Yes, I got lost in Tokyo. I mean, EVERYONE has to at some point, right? So I guess I decided to get it done early, and hopefully out of the way. The REALLY funny part is not how HARD I got lost (which was nothing compared to a girl in my group earlier in the day), but that we’d just done an activity earlier in the day to try and make sure that nobody DOES get lost as bad! >.<;;
Yeah, we did a scavenger hunt so that people would maybe get used to the Tokyo train system, and get an idea of what’s around in Tokyo. They gave us free all-day passes around Tokyo on the train system (which system pretty cool, though not quite what you’d expect from the anime/tv shows… most of those places are the subway, not the trains), and a list of places to figure out where they are and go get pictures of them.
We were in groups, so even if we DID get lost, we wouldn’t be COMPLETELY hopeless, helpless, and doubtlessly afraid… ^_^;; One of the girls in our group, unfortunately, got to experience that anyway, as she went the wrong way on one of the trains and ended up ah, in a rural area, of which there really aren’t any in Tokyo. >.< I guess she was pretty freaked out for a while, but we helped her get over it.
I have some photos from the scavenger hunt up in the photo album, but it was really freaking hot, and I gave up taking too many photos after about midday. We really just wanted to get things done, and constantly taking my camera out was becoming a bit of a pain. Don’t worry, as I go more places in less of a hurry, I’ll definitely get more photos of key parts of Japan.
As for getting lost, well, my host parents gave me a map of how to get to their house, but I figured out that if you’re going to use a map, you need to use it from the BEGINNING of your trip; or at least you should know where you stopped following it… or that you stopped following it. Either one would’ve been a great help to know last night! >.< But I learned a lot of important things!
1. Most streets are not named in Tokyo suburbs. It’s something I came to realize. I still don’t know how they give directions, but I reckon is has something to do with a dialogue as follows, taken from what I understood of the directions I got when I stopped:
Me: “Excuse me, here’s my map, where is this?”
Lady: “Oh, this is my shop.”
Me: “Okay, um, where is here… on the map?
Lady: “Oh, um… let me see… *examines the map* Hahhhhhh…. *looks thoughtful* *goes to get another guy from inside* *talking about something in Japanese*”
Other Guy: *comes up* “You’re trying to get here?” *points to map*
Me: “Yes, that’s right.”
Other Guy: “Hahhhhhhhh… *looks thoughtful* Probably, is you go up there to that seven-eleven [pronounced ‘sebu-rebun’], and turn left, or right, and the go through a couple stop light– Do you understand stoplights?”
Other Guys: “Right, stop lights *point to nearby stoplight* STOP-LIGHT.”
Lady: “I wonder if he really understands…”
Other Guy: “So you go up there, and and turn left, and go straight and that’ll take you to this McDonald’s on your map. Ah! McDonald’s! You should know McDonald’s!”
Me: “Yeah, I got that…”
Other Guy: “Okay yeah, so you just do that.
Me: *not sure I followed his directions* “Okay, but where’s HERE on the map?”
Other Guy: “Oh, that’s probably… *gestures to half the map* …somewhere around here. Oh! This park! *turns the map* Or this one… Hahhhhhhhhh… Let’s see… this park…”
(At this point, he’s pointed to as many as three different parks, and rotated himself and the map up to as many times each.)
*Third guy comes along and tries to help by joining looking at the parks on the map…*
Third Guy: Just turn right at this Sebu-Elevun, and…”
Me: “Okay, but where are we on this map?”
Third Guy: “What? We’re right here, aren’t we?” *gestures around*
Me: “No, on the map…”
Third Guy: “Where’s the map…?”
Me: “No, this place, where is it on the map…?”
Third Guy: “Ahh, I see… Hahhhhhh…” *sees writing on the map* “Oh, that Seven-Eleven! That’s right down here, and you just turn right, and go straight, [blah blah] left…”
Me: “I turn left at the Sebu-Rebun?”
Third Guy: “No, no, you turn RIGHT at the Sebu-Rebun, then go on, and there’s a left turn, and two stoplights– do you understand two?”
Me: “Yes, two.”
Third Guy: “TWO *holds up two fingers* like this…”
Lady: “I wonder if he understands…”
Me: “So that Seven-Eleven, right down there, that’s the same as this Seven-Rebun on the map here?”
Third Guy: “Yes, that’s right.”
Me: “Okay, I think I got it.”
Third Guy: “Yeah, you just go down here, turn right, then…”
Me: “Yeah, I’ve got it now.”
Lady: Hey, so where are you from?”
Me: “Um… America?”
Lady: “Ah! And how long are you here?”
Me: “Uh, about a year…”
Lady: *she has me by the arm, by the way, so I can’t escape* “Oh, wow!”
Other Guy: “Hey what’s going on here?” *gestures to her arm around mine; I think maybe she’s his wife…*
Lady: *ignoring her… husband?* “So this here, this is my shop…” *Other guy gives up and goes back in* “You should come by and visit it, okay?
Me: “Sure…” *not that I could remember where this is*
Lady: “Will you come visit my shop?”
Me: “Uh, probably…” *she’s let go of me by now and I’m getting on the bike*
Lady: “Okay, see you later.”
Me: “Um… take care [creepy lady]…!”
2. Never, EVER, ask directions from old, drunk Japanese people at night.
3. There are some very interesting places around town, including a VERY large (tall) plastic woman wearing a green dress Marilyn Monroe Style (blowing up, holding it down) in front of some store. I’m not sure what kind of store it is, but if they HAVE a statue like that, and can AFFORD a statue like that, something tells me that I’m okay not knowing. >.< I also saw a nice automobile shop (pictured above) which some of you may have already had your interest piqued in regard to by the picture at the top of this post, if not by the picture to the right of this paragraph. The one to the right is the sign that was above the picture I used in this post. ^_^ Enjoy.
4. If a supposedly ten-minute bike ride ends up taking more than 20-minutes and you don’t immediately backtrack and reevaluate the route you took (instead of taking what look like familiar turns), it’s going to end up taking at least another hour… or two… And you may shortly thereafter end up having to stop and ask directions from a drunk Japanese couple, an act which I promise you, will only end in tears. T_T
5. After a long afternoon of biking around town (remember, there are no sidewalks really, so it’s just me and he cars… there are sidewalk-type areas, but there you have to dodge pedestrians and oncoming cyclists…) preceded by a very long day of hiking around Tokyo (seven hours total, though admittedly some of that was riding trains), there’s nothing quite like a nice, very cold shower to bring your spirits up. Oh, and a whole lot of water. I may have scared my host parents by how much water I drank! ^_^;;
So there you have it. My first major adventure in Tokyo. >.< Ah well. At least I know my way around town a lot better now! ^_^; And my host family wasn’t really worried about me before I came in, which is good. I would’ve felt bad if I’d worried them too much. They asked me where all I went when I said I hadn’t QUITE followed the map, and of course I wasn’t so sure, so they asked me what all I saw; and when I told them about the green-dress lady (midori-doresu no onna), they laughed. They laughed hard. And then they showed me where she is on the map I had.
My one consolation is that at least I never left the area contained in the map. Oh, wait, I think I may have… but it would have been up north, and the road I was supposed to have followed was pretty far north on the map anyway, so I don’t feel TOO bad about the whole thing. At least it was good exercise, right?