Japan Diary: March 20th (2010) [Part 1/2]

Read the story from the beginning HERE (From the bottom of the page.)

Saturday 20th “A trip to a bridge, which lead to awkward and beyond”
This is the day I’ve often later told to friends and family in an edited version. I don’t think I’ve felt ashamed, but maybe I knew that what happened didn’t really live up to people expectations and it certainly wouldn’t be used as input for the perfect romantic movie. Though, back then I told the truth to my diary and I’ll tell the truth on this blog as well. Maybe it’ll make a good laugh.

The next morning I certainly didn’t feel refreshed when it came to sleep, but my weird hope regarding Hiro and I felt revived for some reason. I went to the living room and Hiro was up as he promised. I could hear a strong wind flowing around the house. Hiro told me that the flea market was postponed until tomorrow, so we decided to discuss what to do instead. Hiro suggested some kind of bridge located in the mountains around a two-hour drive away. It wasn’t like I had better plans myself.

In the car I felt no progress at all and we didn’t speak much either – except when I discovered a spider in my side of the car, which resulted in Hiro having to pull the car over and come and get it. The hope concerning us I had felt this morning was already dwindling.  Like always, we drove though a lot of areas with beautiful, countryside scenery. Tall mountains, interesting houses and numerous rice fields. Then we finally arrived to our destination. Mountains surrounded us and in between them, making a passage located several kilometres above ground was an elegant bridge.

I was happy that heights had never been an issue for me. After having crossed the bridge, there was a small path that took us on a 2 kilometres walk along uneven terrain, over several small bridges and water streams. We were once again alone and “the other Hiro” seemed to wake up. He started to put his arm around me and played with my hair.

We sat down on a bench and if I hadn’t noticed it myself, Hiro pointed out the fact that there were no people around.

“It’s your chance!”

“Chance for what?” I asked, even though I kind of knew the answer to this repeated joke.

“It’s your chance to kiss me.”

“Well, … it’s your chance as well.” I said and made a laugh, even small children would categorize as fake.

We looked at each other, waited for the other person to make a move, but we knew that wait would turn out way too long so we got up and kept on walking. Hiro put his arm around my waist; first I playfully showed it away, but in the same action I got a grip of his hand and let my fingers tangle up with his. He didn’t seem unpleased with this outturn, so we kept on walking like that until the small path ended and we were among other people around. We returned to the now overheated car to rest and then suddenly things were happening a lot faster than I could ever predict.

“What do you wanna do?” Hiro asked and looked out the window.

I turned my face in his direction, a bit surprised about the question since I thought we were on our way home.

“I don’t know” I answered and once again turned my face away.

“Wanna have sex?” Hiro asked in an emotionless voice.

The question startled me and I desperately tried to pull out yet another fake laugh. This question was surely a step up from the other suggestive things he had asked me the past two weeks, but I still couldn’t imagine him being serious about this.

“I kind of think this is the wrong place” I said, trying to sound nonchalant.

“Do you know love hotels? It’s a place you can go for like 2 hours.”

I turned my head to face Hiro, who had leaned his seat back and was looking straight at me. I searched his face for hints of an upcoming laugh or smile, which would reveal the fact that this was just another joke, but his eyes kept their gaze and he looked at me with a serious look. His hand reached out for my hair, which he once again started touching, while I blankly starred at a spot between the car window and his face. He once again opened his mouth and continued.

“It’s not possible for us to kiss or have sex at the house, while my parents are around. They would become furious if they found out that I was fooling around with a precious homestay student. But, … if we went to a love hotel…”

He was serious and my brain officially had a melt down. I sat up straight in the car seat and looked out the windshield, I looked into nothingness. I sat like that for a while, without saying anything. I wasn’t debating whether I should say yes or no, rather how I should accept his suggestion and still keeping my dignity intact. I didn’t like things were moving this fast, up until now I had hoped for a kiss and then we could take things from there. But, if I said no now, I might not get the chance to move any further. I did feel sure of my physical interest in him, my body had certainly given me lots of signs of that the past week or so.

