Japan Trip 2023 – Day Three

May 6th

I have survived the night.

Today is a travel day. Long and dark and full of terrors, as the saying goes. Plan is to arrive at Shibuya station with more than enough time to unravel the labyrinth and buy tickets and find the correct platform.

Sorry Zoe, I had hoped to buy tickets early, stow the luggage and search Shibuya for a birthday present for you. Unfortunately, they would only sell me one of the required tickets, so rather than be stressed at the exchange due to lack of time, I did not stay around in Shibuya. It was particularly filthy this morning, with garbage, broken glass and vomit.

I am now on a train I hope is heading to Keisei Narita, I suspect it is the local train Tanwyn warned me against, but I am not certain it is even going to Narita. We shall wait and wait and see.

Indeed it was the local train.

Two stops before Keisei Narita, I was politely evicted from the train into gale force winds. Last two stops have to be done through the Rapid Express at that time on a Saturday. Information gleaned from the station timetable, not from a ticket officer in Shibuya who, despite working in a station full of gaijin tourists flocking there, attracted to the noise and bright lights like suicidal moths to a flame, spoke no English. My Japanese was little better, despite how well I am doing on the apps.

Narita qualifies as full city, but it is still a step removed from Tokyo.

Put the luggage in a locker and walked the tourist street to the temple complex.

No incense for Tanwyn. Sad.

Ignored all the Buddhist stuff

and headed for the parklands and the shodo museum. Beautiful.

There was a room full of kana scrolls and small kana pieces, reminiscent of my very first visit.

Bought a frog themed weight, paralleling Katie’s turtles.

Walking through the parklands was good; slowing.

Everything, everything in my life has a quality of haste to it. Even preparation for this trip involved such things as brisk walking. But here, I have so much time, but have yet to realise it. In the parklands, I began to slow down for the first time in a long time.

Was good.

Eventually returned to the luggage and made my way to the ryokan.

Is a beautiful place, overlooking the temple complex. Would highly recommend it, though they seemed confused over the difference between vegetarian and vegan and the exclusion of eggs and dairy from a vegan breakfast. How many kombini natto sushi can one eat?

View from the room window

Is only really my second day in Japan, but I miss Tanwyn and Zoe so much. Is wrong to be here without them in a place like this.

Nights are the worst.

And sunsets.

Kai Cho

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