Saturday was practice for the elementary school undoukai (sports festival), and Sunday was the actual event. Since both are all-day endeavors, all the teachers get Tuesday an Wednesday off, and since Monday is a national holiday here (Autumnal Equinox Day), I found that I had a three-day weekend squeezed into my usual work week! I made plans to visit my friend Kaoru in her home prefecture, Ibaraki.
Ibaraki is a prefecture just north of Tokyo prefecture. Even though I studied in Tokyo for 9 months and went to Kyoto, Osaka, and other far-away places, I never went to Ibaraki because it’s not an obvious tourism spot. There’s a lot of countryside, and apparently its meibutsu or famous food is natto >< I can’t stand natto, but I might have to try it just because that’s the specialty there…whyyyy?? hahaha.
My friend Kaoru came with her friend to my house this summer, and so now I’m visiting her hometown! Our goal is together to enjoy Ibaraki and show everyone how great it is! I’m feeling hipster because I get to go places that aren’t too “mainstream” (haha).
I woke up around 3:30am and left Waki around 5am on the local train to Hiroshima. The Shinkansen (bullet train) from Hiroshima to Tokyo Station left at 6am, and I’m riding it right now! I’ll arrive in Tokyo at 10:03, and meet my friend Yutaro there, and he’ll show me where the bus is to Ibaraki because I’m bad at buses, and we’ll take the bus to Tsukuba, Ibaraki, where Kaoru is!
I also realized that this will be my first time in Tokyo Station since the earthquake, where I was waiting, upset, trying to understand the signs that were posted above the ticket machines so I could get on the Shinkansen to Osaka, on my way to meet my waiting homestay family in Kyushu. A man came up and asked me if I needed help and where I was going, and asked a station worker for me and helped me get my tickets. I was so tired from not having slept all night that I thanked him and walked toward the station without asking for his name or anything to thank him properly.
This is all to say that I wonder how I will feel when I arrive at the station. I wonder if it will feel strange, or just feel like a normal station.