“What are you thinking” Hiro asked and interrupted my flow of desperate thoughts.

Nothing, I’m blank” I lied.

“You’re probably thinking, “No way, Hiro” or something”.

 “No. Actually I wasn’t”

“Really? Then… should we find a hotel?” Hiro asked with a relieved voice.

Thousand of thoughts flew through me head. I wanted an innocent kiss and now I had to accept a sex invitation to get it? Well, it’s not like I expect anything serious to happen between us anyway. Hiro was looking straight at me and his question was still hanging in the air. I took some deep breathes, searched my brain for a decent answer, but all that managed to get out of my mouth was “iiyo” (fine).

“Really? So we’ll go?”

I nodded, kept my blank gaze directed towards the windshield. Was I going to regret this?

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Japan Diary: March 19th. (2010)

Read the story from the beginning HERE (From the bottom of the page.)

Friday 19th “Gathering things for the flea market”

When I woke up today, I felt rather empty – I had no idea of what I wanted to do and Hiro wouldn’t be home before around 10 pm. I went into the living room, where the mother told me that Keiko would come by soon, because she was going to pick up some things at an old lady’s house. The mother then asked if I wanted to come along – well anything seemed better than just waiting around. Some time later Keiko came around, dropped off Hikaru and said she would take the car to the old lady’s house. Since it wasn’t far from my homestay house, the mother, Hikaru and I went there by foot. It was just a short trip though the big yard, a walk on a narrow path, which was surrounded by small houses – all with a touch of “country side”.

We reached the old lady’s house, where Keiko was already busy with emptying out closets and shelves and I had no idea why. While the mother talked and Keiko loaded up the car I was watching after Hikaru. I was finally told that all the books and clothes Keiko was collecting was going to be used for a flea market, which were going to take place the next day.

After some more talk with the old lady who made me try to guess her age – I guess she liked hearing people guess 80, when she was really 97 years old. That must be considered a compliment. We went back to our house.

Then the rest of the day was spent with carrying all the stuff inside and look through it and then Keiko went home. I actually felt happy that dinnertime was approaching, since it meant that Hiro’s return would approach as well. Like always the father went to bed early, the mother stayed up and played some games with me, while I was mostly keeping my eyes on the big living room clock. Around 9:30 the mother said she would sleep for a while and then get up later. I took this as a change to go take a shower before Hiro returned, but when that was over and I returned to the living room around 10 pm, there were no signs of him. I started watching television, hoping that I any minute would hear the sound of his car, but nothing. The clock turned 11 pm, then 12 o’clock, still no annoying Hiro. At 1 am, I decided to stop being so awkward and went to my room, but I couldn’t really sleep. Around 3 am I finally heard the sound of a car pulling up. I argued with myself if I should go out and greet him or just stay in my room, since it was late and he probably would go to bed right away, I chose the last option. Then I heard the parent’s bedroom door open, it was the mother. I heard Hiro go to his room and then the muffled sounds of voices, well if they were going to be up, I was too.

I quietly left my room and went towards the living room, where Hiro’s room also was. The door to Hiro’s room was open and I placed myself there in the opening, watching Hiro and his mother talk. Hiro turned around and sent me a smile.

“You’re late” I mentioned in a casual tone.

Shortly after the mother, once again returned to bed and Hiro and I went to the living room.

“Are you tired?” I asked and sat in the chair next to his.

He answered no, but that statement was soon after followed by a yawn.

“You are tired!”

“Well maybe a little” he said and gave me a smile.

“Then why are you still up?”

“Because you are” he answered and kept looking at me.

I didn’t know what to answer and instead I tried to find something interesting to watch in the living room.

“What time are you getting up tomorrow?” He asked.

“What?! Why?! Why do you want to know that?” I stuttered, not sounding casual at all.

“Then I would get up around the same time, there’s also the flea market”

“Well, then what time do you think would be good?” I asked, hoping some dignity had returned to my voice.

