I woke up pretty early the next day, around 5:00. I looked outside to see that it was raining. Since I still had some time before I had to checkout, I decided to kill some time reading manga. Around 6:00 I gathered my stuff together and went downstairs to pay my bill. I nodded along as the clerk went through the normal payment spiel and then made my way outside.
Though the sun had not yet risen, its presence from the previous day could still be felt in the air. Drops of rain poured from overhead. The area seemed devoid of life. I made my way cautiously, alert for any dangers that might set upon me. I passed some tribesman dressed in festive garb and their hair dyed a peculiar color. They were oblivious to my presence. When the tribesman had passed, I extracted my map from my pack and checked my course. Using my knowledge of orienteering, I noted that I should arrive at the Sage’s house within the hour.
The exterior of the Sage’s house was indistinguishable from the other structures that surrounded it, but I knew better. Entering the humble dwelling I was greeted with countless shelves filled with information that spanned every subject man knew or hoped to know. I immediately began poring over any scrolls that could offer clues as to the location of the treasure I sought. Hours passed as I tried to piece together the bits of information I found into an ascertainable location. After I had exhausted the information available to me at the Sage’s house I thanked him and set out once again on my journey.
My stomach churned as I approached the warp gate. Images of all the horrible fates I could suffer raced through my mind. As I got closer and closer, I could feel my environmental suit clenching ever tighter around me; it was getting hard to breathe. The gate master motioned me forward, his countenance showed his annoyance at my slow pace. I gave a weak nod in response. The energies that powered the gate swirled in a mesmerizing vortex before me. I took a deep breath and stepped in.
The cold steel and humming of generators of my previous environment were quickly replaced by dense foliage and the shrill cries of wildlife. Taking in my surrounding, I took a few feeble steps forward. My foot hit something hard. I looked down, it was the carcass of a large insect I had never seen before. As I bent down to inspect it, its wings flashed and legs struggled in the air. It lay there struggling in its death throes. I made note of the life form in my journal and continued on my way.
People buzzed around me as I entered the train station. I checked the map to see if I could find my destination…no luck.
I knew I should have looked up how to get to Kyoto
With the map not jumping out with any helpful information, I made my way to the station master.
Me: Hi, how do I get to Kyoto?
Station Master: Where in Kyoto do you want to go?
What? There are other places in Kyoto?
Me: Um…anywhere? As long as it’s Kyoto.
Station Master: …
The station master told me to take the train to Takatsuki and an hour later, I was in Takatsuki. There were maps of local tourist spots posted near the station. I glanced them over, trying to find places relatively close to my destination.
This temple looks nice… 2 hours away?! Why the hell is that on a local map?
I decided to forgo the sightseeing suggestions and just walk around the town.
I ended up visiting the local park, history museum, 50 yen arcade, and wolfing down some curry. Gauging my stink and energy levels, I decided it was time to return to Imabari. After fighting through a barrage of train transfers I found myself at the Imabari station at midnight (I also picked up some omiyage somewhere in the confusion). With all the local trains and buses out of service, and no desire to make the 1 hour walk back to the dorms, I hopped in a cab.
Since my brother had said Japanese taxis are rip-offs, I was a bit wary about how high the cost would get. For the first couple of minutes it stayed at about 560 yen [~$5.60]. After awhile it bumped up 80 yen, but I wasn’t too worried; until I notice how short the intervals between the price increases were getting. By the time I arrived at my destination I had racked up a 2100 yen bill [~$21.00], this was a stark contrast to the 200 yen [~$2.00] I paid to ride the train to the station. But at that point, I was too tired to really care that much; plus, it was about the same cost as accommodations would have cost me had I stayed in Osaka. I dragged my ragged body up the stairs to my dorm, took a shower, and slept.