Japan Day 3
Surprisingly I woke up at 7:00 the next day with no hangover and quite energetic. I cleaned up, packed up my things, checked out, and headed to Ginza to meet up with Arsenal and his uncle. After finishing breakfast we all loaded into a cab and made our way to the JR station to catch a bullet train from Tokyo to Sendai. There wasn’t much to do on the train ride to Sendai, we just chatted about what we were going to do (Arsenal wanted to go to the beach where the tsunami first made landfall) and figuring out what to do for lodging if our first choice fell through. I should probably mention at this point that Arsenal and I didn’t actually know if we were going to have a place to stay in Sendai. I had looked up a hostel before we left for Japan, but they only took reservations over the phone. We decided to call them once we got to Japan, but promptly forgot to do so after actually arriving in Japan.
Anyways, after getting to Sendai Arsenal and I bid farewell to Arsenal’s uncle and took a walk around downtown Sendai. There was snow covering the streets and many of the buildings here, making for some breath taking scenery as we trekked around the city. The first stop we made (well, I forced us to make) was a Tsutaya where I set about buying some light novels and other Japanese merchandise I had been wanting to get my hands on.. Since we had toured most of the downtown area we decided to head towards the neighboring town where our hostel was located. On the way, Arsenal shared his thoughts on the things we had passed by during our walk.
Arsenal: Man, I can’t believe how many beautiful girls there are in Japan!
Me: Really? It doesn’t seem that different from most countries. Though I guess coming from Beijing…
Protip: Beijing has an uncharacteristically low number of pretty girls.
Arsenal: What? No, everyone girl we’ve passed by so far has been hot!
Me: Well, good that you’re enjoying your time in Japan.
Arsenal: Man, if I lived here I would !()*@&# !@#* !@(*# on the street!
strategically putting some distance between myself and Arsenal
Me: …I’m pretty sure you’d get arrested for that.
Upon arriving at the train station in the neighboring town, the station attendant supplied us with a map with directions to our hostel. The town itself was fairly small and made up mostly of houses with a few small shops dotting the streets. Turning down several side streets we finally arrived at the hostel, Dochuan. Passing through the main gate we made our way to the building and after knocking and ringing the doorbell for about 5 minutes… no one came out.
Me: Well, I guess we should’ve called them.
Arsenal: Hmm, let’s look around some more. There’s a house right next to this place, maybe they’re in there?
The next few minutes were spent with Arsenal and me running around the house knocking on different doors until…
Arsenal: It’s unlocked.
Me: Uhh… I’m not sure if this is the best idea.
Finally we called it quits and decided to head back downtown and try and find another place to stay. Well, tried to.
Me: I thought the station was this way…
Arsenal: Hey, there’s a vending machine over there! Think they have Banana Ole?
We stopped for a bit to buy some drinks and reorient ourselves. After finishing his drink, Arsenal ran off to find a trash can. While he was gone I started assessing our surroundings. I noticed there was a restaurant right next to the vending machine we had stopped at. Since it was almost lunch time, when Arsenal got back from his disposal mission we decided to go in and see what they had.
It was a fairly simple restaurant with a very homey feel. The menu had your standard array of home-style Japanese dishes along with a bookcase full of assorted manga. We ordered some set lunches and started discussing our options for lodging.
Me: Well, I guess we should go back downtown and look for a motel or something. Worst comes to worst we can sleep at a manga café.
Arsenal: Why don’t we try calling the hostel we were at?
Me: If they weren’t at the hostel, what makes you think they’d answer the phone?
Arsenal: Well, we might as well try right?
I couldn’t think of a good reason not to, even if I thought it was a futile attempt. I asked the people at the restaurant if I could borrow their phone. They pointed me to a pay phone lying on the counter. It accepted 10 yen coins.
I dropped in a 10 yen coin and dialed the number, to my surprise someone picked up after the 2nd ring.
Me: [Uh, hi. Is this Dochuan?]
Lady: [Yes, can I help you?]
Me: [Yeah, I was wondering if you had room for 2 people?]
Lady: [When are you planning on staying here?]
Me: [Tonight and tomorrow.]
Lady: [OK, and where are you from?]
Me: [One from the US and one from Australia]
The money ran out. I asked the cook about how many coins I should put in for a 5 minute call. He shrugged and told me he hasn’t used the thing in ages, however, the phone would refund unused coins so I could just load it up with coins. I took out all the 10 yen coins I had (about 10, change from all the drinks we had gotten at vending machines) and following his advice I redialed the number and secured our reservations. However, the hostel didn’t open until 4:00 PM. It was about 1:00 PM so Arsenal and I had to find a way to kill 3 hours while lugging around our suitcases.
Me: [To Arsenal] So, good news, we got the reservation. But they don’t open until 4:00 PM so we have to kill some time.
Chef: [The hostel doesn’t open until 4:00PM right?]
Me: [Yeah, we’re going to have to wander around until then. Are there any places to see around here?]
Chef: [Not really, there’s a small shopping center near here. But you’re welcome to stay here until 4:00 PM.]
So Arsenal and I indulged in their hospitality and stayed at the restaurant until our hostel opened. We watched TV, chatted with the workers, and read some manga. At 4:00 PM we bid farewell to our hosts and went to the hostel. After completing the check-in and dropping our stuff in our room we went out to dinner, ate some cow tongue, wandered the town a bit, and then went to sleep.
-End day 3-
-After Story: Easy Peasy-
Note: Red is a Japanese girl studying at our school.
Red: [So how was your trip to Japan!?]
Me: [It was good, Arsenal really enjoyed it, he’s in love with Japan now.]
Red: [Ha ha, he must be a good person then! I want to go back to Japan too…]
Me: [Yeah, he really liked it, he kept talking about how pretty Japanese girls are.]
Red: [Really? He is a good person then!]
Me: […just because he thinks Japanese girls are pretty?]
Red: [Yeah! It means he has good taste!]