“What about around 10? Then you could come and wake me up.”

“Listen… I’m not your alarm clock!”

He laughed a little and moved to stand by the heater, I followed, as always. After standing for a few minutes, we said our good nights and went to our separate room. That night I felt a sleep, while being happy about changing my bus ticket.

Japan Diary: March 18th (2010)

Thursday 18th “A trip to the city”

Around 9 o’clock in the morning I heard the front door being opened and mumbling voices. I sat up in my bed and peeked out from the window. Hiro was loading up the car and his mother and father was also standing out there, probably wishing him a nice trip. Then Hiro got in the car, started the engine and then he was gone.

I let myself fall back onto the bed, feeling hopeless and most of all frustrated. Images from last night came back to me, I started counting the days I had left in Miyazaki and for no specific reason at all, I started crying. I didn’t know why I felt like crying, it was like the tears weren’t mine, but the pain I didn’t understand the cause of, was certainly my own. I went back to sleep, what felt like the best thing during the current conditions.

I left my room around noon and was greeted by the mother. I had decided to go to Miyazaki city to take some pictures, since I had almost spent two weeks in Miyazaki prefecture, but I hadn’t seen much of the main city. The mother got out a bike I could borrow to get to the station, since it would have been a 45 minute walk – life on the country side.

A little later, when I finally had got my things ready and was about to get up on the bike, the mother came out with a phone in her hand.

“Keiko wants to take you to Miyazaki city in her car” she said and smiled.

Will I ever get some time alone around here? It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the company of Keiko, the matter of fact I liked her a lot, but I was worried about the rest of my Japan trip. What if I was always on my own later on, wouldn’t it feel even lonelier after being here?

Around 30 minutes later Keiko came around in her car, which also carried Hikaru and Keiko’s husband. A small, skinny guy with big front teeth, who didn’t reach much farther than my shoulder when he stood next to me – and it’s not because I’m a tall north European, since Keiko and were pretty much the exact same height. This guy, Tsu-kun, talked a lot, which was a nice change from all the silent guys Miyazaki had presented so far, but his words also came attached with a thick Miyazaki accent and on top of that, those words were put on high speed.

I was put in the front seat, next to Su-kun, while Keiko sat in the back with Hikaru. Tsu-kun saw this as a great opportunity to get to talk and ask a lot of questions in his country side Japanese, which often resulted in me saying “what?” and looking back at Keiko, who then “translated” into more main stream Japanese.

Since I just wanted to take pictures and see the city I had no idea where I wanted to go, so first off, Keiko and Tsu-kun took me to the Miyazaki government building.

After that they took me to see one their friend’s shop, where he gave me some stickers and a postcard. I often got asked to hold or watch Hikaru, which I liked – especially since he seemed to like me as well. What I didn’t like was when the conversation became about my departure date. Only three nights left in Miyazaki. That fact made my stomach turn.

The last stop of the day was the highest building in Miyazaki prefecture – not that it has that many high buildings to compete with. It was a hotel, where we could visit the highest floor.

Up there Keiko and I took pictures together, I knew I was going to miss her when I continued to Fukuoka. I started to think about the bus tickets to Fukuoka the father had ordered for me not long ago, maybe I should have asked for a day later. Just one day. I started to wonder if changing the tickets was possible.

After enjoying the view over Miyazaki, we decided to get back to the car and drive back to Kawaminami – a one-hour drive. When we got back to the house it had gotten dark and the mother and father had already eaten their dinner. The mother gave me my portion, which I started eating while Keiko was saying goodbye to her parents. I gave her a final smile and thanked her. After she was gone I worked up courage to ask the father about my bus ticket. He said that I couldn’t cancel, but the date could be changed. He promised to call for me the next morning.

