Monday, September 5, 2011

How I got lost in Japan...again. Now includes: MAP!

Today started as a really good day.

Even though it was raining hard, this morning was a good morning. My host mother and I walked to the train station together so I would know how to get there on foot. I navigated the trains flawlessly, got to Nanzan without any worries.

I took my placement test and it was really easy. I no doubt placed in the right class (I'll know for sure tomorrow), even though I hardly studied all summer.

At first I didn't know what to do with my hour of free time, as everyone had seemed to already make friends and I was, for some reason, being shy, so I decided to check out the area. I ended up in the building where our orientation was going to be, where I saw a guy walking aimlessly around by himself, so I decided to approach him since having another friend would probably be nice, or something.

His name was Mickey, and together we killed an hour talking and hanging out and walking around campus. He's a pretty cool guy. We went to orientation, got our campus tour, and then went to the welcome party.

Also there was a killer view from one of the buildings, whether I captured it or not on camera is hard to say:

At first I was super uncomfortable there, but everyone began to loosen up and my tour guide introduced us to two other girls; one Japanese and one Chinese, both fluent in Japanese. Their names were Ayame and Maho. We really hit it off and I felt awesome that I seemed to be making friends.

The day ended smoothly and on my way home I met up with some more people that I talked with on the train, one's name was David but I didn't really know any of the other people, and we talked and chilled and I managed to get back to the train station near my host family's house with ease.

Five o'clock. A ten to fifteen minute walk down a road, take a right. So easy. AND YET.

I did as I remembered. Hell, I even recognized all the shops. But after I went down a hill and then back up on the other side, I realized I didn't really know where I was going. Because of the rain from this morning, I didn't really get to see how I was getting to the station, even though I was trying to pay attention.

The road I thought I knew.

The sidewalk these tired feet walked on for like, an hour. No, seriously.
Deceptively pretty. Annoyingly unfamiliar.
So somewhere in this city of about 2 million people...I live somewhere in here.

I walked ten minutes in that direction, then turned around and headed back. On the way I stopped by a convenience store, police, and a library, all asking for directions. Because guess who didn't bring my host family's phone number or address with me? THIS GIRL.

By the time I got to the library, we managed to figure out where I lived. It was in the direction I had walked earlier, just a little farther, and to the right. We figured it out because it was near a park and an elementary school and on the right side of the street, just like my host house is.

By the time I get to where the printed-out map says I should be, I realized that I had NO idea where I was. I didn't understand because I recognized the street I had been walking on, I took a right, I was near an elementary school and a park, but I was in the wrong area.

Don't cry, Haley. I tell myself. Deep breaths. You still have at least half an hour until it gets dark.

But I had no phone. No number to call. No address. This was not like when I was in Tokyo with a cell phone and an infinite number of ways to get home via train. I was on foot, and it was getting dark, and I was tired and stressed and scared.

I rang someone's doorbell and started to explain my situation. And finally I broke down and cried.

The woman that answered was middle aged, probably in her late forties or so, and she said the house we were at was her mother's house. I explained to her that if I could get my hands on a computer, I could get my host mom's cell phone number and we could work from there, but the woman's mother's house didn't have a computer, so she directed me into her car and we went to her house.

I literally have done so many things today that I was told not to do as a child. Don't get lost, don't walk in the dark, have a way to contact someone if you get lost, DON'T GET IN A STRANGER'S CAR. I'm pretty sure I did EVERYTHING wrong. Though I could be wrong.

But honestly, she was really nice and I trusted her. She drove me to her house, we used her computer and I got my host family's address, and she actually drove me there, too. I came to understand that the road I started down initially, after getting off at the station, was the completely wrong road and I needed to take a left turn out of the station, THEN go straight, then right.

After about an hour and forty minutes of wandering and this incredibly nice Japanese lady who was chauffeuring me around, talking to me about her son who studied abroad in L.A., helping me out SO much while all I could say was, "I'm sorry" and "thank you so much" and try to not cry more, I FINALLY ended up at my host family house, thanked her a million sincere times, and went inside.

And then I cried for like twenty minutes because honestly, that was the dumbest situation I ever put myself into. Someday I think I'll make a funnier version of this story, but right now I'm sad I was so dumb, but I will now have my host mother's address and phone number on me at all time.

Talk about learning a lesson the hard way.

Today started as a great day, but the last two hours totally spoiled the fact that I made friends and understood my placement test and had a good time knowing where I was going on the trains.

To mom and dad reading this, I can be pretty stupid sometimes, but at least every time I get lost, I manage to find my way back. Which is great. I think some dogs and rats have the ability to find their way home. So at least I'm as smart as a dog.

For everyone's convenience I have drawn a map for you all of my adventure. It goes in chronological order (from one to seven) :

Total time being frustrated: An hour and 40 minutes.

Update after thirty minutes and some dinner: I'm glad that today happened. It was fun up until I got lost, but I think I've finally learned to be more cautious when it comes to walking alone. I was lucky I met such a kind woman (though there are more people in Japan that help than hurt), and really, only good can come from this day. Yeah. Or something.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Haley how I wish I could be there with you for your adventures :)