Japan Diary: March 11th [Part 3/3]

Okay so I haven’t updated in ages. I started university, gotten my own apartment and overall a lot of things to deal with. I want to finish this though. I’ve created another blog, which allows me to be more random – since I’ve now devoted this blog to my Japan diary. My new blog is called “Understanding Japanese” (the link is in the right sidebar.) which will be about anything Japan-related I can think of. (Things, food, language, the people…) Maybe it’ll also become a personal blog… I’ll go to Japan again later this month. (only for two weeks). And then I’ll use the other blog to update. (since I want to keep this “clean”).

Thursday March 11th – “Really? Him?!”

Was I really watching him? The guy I was just yesterday trying to avoid. Even this morning I dreaded being alone with him. I remembered Hiro’s reaction when I told Megumi I didn’t have a problem with him being 10 years older than me. Did I even have a chance with this guy? And am I only interested because he’s Japanese. Not that he’s bad looking, but it would surprise me. It’s no secret I like Japanese guys. Even getting “familiar” with a few, in Tokyo and Osaka. Did I really want more “flings and flirts” like that? Besides what did I have to offer? My talent when it comes to talking too much and being sarcastic? Sure, we are a great match.

I decided I just wanted to have fun with it. Just let things run their course and look where it ends. Of course it didn’t mean I couldn’t help things a little. I went closer to Hiro and gave his back a small push. “Abonaiyo!” (That’s dangerous!) Hiro said with a laugh and jumped down from the edge. We continued to walk around the tiny island and headed back to the car. On the way home I pretended to be asleep to avoid the awkward silence. Yes, great match. When we came home we ate dinner with his parents as usual and talked in the evening. The next morning I received an e-mail from Hiro, with the photos we took yesterday, with a small message attached.



楽しかったね。まだ行こ *^_^*

(Isabella, Thank you for yesterday. It was fun. Let’s go again.)

Did he really think it was a nice trip?


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.

Japan Diary: March 10th.

Wednesday March 10th – “Sharing my bed with a drunk Japanese girl.”
Yesterday I was told, that my host father and host mother had an appointment at the hospital, so they would be away from the morning. It would be just Hiro and me in the house.
Knowing that fact, I decided to spend my morning in my room – my clever way of avoiding Hiro. When I later on went to the bathroom, there were no signs of Hiro, so maybe he was avoiding me too or just sleeping very late.
I returned to my room, waiting for Keiko to come, since we were having lunch together today. But, it wasn’t Keiko, who around lunchtime knocked on my door, it was Hiro. He told me Keiko had called him to tell she couldn’t make it. He then asked if we should go out to get lunch together instead. I was pretty hungry, so it would be stupid to turn him down. I followed him out to the front door, were we got our jackets on. We ate at a hotel near the house, which offered a lunch buffet. It was lunch served with a lot of awkward silence. I was very thankful the place had a TV in the room, so I could pretend that I was actually watching it, taking a break from desperately thinking about topics to talk about.

Shortly after we returned to the house, one of Keiko’s friends came by. She was one of those who also had come by the house Monday evening. I remembered her name, Megumi, though we hadn’t really talked that evening. She had brought cake along for us. Even though I was full, I surely can’t say no to cake.

The three of us sat down around the dinning table ate cake and talked, mostly Megumi and I though. Later on Keiko came by. Her and Megumi shared their memories of their teenage days with me. How they had worked in Tokyo and partied every weekend. As evening approached, the father and mother returned home. They asked Megumi to join us for dinner. She accepted, but first she had to bring some things home. Keiko and I went with her, to her house, only 10 minutes away, on foot. She led us through the kitchen, where I was presented to her mother and then into her bedroom. Keiko and I waited for her there. I had already seen three Japanese homes in four days, which was a new record. When Megumi got back, she showed me some pictures from the before mentioned, teenage days. After that we went back to my homestay house.
The six of us had a nice, BBQ dinner in the house, my host father offered Megumi beer during dinner and she quickly drank two cans. After dinner, we had snacks in the form of, peanuts, slices of apple and squid. Megumi continued to drink and Hiro had joined her. As usual, my host father decided to go to bed around 8 pm. I had promised to talk with my mother on skype, this evening, so everyone was waited excited around my computer in the big living room, everyone wanted to hear me speak Danish. During the conversation with my mother, I showed the Hikaru on the camera and Megumi, who was getting a bit drunk, kept laying her head on my shoulder. My host mother went to bed. Keiko asked Megumi to stay and sleepover, after that Keiko also went to bed. Leaving, Megumi, Hiro and I in the living room.