I went back to my room. I sent an e-mail to my hosts in Fukuoka, saying that my computer had problems and it was being repaired, so I arrive a day later than planned. (Which was already three days later than originally planned.) I then decided to start a travel journal, in order to put words on my feelings – and also because I had a feeling that this trip to Japan was going to be a little different than my previous ones. After that I went to bed.

Japan Diary: March 17th (2010)

Wednesday 17th “All in for the game”

Today was a relaxed day, way more relaxed than I wanted it do be. Hiro’s parents were off to the hospital for his mother’s regular tests, so Hiro and I were the one ones in the house. I went to the living room, but he still hadn’t left his room. That made walk a lot between my room and the living room in the hopes that he would hear my footsteps and come out, but it wasn’t before I carried some of my laundry that I heard him move around. He opened his door shortly after at seemed a bit surprised to see me, he gave me a silly smile and the usual good morning greeting.

He went to the shower room to freshen up and I went to my room. After that we both sat down in the living room, but since the parents were using the car our possibilities of going somewhere seemed slim. Hiro was sitting in a chair in front of the heater and I moved my chair as close to his as possible. He let his hand rest of my leg for sometime and then he got up and found another movie to watch. My eyes shifted to the clock, from tomorrow Hiro would be going on a 2-day trip to Fukuoka to meet up with some friends and I would be left here all alone. I guess I had hoped that I would actually see some progress between us today. Wait what? What progress did I actually wish for? And why did my trip to Japan suddenly become a very boring, two-person, reality-show-like, love chase? Even I would have desperate looked for the remote to change the channel.

His parents returned home around 3 o’clock and Hiro’s movie ended around a half hour later and we ended up not leaving the house that day. Leaving me a bit frustrated. We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to improve Hiro’s English – which turned out to be a quite challenging task, that guy surely did not posses the gift of words and especially not pronunciation. Then we had the usual dinner and the father went to bed shortly after. His mother asked if we wanted to play a game and Hiro promised to explain the rules. After the mother had found the game she handed it to us and went to bed. We played to rounds of the game without any proper conversation, which meant I had to work on that myself.

I started to tell about my elementary and high school life and some of the people I liked and especially those I didn’t like. I led the conversation over to Japanese girls and how pretty they are, Hiro took the bate and started asking me things about a previous conversation we have had, concerning me and liking Japanese guys – a thing I had told him for a reason. I asked him about previous girlfriends and he started counting and it seemed like he had a nice list.

“You’re popular I see.”

“What about you?”

“I haven’t had any actual, committed relationships.”

“Really?” “Well, I’ve been around a few Japanese guys… doing things…”

Hiro laughed and I guess he caught my hint. He shared a few extra points of information concerning past relationships and I felt I was getting closer to my goal. What was my goal actually? Getting to second base with this guy? Well at least I wanted to see if I could blur the lines between friend and something else and most of all I wanted to overstep those invisible lines before leaving Miyazaki and losing didn’t feel like an option. Hiro went to take a shower and I waited in the living room for him to return.

When he came back he decided to sit down next to me, instead of the usual chair on the opposite side of the table. He once again touched my knee and started to play with my hair. A few times his fingers managed to touch my cheek, which made my heart beat faster and sending warmth through my body. I worked up the courage and told him I would probably be lonely without him.

“Really?”

“Well, in the evenings maybe, since everybody goes to bed so early.”

After some time Hiro got up and went to his room to prepare for bed, I waited and hoped he would come back, which he did a few minutes later. He went behind my chair and put his hands on my shoulder, which put my full body on high alert. He started massaging my shoulders and I looked towards the living room mirror, hoping to catch a unnoticed glimpse of his face, but in the mirror’s reflection I saw him sending me a smile and I turned my blushing face away. His hands went away and he went over to stand in front of the heater. I followed.

”Ishouni neru?” (Should we sleep together?) *Not necessarily sexual. I could feel him walk closer up behind me. I felt my knees get weak as I looked into the empty room, where tatami mats was laid out. I turned around and faced him, we were both alone in the big living room.

“Chotto dame to omou” (Don’t think that’s a good idea) He laughed and agreed.

