Don't cry out loud. 29/4/15
Another day in the life of a tour guide. I am
quickly finding the hidden joys in this new profession I have taken on.
Today I had the most amazing day being able to take time to look around me, show gratitude and yet fulfill my job as well. I also squeezed in three coffees, lunch and a toilet stop!
Three of our group couldn't be at the bus pick up this morning so my job was to be the train guide (bitch) for the day.
What did this entail Donna I hear you ask?
Well let me tell you. Mike left the hotel at 6:30 and I rested in bed with my face fully made up cause he had to take my make up in his larger knapsack with him. He was in charge of picking up the bus crew. I then rose to do my hair and got changed for the first day of our rugby tour.
I checked out of the hotel at 9:00 and hailed a taxi to Hakata train station. This is the main train station in Fukuoka where the local subways meet the Shinkansen lines so it's very busy. Today is a public holiday too for Showa's birthday ( the emperor). People everywhere.
I had an hour to kill when I went to the station, so I bought 2 chocolate croissants from the French Patisserie and a cafe mocha (hot/takeaway/ no cream/ small. Must be specific about these things in Japan). I sat for an HOUR looking out of the window. I have not had this pleasure for a long time.
I met up with two of our passengers at 10:15 and promptly bought the rail tickets to Akama Station. We boarded the train quickly and arrived at our destination 45 minutes later. I chatted with them and looked out the window at the changing vista. The cement buildings quickly disappeared as the green mountains and wet rice fields started to come into view. The heart rate dropped to a pleasurable numbness.
I delivered these wonderful people who would be travelling with us for the next 10 days, to Michael and the shuttle bus heading for the Rugby meet in the mountains.
Back on the train to Hakata I go for passenger number 2 who will be arriving in three hours time... What to do? 3 hours of my choice. 3 hours of nothingness or 3 hours of shopping? It didn't really matter it was going to be 3 hours of living and breathing in an exciting foreign country. I decide to have ramen in an authentic Japanese restaurant in the bowels of the station. I am surrounded by businessmen in suits who have come for a quick noodle soup fix and I slurp with the best of them. 750 yen for the gastronomic, ear blasting pleasure. I speak Japanese for the entire time and decide to wander aimlessly around after lunch. There is a rose show outside the Shinkansan station gate and I spend some time just "smelling them!"
Now I am typing this in a Macdonald's restaurant drinking coffee for 100yen trying unsuccessfully to find free wifi. The background music is suited to the best Karaoke in an elevator... Currently listening to, Don't cry out loud by Peter Allen and Melissa Manchester. Gold! Can't help but join in with the chorus as I type this. Life is pure bliss at this moment.
In one hour's time I must return to the information counter and pick up our next client, buy the tickets and catch the train to Akama station again suitcases in hand. Then I will find us a taxi and politely ask the driver to take us to our final destination of the Chisun Inn Munakata. The welcome dinner starts at 5:30. It will be a buffet style ( Viking style it's called in Japanese). All you can eat and drink in two hours. Should be interesting.
Meanwhile, Michael has 15 people held captive at the Rugby field until after the first BBC game at 3:00. I hear there are drums and bagpipes no less along with a 'flower festival' delivered from the back of a truck yesterday. It is Spring after all!
Don't get me wrong, my stomach is constantly churning that I have caught the wrong train or my Japanese has ordered me fish on a stick. I didn't know how to flush the public toilet after lunch and stood there dumbfounded for at least 5 minutes before I waved my hand across some magical sensor the naked eye could not see without 3D glasses, but I have to say this jumping from the mountain has its advantages at times like these. In between the moments of "OMG' I am blissfully happy and content. I haven't felt that sensation for a while. It might be because I got the good end of the deal and Michael is busy elsewhere but I have to believe it's because this is me the real one slowly returning to the world. Not that the little Japanese girl sitting beside me would agree with what I am saying. She is full of pure angst from her day of living as the picture below shows.
And meanwhile Lionel Richie is serenading me with,"Say you, Say me," as I press save.
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