I think this is when things started to change. Taking a new direction for the rest of my stay in Miyazaki. A direction I surely hadn’t seen coming.

It was like Hiro and Megumi was competing in drinking the most. Making both of them more talkative, especially Megumi, who asked me all sorts of questions. She also asked if my host father and host mother always went to bed so early. Hiro and I answered, yes.
“So it’s always just the two of you, talking in the evenings?”
I looked over at Hiro. Her question had a kind of tone, which made me convinced she would like the answer.
“Yeah, you can say that. Since everyone is sleeping” I answered and saw Hiro giving a nod.
Now, she was without a doubt interested and a whole new set of questions followed.
Questions such as; Do you think he is good looking? How old do you think he looks? Do you mind he is 10 years older than you?
I had no idea what made me answer no, to the last question. Because only a few days ago, I had seen the 10 year old as difference as a problem. Why did I even give a straight answer? I wasn’t interested in Hiro. As I answered that question, I looked at Hiro and I was like a saw a small hint of relief. Like it was the answer he had hoped for.
For talked some more that evening and Megumi also drank a lot more. When it was time to go to bed, there was no doubt the tiny, 26 year old girl, had reached her limit. She insisted on, that her and I should share a bed, even though a futon was prepared for her in the tatami room. It looked like Hiro found the whole thing very funny, as Megumi held on to my arm and once again resting her head on my shoulder.

The three of us went to brush our teeth. Hiro said we should go to Takachiho tomorrow. I looked at the clock, it was almost 3:30 am, if we were going to Takachiho we had to leave the house before 10, making as all very tired. So I told him we should go another day. What about Aoshima? I added, knowing that place was only about an hour drive away. Hiro quickly agreed to this. We asked Megumi to come along with us. First she hesitated, but I pleaded her some more, which made her say yes. After that we went to bed. I was glad my bed was big enough for the both of us, to lie comfortably, even though I couldn’t help but to think about how weird this whole situation seemed. Surely hadn’t tried sharing my bed with a drunk Japanese girl before.

Japan Diary: March 9th

Tuesday March 9th – “Feeling lazy”

Today I once again had breakfast with Keiko. I hadn’t made any plans for what to do this day. Time just seemed to pass faster with Keiko and Hikaru around me.  After lunch, it was time for Hikaru to take a nap and Keiko showed me some photos on her computer. Once in a while Hiro would pass through the living room, maybe I should completely stop noticing his presence, like he seemed to often do with me.  After some time, Hikaru woke up and Keiko decided it was time to go back to her own home. I quickly asked when she planned to visit again and she answered that she would come by tomorrow, then we could go and have lunch together.  I didn’t do much else that day. Ate dinner with, my host father and mother and of course Hiro. The father and mother always seemed to go to bed very early. I was like every evening was repeated. During dinner they would talk casually and watch television, then while eating or after, Hiro and his father would begin to discuss something.

Which would always end up in Hiro saying, “Urusai na” (Noisy), which would make his father respond with “ahou” (idiot/ stupid), then the father would send me a smile or something, either to show that it wasn’t seriously meant or maybe hoping I would agree. The whole thing would then end with Hiro saying “Otousan, hora! Neru jikan dayo” (Dad, look! It’s bedtime) while pointing at the clock, above the TV. And soon after, shortly past 8 pm, the father would get up, telling us all good night and then go to the bedroom. The mother would then sit a little longer and then around one hour later her bedtime had come. Leaving Hiro and me alone in the living room.  Today I had brought my computer with to the living room, Hiro went to get his as well. For some reason we both decided to sit there in the living room, looking at each of our computer, opposite each other at the big dinning table, instead of just sitting by our computers in our own rooms, where the internet was working just as well.

We didn’t talk that much at first, but as the evening progressed, we actually managed to have minor conversations.

Japan Diary: March 8th

Monday March 8th – “Girls’ day?! Saved!”