“Well, tomorrow I’ll go to Fukuoka” he said and looked directly at me.

He started playing with my hair again and his face came closer to mine and I suddenly started to feel warmth that was not caused by the heater. His hands stopped moving, but stayed in my hair and eyes looked into mine. That’s when a voice inside my head started yelling, “It’s happening! Now! It’s now! He’ll kiss you!” He opened his mouth a bit and my heart was racing in my chest. Beneath me my legs were fighting against the feeling of being reduced to some kind of jelly. I was about to lean my head towards his when my motion was interrupted by Hiro’s voice, which breached the silence.

“Oyasumi” (Goodnight) I opened my mouth in surprised and forced myself to say the same.

He gave me a smile and went into his room. I just stood there, unable to move my jelly legs and fought to gain control of my heart that just few minutes ago had hit overdrive. So close, but still so far. Was he playing with me? I looked towards his door and started cursing in silence. I finally managed to go to my room where I felt more than sad about the thought of Hiro leaving me for two days.

Japan Diary: March 16th (2010)

Tuesday March 16th (2010) – “Like a date”

Today both Hiro and I were up relatively early. We were both sitting in the living room, like always and I hoped he would come up with some kind of idea of how to spend the day. I wanted to go somewhere and what surprised me the most was that I wanted to go somewhere with him.

“What should we do?” I asked in a whiny voice.

Hiro looked at me and I could tell he was trying to think.

“What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know” I said and pretended to think, but in reality I was just waiting for him to come up with an idea.

Hiro got up and went to get his computer from his room, and then he started to search for famous places in Miyazaki.

“We could go to Umagasa.”

“Sure!” I had no idea of where that was, but I was longing to get out of the house.

We got in the car and began our “journey”. After some time Hiro tickled my knee again.

“Why?” I laughed and brushed his hand away.

“Why? Why?” Hiro repeated and made a small laugh.

Our first stop was at an observation building of some kind. From there you were presented with a beautiful view of the mountains, the coast and the blue ocean.

I took a lot of pictures and suddenly Hiro put his arm around me, but only for a very brief moment before he took a step back. What was he doing? While we were walking back to the car, Hiro stretched his hand out towards me, gestured me to take it, but I pushed it away. I feared he was joking around with me and didn’t want to look like a fool. If he was playing games with me, I wanted to be the winner.

We made another stop to enjoy the views of the sea and cliffs create the image of a cross, before reaching our main destination, Umagasa.

In order to see the cliff formation in the shape of a “horse back” (hence the name) you had to walk along narrow paths. Hiro gestured that I should take his arm, first I only laughed, but when he didn’t take it back and decided to play along and we ended up walking arm in arm.

“It’s like a date, right?” Hiro said and I made a short, awkward laugh.

Wen we reached the cliff formations, we let go of each other in order for me to take pictures. After that, we continued our walk, though separated. We reached the cliffs, which faced the open ocean, and we went to enjoy the view.

Like always there was silence between us, but for some reason I knew just what to ask.

“Why don’t you have a girlfriend?”

Hiro gave me a small laugh and seemed to think for a second. He said that with his current job it was a bit difficult. Him being away on a ship for 5 weeks at the time was not ideal. We decided to go back to the car, but this time around Hiro didn’t offer any hands or arms.  On the way home Hiro tickled my knee again. It was becoming a habit.

That evening we ate dinner like usual and then waited for Hiro’s parents to go to bed. When we were finally left alone in the big dining room, we looked at each other and I wondered if my face was turning red. He asked if we should go rent some movies, I had no interest in watching anything, but said yes. Guess I just wanted the opportunity to leave the house. We rented two American movies, with titles I can’t remember. Guess that showed my level of enthusiasm. I think I spent more time watching Hiro’s face, than the movies. When did I become such a silly girl? I wanted to kick myself under the table. After the movies, we talked for a bit and then Hiro suddenly touched my hair.

“It’s different than Japanese hair. So soft.” He said.

