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.