "local" bike shop in Komatsu. I had a similar experience to you when I first arrived in Japan.

On my second day in Japan with my borrowed Mamachari(Refugee style bike) and a phrase book... No money, map, phone numbers or any idea what my address was I went exploring!

I rode from a place called Morimoto, about 10km out of central Kanazawa up the main road to Kenrokuen. That was where I wanted to go... However on my way back I got took the wrong road and started heading in a different direction.

I don't know how well you know Kanazawa but I went to Asahimachi, Teramachi, Katamachi, Hondamachi ,Honmachi, back to Katamachi, back to Honmachi then to the train station.
However I had no money, so all I could do was look at a map and try to figure out where I should go. I took a guess and started back on my journey.

I know now that I was heading in the right dirrection but was on the wrong road, that road took me to Uchinada. Somewhere along the way I figured out that I didn't recognize anything so I headed back to the station for another look at the map... Another try... nope.

Some school girls shouted out Hello! so I stopped, thinking that they spoke English. Nope, just Hello! (Of course)

Eventually I remembered that where I lived was 180Yen and two three stops from Kanazawa station. I swallowed my pride and asked my new friend's parents if I could have some money for the train. I got a really dirty look but they gave me the money. I knew how to say Arigato, so I said it about 50 times and headed for the station hoping that I could find it again.

I got home, about 5 hours after I left. I have gotten lost numerous times since then but that day was the worst. What happened the next day while picking up my bike from the train station was almost as bad!