When I the next morning entered the living room, Keiko was already making breakfast for us. Hikaru was still sleeping and my host mother and host father had already eaten breakfast, so it was just Keiko and me who sat down around the big dining table to have French toast.
After a little while, the father and mother came into the living room.
“Hey, I was thinking, let’s take a trip to Miyazaki city today.” Keiko said.
I looked at her confused, since I thought I was going on an awkward trip with Hiro,
“You, me and mother. Let’s have a girls’ day. Then you can go to Takachiho another day.”
Keiko gave me a smile and I smiled back. For some reason I really liked her a lot already. So surely I didn’t mind, I just wondered if Hiro knew the change of plans.
“It’s also best if she doesn’t spend too much time alone with Hiro.” My host father suddenly said.
I wasn’t sure if I understood his Japanese correct or if I understood the meaning of that sentence. What did they expect to happen between Hiro and me?
As called, Hiro came out of his room that very moment.
“Hey, Hiro. We’re taking Isabella to Miyazaki city today. Then you can go to Takachiho another day.” Keiko told him and started cleaning the table.
Hiro looked at her for a minute, with a surprised face. Well… guess he didn’t know about the change. Just like me.
“Okay. Sure…” He answered and went to the bathroom.

Not long after I got myself ready to go to Miyazaki city with Keiko and my host mother. We got out in Keiko’s car and began our trip. The first stop was in the neighbouring city, because Keiko needed to pick up some things in her house. We drove down very narrow roads, with small houses on all sides; it was like any other Japanese residential area. Keiko had to back the car down the street where her house was. Her house was nothing like her parents’ house. It was a lot more like the houses I was used to seeing in Japan: very small and with very few rooms. You stepped directly into a small kitchen, when entering. Keiko led her mother and me through the kitchen into the main room of the house. There was a Japanese-style table, with some pillows to sit on. I sat down on a pillow and Keiko handed me Hikaru and asked me to watch him, while she went to get some things. From my place in the living room I could see the small bedroom, where Keiko, her husband and Hikaru slept. Everything; small and narrow. After that we got back in the car and drove to Miyazaki city. First we stopped my a sowing machine shop, where I once again was asked to watch Hikaru, while Keiko and her mother spoke to a shop assistant. Then we went to a AEON shopping mall, where we went around and looked at various shops. Later on it got time for lunch, so we drove to a nice café, which had a lunch buffet. After that it was time to drive home.

In the evening the five of us (The mother, father, Hiro, Keiko and I) had dinner. Not long after the father and mother went to bed. Later on I tried talking a bit with Hiro in the living room, I was glad Keiko decided to join our conversation, since Hiro and I still hadn’t found any major conversation subjects. We talked about various things, they still found it very interesting that I had learned to speak Japanese, just by watching Japanese dramas. Keiko asked me, what some of my favourites were, and I answered “Hana Yori Dango.”. Mostly because I knew that was popular in Japan.
“Oh, Hana Yori Dango! I love that one! Who is your favourite character?” Keiko said excited.
“Hanazawa Rui, mostly because I like Oguri Shun (the actor who plays Hanazawa Rui)”
“Yes, Oguri Shun is cool, isn’t he.” Keiko said with a dreaming look.
“I only read the manga.” Hiro said.
“Back in high school, people used to say that Hiro looked like Hanazawa Rui (of the manga)” Keiko said.
I gave Hiro a sceptical look. He smiled and nodded, looking proud. I didn’t see it.
“That’s a joke, right?” I said.
“No, not at all. It was also because of his school uniform and such.” Keiko smiled.
After a bit more of that: “you got to be kidding”– conversation. Hiro got up and went to his room, after a few minutes he came out again, wearing a light school uniform jacket, almost white, with black buttons. He really did want to win this discussion.
I looked at him and pretended to concentrate.
“Kakkoii ne?” (Cool/handsome, right?) Hiro said and let his hand go through his hair.
“Kimochi waruii” (You make me sick) I said and rolled my eyes.

Keiko stayed another night with Hikaru, in the tatami room. After Keiko had gone to bed, it was just Hiro and I left in the living room. I tried asking him a few things about his work and such, to avoid awkward silence. Which actually worked. He still wasn’t a big talker, but I started to feel a bit more relaxed around him. Some time later we went to bed.

* In the second picture: Host mother, Hiro & Hikaru.

Japan Diary: March 7th

Sunday March 7th – “A good feeling and a smell of cows.”

