My eyeglasses started to fog up when we got off the bus. Of course, we were at the wrong stop. Actually, we had no idea if we even got in the right bus in the first place. But who cares? Doesn’t it happen to everyone? I guess it’s one of the common struggles of being a tourist in a foreign country. But then, you know what I’ve heard? They say it’s the moments like these that often kick-off the adventures worth telling. And I think I’m ready to prove that right.
I spent the night before making sure that I have packed everything, especially the necessary gear to help me keep myself warm, greatly considering the fact that we will be exploring Japan in winter. I was quite confident that I have prepared myself well for this trip. I was born and raised in a tropical country and the coldest temperature I have survived before going to Japan was only 6 degrees, when we climbed Mt. Pulag about 2 years ago. It was a memorable trip, not only because I have conquered the third tallest mountain in the Philippines but also because it’s where my husband asked me to marry him. Well, I have already survived 6 degrees. I’m sure adding few more layers of clothing wouldn’t hurt at all.
I immediately felt the cold breeze as soon as we stepped out of Tokyo Haneda International Airport. Good thing we packed our coats and gloves in our carry-on luggage so we easily managed to take it out. I looked around as we made our way to find out which bus to take. Everyone seemed to be so sure where they are headed. Everyone, except us. Well, it’s around 8 o’clock in the evening, and it looks like it’s almost going to rain. “The bus better arrive soon”, I thought to myself.
After a few minutes, we eventually boarded a bus which we thought was the right one, only to find out that it wasn’t, so we were forced to get off as soon as we realized that the next stops weren’t making any more sense. It was already drizzling. And here we are: in the middle of nowhere. We tried to consult the ever so friendly Google Maps, but it wasn’t much of a great help at this point. So, we did what we think was the next logical thing to do. And that was to pretend we’re still in the 90s and prove that it’s the last era where gadgets and technology doesn’t really matter much to survive.
We approached a young lady (I assume she just got off from work and was headed home), asked for help, and she told us to take another bus on the other side of the road. Now, you have to understand that having a good English conversation with a local is not that easy to have when you’re in Japan, so we’re really glad that she was able to atleast point us in the right direction. Which, of course, involves crossing the road with 8 bulky luggages. I can almost picture us as the Beatles in their famous Abbey Road album cover. The only significant difference is that there’s 5 of us, and we’re Asians. With again, 8 luggages.
The pedestrian traffic light turned green, and as soon as we started crossing the road I began to notice my luggage. It was getting wet. I started to think about how soft shell luggages doesn’t seem to have that much protection when it comes to rain. Maybe I should invest on a new one. Also, how can I not notice the rain? Ah. I seem to have forgotten that I was wearing my coat, gloves, earmuffs, and cap. No wonder I can’t feel anything.
I can’t help but to think how will I be able to make the most out of this trip. I don’t want this to be just another one of those travels, which we always say is one for the books but in reality it just means having tons of photos and videos which get stuck in our phones (okay, sometimes we post it on IG) until we run out of storage space then eventually transfer it in our external drives and never get to see the light of day again. I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with that (because I, myself, is guilty of that habit), but I can’t help but to wonder if I can still have something more. I’m a believer in the saying, “A picture can speak a thousand words”, but I guess there’s just this part of me who would still choose to read words and admire its beauty and just be curious about the writer and his emotions than just simply stare at photos.
I snapped out of my thoughts as we reached our stop (hopefully the right one). I have spent the last 5 to 10 minutes staring at the random posters with Japanese symbols inside the bus, while allowing myself to get lost in the things that occupy my mind even though I look like I was busy making sense of what those Japanese words could actually mean. After a few more walks and navigation doubts, there it is. We could almost see it: Relief Premium Haneda. It’s now 10 minutes before 10PM. We are so ready to get into our rooms and call it a night. Who knows, we might need lots of sleep tonight, because tomorrow we will be flying out to Hokkaido.