After having convinced my mouth to close and my face to stop looking stupid – especially getting rid of that kinda scared paralyzed look, I touched his hair as well. Not sure why I did it, since I had tried touching Japanese hair before, when I a year earlier had gotten very “friendly” with a guy in Tokyo. Who was I even fooling with that expression – “friends” don’t really do what we did.

After a little more “awkward time” we said our goodnights and went to bed.

Japan Diary: March 15th (2010)

Read the story from the beginning HERE (From the bottom of the page.)

Monday March 15th (2010) – “The day mutants invaded the house”

Today, I was awoken by the pouring rain outside, which hit against my window.  I got up and got ready. Today Keiko had promised to come by with friends from her “mother group” (other women with babies) Around 1 o’clock, Keiko’s car pulled up outside the house, followed by two other cars. I stood in the hallway ready to greet the three women with accompanying babies. The rain was still heavy and everyone rushed to get inside.

We all got seated in the tatami room and Keiko rushed from that room and the kitchen with the, cake and other things. I sat down on a pillow in front of the knee-high table and tried to look as social as possible. Keiko asked me where Hiro was and I remembered that I hadn’t seen him since yesterday. I guessed he was still in his room. Lazy guy.

The two women seemed to enjoy talking with the “foreign girl who spoke Japanese”. Especially since it’s not that Miyazaki is overcrowded with it comes to foreign tourists. They also took turns of handing me their 7 months old babies and taking pictures. Now they were the tourists? The two women left around 5 o’clock and Keiko went to the kitchen to prepare dinner and she asked me to look after Hikaru.

Hiro was still nowhere to be seen. Why did I care anyway? I asked myself and fought the urge to keep looking at the door of his room. Keiko went home and I ate dinner with my host father and mother. Shortly after dinner was finished my host mother went to bed and since the thought of watching TV with the father, in silence, didn’t excite me I went to my room.

Around 9 o’clock in the evening, I heard voices coming from the living room. I silently went out in the hall and went towards the living room. Hiro and his father were watching television with their backs turned against me. They had not heard me enter and I decided to stand there quietly – why? Well, I like to scare people like that. Evil me. I pretended to watch the TV, but in reality I was watching Hiro. I was standing like that, until Hiro finally noticed me. I went and sat next to him and asked him where he had been.

“I had a head ache.”

“Just that?”

“Yes.”

“Damn, you’re weak.”

After some time his father went to bed and we were left alone. Like always, silence followed.

“You were gone all day.” I said and tried to sound casually.

“Were you lonely?”

I considered which answer to give. Up till now I had been pretty cold and sarcastic, maybe I should start to be more honest about my feelings, since I don’t think this guy took subtle hints very well.

“A bit.” I answered.

“Really?! Then you should just have told me to come out.”

Was it that easy?  We sat there for some time, even though we both spoke Japanese it was like we couldn’t find the right words to say to each other. Suddenly Hiro tickled my knee, I felt that touch all the way through my body. After some time I decided to go take a shower, but out in the bath room I noticed, what I would consider a fairly big spider crawling on the wall. I knew I would not be able to take a shower, due to my huge fear of spiders so I went to the living room. I saw that the light was still on in Hiro’s room, so he was awake. I worked up courage and knocked on his door. He answered with a yes, but I waited for him to open the door himself, which he did shortly after. I told him my problem and he followed me to the bathroom.

“That one?” he asked and grinned.

“Yes, that one”

“That’s small. You should see the ones we normally have, they’re like…”

“No need!” I said and cut him off, while he was gesturing a size with his hands.

Two hands to show the size of one spider made me uncomfortable. While Hiro was removing the spider I left the bathroom and waiting in the hall. I suddenly looked up towards the ceiling, there I saw something I prayed to be a shadow, but I realized it wasn’t. It was a spider, bigger than I had ever seen, including television and bigger than my hand. I was sure my face had turned pale in the darkness of the hallway and I had trouble breathing. That wasn’t a spider, that was a mutant. Hiro came out and told me he had gotten rid of the spider, but all I could do was point towards my new discovery.