I decided to get up around 9am, not because I felt rested and ready to be active, but I didn’t want to waste time on sleeping too much. I went to brush my teeth and after that I went to the living room, where the father and mother was up. We talked for some time about various things. My host father told me that if there was anywhere I wanted to go, Hiro could drive me.
“Really? That’s great.” I said and smiled.
That was a lie, obviously. I hadn’t gotten the best impression of Hiro so far, so the thought of going on trips with him didn’t flatter me much. I was sure that would be awkward.
Since I had seen no signs of Hiro this morning, I presumed he was still sleeping.
My host mother took me on a small drive around the area, after that we went to the nearest supermarket, followed by the library and on the way back to the house, she stopped by a friend’s house. It was the first time I had been this far out to the Japanese countryside, before this trip I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really liked the feeling there was here in Miyazaki prefecture. It was very different from Tokyo’s crowded streets and Osaka’s noisy shopping areas. It was like things had their own pace here… a good feeling. The mother drove me back to the house, after we got out of the car, I told her I wanted to go for a walk to see the area.

I decided to see if I could remember the way from the house to the nearest station, it surprised me I could. On the way I passed various fields, most of them growing rice. And there was a smell of cows in the air. It took my around 40 minutes on foot to reach the small station.

After that I went to look at the beach. I could hear the voices of small children playing around on the playground next to the beach, but besides that the area was empty. I looked at the waves for some time and felt very happy and content. Suddenly I noticed the children from the playground coming closer. They were three.
They seemed to be very interested in me, and it looked like they were trying to gain courage to come and talk to me. I decided to pretend I hadn’t seen them. It took a few additional minutes before one of the girls ran up next to me.
“Konnichi wa.” (Hello). She said in a shy voice.
“Konnichi wa”
“Nan jin desu ka?” (What’s your nationality?)
“Denmaku-jin desu.” (I’m Danish)
“Yoroshiku ne!” (Nice to meet you)
She said and gave me a quick bow, before running back to her friends.

After that I decided it was time to start walking back to my homestay house. When I arrived back, it was almost time for dinner. Just when we were supposed to start eating, one of Hiro’s friends dropped by. Hiro tried to make his friend talk to me, for some reason. – Great, jerk. You don’t have any interest in talking to me yourself. I thought to myself. Hiro’s friend seemed very shy and every time he said something to me, his face turned red.
“Tomorrow, let’s take her to Takachiho!” Hiro said to his friend.
It was me who earlier said I wanted to go there sometime, but I also knew it was a long drive. Around three hours, each way. Six hours drive with those two, which could only turn out to be lots of fun, right? Hiro’s friend seemed a bit surprised about it, but agreed. Shortly after, Keiko came to the house, bringing along two of her friends, who apparently wanted to meet me.
So suddenly we were 7 people sitting around the table talking about various topics and with me in the centre of attention.

Later on the friends went home, but Keiko stayed with Hikaru. I was told her husband was in Nagoya in the moment and wouldn’t be home before in a few days. Next to the living room was a big room, where tatami mats was laid out. Keiko and my host mother went to take out two futon beds and lay out in the tatami room. The two women sat down on the beds and tried making Hikaru fall asleep. Hiro who had gone to his room a little earlier came out to tell me that his friend had to cancel on the Takachiho trip tomorrow. So it was just the two of us, if I didn’t mind that.
“Daijoubu” (it’s okay). – I said and gave him a smile.
That was of course a lie. Hiro went back to his room and I turned my attention back to the tatami room, where Hikaru was still awake. I took of my slippers and went to sit down next to Keiko on the futon. Some time later I decided it was time to go to bed.

Japan Diary: March 6th [Part 2/2]

(Continued from previous post)

After some time a car came.


“Hai…” (Yes) I answered and went to greet my host.

We put my suitcase in the trunk and I got in on the front seat of the car. My host was an elderly man around 60. I wasn’t really sure how many members he had in his family and I expected just him and his wife in the house. He seemed relived that I understood Japanese, so he started explaining who was waiting in the house.

“My wife is there. Then my son is at home as well. He has vacation from work, so he will be home until the end of March.”

The word “son” caught my attention. I must admit I do have a weakness for Japanese guys. Maybe…

“He is 30 years old” my host interrupted my thoughts.

30 years old? Well then… just forget about it. For some reason I felt a bit disappointed.

“Right now, my daughter is at the house as well, she is 26 and married. She lives in the neighbour city. She has her little son with her.”

This was good news. Japanese babies are always cute and I liked the idea of there being a lot of people in the house.

“Well, this is my house.” My host said and stopped the car in front of a house covered in darkness.

When we got inside, I was greeted in the hallway by the before mentioned family members.  I was quickly led from the hallway, to the living room. This house was a lot bigger than what I was used to in Japan. I sat down by the big dining table, with room for at least 6 people. My host mother brought me dinner and the others sat down and observed me. I was introduced to the family. The father and mother were sitting at the end of the table, on each side. Opposite me was the daughter, Keiko, holding her son, Hikaru, who was 7 months old. She seemed very excited about my presence and was doing most of the talking. She had a great youthful and happy aura about her and I instantly liked her. She was especially excited about the fact that I could speak Japanese – so I could understand her.

