Japan Diary: March 11th [Part 2/3]

Thursday March 11th – “Reaching Aoshima”
Driving with Hiro was just as I imagined. Awkward silence. I searched my brain countless times for subjects to talk about, but I ran out way too soon. And couldn’t exactly say, “One-word-Hiro” was a great help, when it came to conversation.
Instead I decided to focus my attention on the beautiful scenery, which started to stretch before my eyes. Tall mountains, gray cliffs and the blue ocean, which sparkled in the sun.
I finally saw a sign saying, Aoshima, but Hiro drove in another direction. He told he wanted to show me some nice scenery and then after we would go to Aoshima. The roads became smaller and suddenly we were in the middle of a town. A town build up around a beautiful beach. I was pretty sure my mouth was wide open, as a watched the small, typical Japanese houses, facing the sparkling, blue ocean. The houses were on various ground levels, since the town was growing on a steep hill, facing down to the ocean.
Hiro took a turn down another road and we were now on our way back to Aoshima. I gave Hiro a look; maybe he wasn’t such a bad tour guide after all. A silent one, no doubt, but he had actually given this trip some thought.

We once again passed the Aoshima sign, this time following the directions. After driving through a mountain, there was a full ocean view on one side of the road – on the other side was the steep mountainside. After driving a little longer, Hiro found a parking lot and we got out of the car. We weren’t at Aoshima, yet, so where were we? Hiro told me I should taste the “Apple-mango” soft ice they sold here. After buying the ice cream, we went to a viewing deck facing the ocean.

I took a lot of pictures and enjoyed the beauty of two of my favourite things in this world: mountains and ocean.

After some time, Hiro asked if we should continue to Aoshima. I nooded and we got back to the car. It was a short drive, but the continuing silence made it feel longer. I had started to give up on even trying to start a conversation. We pulled in on another parking lot and once again we got out of the car. We followed a cemented path along a huge beach. I could quickly spot Aoshima. The tiny island in the ocean, not so far from the shore we were walking on. There was a long stone bridge, leading from our side of the shore, to Aoshima’s tiny shore. Even from afar, you could spot the great red torii (gate), which seems to be the symbol of Aoshima.

There was a nice amount of people visiting Aoshima on this sunny day. Next to the torii was the famous, devil’s washboard (Oni no Sentakuita). Long, straight, rows of salt rock, visible during low tide. I didn’t expect there would be that many rows of rocks. Many people gathered to take pictures of these strange, geological formations.

After that I followed Hiro through the red Torii, to the red Jinja (shrine) located in the middle of the island, surrounded by palm trees, like in a jungle.

We passed the Jinja and followed a small path to the right; this narrow path was also surrounded by jungle and blocked out all outside noise. At the end of the path was a small jinja, also red. We made a u-turn and took the same path back out, ending up at the red torii again. Hiro asked if I wanted to walk around the island and I said sure. – Since I’ve always liked walking. As we started walking away from the torii and the shrine I started to notice the lack of other people. Hiro and I walked silently side by side (though with distance between us) and we started to reach the end of the island.
“Daremo inai yo. Kiotsukette” (Here’s nobody around. Watch out.) He said and gave me a smile.
I gave him a small push to the side. My way of saying: bad joke.
“Sou ne. Chotto abonai kamo ne” (True. Maybe it is a bit dangerous.)
“Sou yo. Otoko wa ookami desu kara” (True. Because men are wolves.) Hiro said and laughed.
I rolled my eyes and shook my head. He finally talked and that was what he gave me.
We reached the end and Hiro went to walk on the laid out stones, marking the edge, where the sand met the ocean. There was about a meter from the stones to the water surface.
Hiro was facing the water, with his back turned on me. I looked in the same direction as he was, but for some reason, I wasn’t watching the scenery, I was watching him.


Japan Diary: March 11th [Part 1/3]

Thursday March 11th – “Great way to start a trip to Aoshima”
I woke up a lot earlier than I thought I would, I looked at the clock; it was only 7:30 in the morning. I quickly located the reason why I wasn’t still sound a sleep. Megumi was gathering her things, which were spread out in my room. I could tell that she hoped to leave without waking me up – this really started to feel like the morning after a drunken one-night stand.
Megumi finally noticed I was awake. She lifted up a bottle of green tea, asking if I wanted it.
“Doko ni iku no?” (Where are you going?) I asked with a sleepy voice.
“I’m going home.”
“When will you be back? We’re going to Aoshima in a few hours.”
“I’m sorry, I’m not going. I have to go home, I’m too tired to go on a trip
I was now more awake. She wasn’t going? Which meant, it was just Hiro and I going to Aoshima. That was I was trying to avoid, by asking her to come with us yesterday.
“You can’t leave me alone with Hiro!” I said in a begging voice.
She gave me a smile and a short laugh.
“Gomen ne… Hiro… yoroshiku ne.” (Sorry. My regards to Hiro)
“Megumi… ikanaide!” (Megumi… don’t go!)

She smiled again, seeming to find this situation very amusing.
“Let’s go have lunch together, soon. You have my number, you can call me anytime you feel bored.” Megumi said and left the room shortly after.
The one-night stand feeling had a short comeback. I looked out into the empty room, I could already imagine how the trip to Aoshima would turn out. Awkward. Just Hiro and I.
With a deep sigh, I let my head fall back on the pillow and went back to sleep.

I got up around 9 since I wanted to take a shower before the trip began. Around 10 o’clock I went to the living room. I wondered if Hiro was just as tired as Megumi seemed to be. They drank around the same amount of alcohol yesterday. Were we even going to Aoshima? The sound of Hiro’s bedroom door being opened interrupted my thoughts. Hiro gave me a smile and went to the shower room. After some time he returned. He didn’t seem tired at all. He sat down next to me, at the dining table.
“Megumi wa doko?” (Where’s Megumi?) He asked.
“Kaerimashita” (She went home)
“Sou? Itsu ga kuru no?” (When is she coming?)
“Kunai yo. Nemutai omou” (She’s not coming. Think she wants to sleep)

Hiro looked at me for a second. Maybe he saw the same uncomfortable Aoshima trip flashing through his mind, as I saw this morning. But then he gave me a smile.
“Jya… watashi tachi dake ne. Itsu iku?” (Well… then it’s the two of us, right? When do we leave?)
I looked at him for a second. Trying to figure out how he imagined this trip would be. He surely seemed to have a different image of the trip, or else… he really was … weird. I surely voted for the last option.
“I’m ready to go, when you are.” I said and gave him a smile.
I really should have been an actress. I had the gift, I was sure of it. And I knew I needed it today. We agreed to go right after we had lunch.

We ate together with my host father and host mother and after that Hiro and I went to get our things. It was great weather today. The sun was shining, the sky were blue and a perfect temperature. Hiro slid open the front door and told me he would go and get the car. I closed the sliding door behind me and put on my sunglasses. Hiro stopped the car next to me and I went to get in.