“See! That’s the ones I was talking about!” he said and laughed.

“Just get rid of it!”

“Yes, yes.” He said and shook his head.

He went to the living room and returned with a broom. I back down the hallway, while I watched him brush the spider down to the floor and direct it towards the door. It was like he was walking a dog. I turned around and looked at the door, which was next to the door of my room. There was another mutant sitting and starring back at me and that’s when I panicked.

Hiro returned with a smiling face and told me he had taken care of the problem.

“There’s a new one” and whimpered, Hiro looked at the door and sighed. He chased the spider into the room of the door it was sitting on.

“It’s okay” he then said and went over to me.

“It’s not okay.” I whimpered.

“It’s okay” he repeated and patted my head.

He went to check the rest of the hall and I followed.

“It’s okay” he said once again while fighting back a laugh.

“It’s not okay!” I snapped back and gave him a push.

“If you see anymore, just call me” Hiro said and went towards his room.

I went to the shower and hurried to my room, which I also gave a thorough check.

I regretted that I had decided to prolong my stay in Miyazaki, when I ordered my bus ticket for Fukuoka a few days earlier. First my plan had been to go to Fukuoka the following Saturday, but I changed it to Monday instead, giving me two more days. Around 4 in the morning I finally fell asleep.

Japan Diary: March 14th (2010)

 

April 2011 flash back.

”So do we hand in the papers?” my soon to be husband asked and gave my, probably pale face a worried look.

As I stod there in the Japanese city hall, ready to hand in marriage papers so many memories rushed through my head. How did I even end up here and was I making the right choice? If I hadn’t gone on the 9 week travel to Japan last year, I wouldn’t have been in this situation. I wouldn’t have been standing in this spot, that life would have been worlds apart from my actual life. I suddenly didn’t feel afraid about handing in the papers – I wanted to see my life as an adventure, a travel, even if it meant making mistakes.

 

Sunday March 14th (2010) – “A trip to the mountains”

Today Hiro and his father decided to take me to mountain area close to their home. I had to borrow shoes from Keiko, since they for some reason didn’t see my black, pointy boots as fit for some mountain hiking – I think they were right. So I was lucky that Keiko’s sneakers were a perfect fit, apparently we had the same height and the same shoe size.

It was around a 30-minute car trip where I enjoyed the beautiful views of the countryside passing by. We parked the car and got out. The first challenge was to climb some very steep stairs leading up to the hiking road.

I was walking behind the father and in front of Hiro. I didn’t want to slow people down and appear like a weak city girl – which I probably were. So I did my best to hide any traces of exhaustion. I often looked back at Hiro in hopes of catching him showing weakness, like a tired face, heavy breathing or slowed walking, which I could use for future teasing, but nothing. Stupid, countryside boy.  The path got more and more uneven and I often had to jump from rock to rock, while enjoying a great view of a very steep mountainside, with no fences and a promise of death if I thought about falling in. I started hearing the sounds of splashing water coming closer. Some time later we passed a small waterfall and after some more walking we reached the end of the hiking trail. A big waterfall appeared before us and I took in the nice view. Hiro decided to play show off and jumped out on the big rocks in the middle of the busy river, he reached the other side and went closer to the waterfall to take pictures. After that we headed home.

Like always, that night Hiro and I tried to have a conversation, but I’m still sure I could have more successful conversations with one of my pets. Maybe he just didn’t enjoy talking with me, but if he didn’t like our awkward conversations he could just stay in his room. Maybe he was just being nice to me.

Japan Diary: March 13th.