Next to Keiko, there was the before mentioned son, Hiro. He was the one who seemed the least interested in me. The three other family members was talking and asking me questions, while Hiro was just sitting there, quiet and only sending me occasional looks. He looked younger than I had expected, he actually wasn’t that bad looking – too bad he’s 30 and more importantly, he seemed a bit like an arrogant person. I turned my attention back to the talkative Keiko who was going over a self-made list of dinner ideas for the next two weeks.

A bit later on, Keiko decided it was time for her to return to her own house, but promised to be back the next day. After that my host mother showed me around the house, my room was in the end of a long hallway, with wooden floor and walls. All the rooms in this house were connected to this hallway. In one end there was the big living room and kitchen and in the other end there was my room. In between were the front door, two toilets and a bathroom.  The room next to mine were the father and mother’s bedroom, and next to the living room was Hiro’s room. There were two additional rooms; one had probably been the oldest son’s, who was married.

I went to take a shower and after that I went to get the gifts I had brought for the family. Hiro had already gone to his room, so I gave the gifts to my host father and decided it was time to go to bed. It was around 11 pm.

Japan Diary: March 6th [Part 1/2]

Saturday March 6th – “Way out on the country side”

I was back in the country I always missed being in. The country that felt more like home, than Denmark. I cleared immigration and went to get my suitcase. After that I went from arrivals to the departure lobby. I walked over to the domestic departure area to look for my next and final flight to Miyazaki in Southern Japan. I checked in my suitcase in once again, after checking in the only problem was the seven hours of waiting I had to survive. And since I’m not able to sleep on airplanes, I was missing a bed more than ever.

I looked a bit around Nagoya airport, but was too tired to actually enjoy being in Japan. I decided to just find my gate, instead of walking around for no reason. My gate was of course empty – considering that there was four hours left, before departure. Around one hour before departure the first people started showing, when we were finally ready to board the plane, it didn’t surprise me I was the only foreigner. Most of the people waiting to get on the plane had a very countryside-style, it didn’t seem like fashion was the biggest priority among these people. On the other hand, I already knew I was going to the countryside of Japan – I just wasn’t sure to which extent.

The plane ride felt long, even though it was just one and a half hour. Miyazaki airport was very small and guess they didn’t find the need to set up any passport controls in this domestic airport. I went to get my suitcase and headed for the train station. It was now around 6 pm and already dark outside. The sidewalk leading to the airport station was lined with white taxis and palm trees, making me feel my like having arrived in some exotic place.

I went to buy my train ticket and was glad to see the station only had two platforms. I was though surprised to see that there was no machine to accept my ticket, like normally in Japan – instead an elderly guy was ready to accept it and gave it a stamp.

I asked him which train I should take and he pointed to a red one already waiting on the platform. I was a very old train. I lifted up my suitcase to carry it up the two steps, which were in the train. I decided just to stand in the hallway, instead of going into the cabin, since it looked like it was only for people with reserved seats. Besides, I only had a 6 minutes ride on this train. I got off at Minami Miyazaki station and went to look for my next train, which wasn’t easy. I’m normal very used to Japanese train systems and since I memorize kanji quickly I normally don’t have a problem with Japanese-only train maps. The problem on Minami Miyazaki station was more the big lack of maps. There were a few signs writing the major stations for each direction. Unfortunately I didn’t know which direction I was going in, all I had was a station name, so I needed a full train map. I went up the stairs to the main area in hopes of finding a better map – which I didn’t. So I went to ask the man accepting tickets (once again, no machine). Luckily he quickly gave me the name of the line, the number of the platform and the departure time. Once again, it was a very old train.

The train was very noisy, making it impossible to hear the train stop announcements, which started to make me worry. I tried desperately to see the station names at each stop, but everything was dark and there was no sign in sight. I finally asked a young girl, what the name was of the next station. I realized that next station was my stop. When I got off at the station, the train conductor also got out, ready to accept my ticket – it was like being several years back in time. I took out my cell phone to call my host, who said he would be there in 10 minutes. I looked around and saw nothing, but darkness. No light from houses and the streetlights was very limited.

“Kowaii yo” (scary) I whispered to myself and went to the entrance of the station to wait.