Saturday March 13th – “Another date with “The drunk girl””

For some reason I tried to turn on my computer when I woke up this morning. I expected to see a black screen, but to my surprise my computer started up as it normally would. I couldn’t believe it. It was working! I told the great news to my mother and my host mother. Hiro hadn’t returned from his friend, so I was alone with his parents. I had a lunch date with “The drunk girl”, Megumi, who came to pick me up around 12. We drove in her car to the neighbouring city to find a restaurant. Just like with Hiro, conversation subjects was limited. She had brought her little Chihuahua dog with her, which paced the backseat of the car thin.

“He hates driving.” Megumi said. Which, the little dog later proved by throwing up. We found a restaurant, though I was still struggling with finding a nice conversation starter. The restaurant had a TV, which I pretended to watch, just like when I had my lunch date with Hiro a few days earlier. I told her about my scary Friday and the hell my computer put me through, though Megumi was mostly interested in trying to figure out the name of the drink that was the cause of the whole thing. When we reached the agreement that the drink was called Yakult, she then wanted to convince me that it was very delicious. Not that I was in the same opinion nor did I think my computer cared. [Note: I guess now it sounds like I disliked Megumi, which I didn’t. I did like spending time with her, just awkward at times.]

Megumi insisted on paying for the dinner and we went back to her car where her dog was eagerly waiting. We then drove around a bit, went to a 100 yen shop, looked at some other shops, met her mother and her aunt, which took over her dog and then we went back to my homestay city. Megumi then wanted to go to the supermarket to buy ice cream, which she also insisted on paying. Though I did try to pry the ice from her hands and told her I wanted to pay. Yes it did get physical. No luck.

Then we went to a nearby park to eat the ice cream and talk. After that she drove me home and said I should call her if I got bored, because she had plenty of free time. Well we did have that in common. When I returned home, Hiro still wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Was that feeling disappointment? No way! Though the big house seemed a bit empty without his stupid jokes. My host mother told me that he had sent a text saying he would be home around 21 (9 pm.) I ate dinner with the parents and around 20:30, they went off to bed. I stayed in the living room, with my computer, pretending to watch television, though the truth was I was waiting for Hiro to return.

The clock passed 21, no Hiro and moved on to 22 around 23 [11 pm] I decided to return to my room. Shortly after I heard the sound of a car pulling up the driveway. He was back. I went out to the hallway, waited by the corner of the main door and as he opened it I made it look like I was casually passing by on my way to the living room. Hiro came and sat with me in the, now dark, living room. We talked a little about our day and then… we went to bed. Yes, successful, I know…

Japan Diary: March 12th.

Friday March 12th – “The day my computer died”

Today I had a skype conversation in the morning, in my room, when Keiko came by. I took my computer with me to greet her. She made me taste a brown, sweet, liquid in a small bottle. I placed the bottle next to my computer, which of course was a bad decision. In a quick motion my one-week-old apple laptop, hit the bottle and made the content spill out over the keyboard. I quickly tried to save my computer with tissues. I saw myself as lucky, since my keyboard is covered with a protective, silicone layer. Only until I realized the liquid which has gone around the computer and into the fan.

First the computer showed no sign of damage, except it notified me that the battery was running out. I went to my room to charge, but here the first problem occurred.  There was no reaction when I tried to charge. The family did a lot to try and save my computer. Hiro also took me to a guy who repaired computers; unfortunately he only dealt with Microsoft windows computers, not apple. Hiro called the closest apple store… in Fukuoka. (The other side of Kyushu).  They told me that it would cost 100,000 yen to repair and it would take 2 weeks.  I couldn’t believe it. I called my mother, who called the apple store in Copenhagen, which told her they would fix the damage for free. Great then I just had to carry a dead computer around for another 8 weeks.

In the evening the computer suddenly started to recharge and I felt extremely relieved. I quickly went to Hiro’s room to tell him the news, but his father told me that Hiro had gone out to return a rental movie. I returned to my room and when I tried to turn on the computer, my new feeling of hope was shattered. The screen was black with some occasional worrying colours flashing by. I turned it off and called my mother again. That evening Hiro went to visit a friend and I spent the rest of the night talking with my mother. (on skype in my ipod), trying to chase away deep frustration.