I`m dreary-eyed, tired, ailing, most likely having absorbed a hefty amount of the local smog too, but it`s all worth it; I`m sitting in a 24-hour Internet cafe! Still, lets first recap the events of the last few weeks before we arrive at today.
After Jess left, the work was exceptionally boring for the two remaining weeks. I began stockpiling bread at the time of her departure, in preparation for my self-catering purposes when I return. Precious little other happened that is worth mentioning, leading up to my own departure. The same old routine, only Influenza (flu) is spreading through the home at the moment, so a flurry of white gauze masks suddenly attached themselves like facehuggers to everyone in sight. It felt more like a hospital than a home during those two weeks, but I stubbornly refused to wear one all the time – I really don`t see how it would help when it doesn`t completely seal off the mouth and nose cavity anyway – there are gaps around it! I`ve never had to worry about the flu before either, so it didn`t seem like much of a threat. Anyway, I seem to have broken free without contracting anything.
On Monday I took off to Mitaka ski-jo with Kondou-san and Maekawa-san for my second attempt at snowboarding. However, it happened to be a lot harder the second time around, and we spent all morning just trying to get me to stand up and perfect my balance and posture! By the time we broke for lunch, I was thoroughly dispirited. The nourishing bowl of ramen however, seemed to work wonders, as after I picked up the board again for the second time that day, I was off practising turning and almost getting it right ^_^. I wasn`t ready to leave when our time expired, having realised a little confidence was the missing element that led to me falling so much before. I wonder how long it`ll be before I get chance to snowboard again…
Anyway, Tuesday morning was spent packing my rucksack before catching a lift with Nomura Rei-san to Maeda-san`s house to spent the half-day. We had a little English conversation class with a couple of firneds of hers and (attempted) to cook lasagne for dinner. I then caught the train to Himeji and from there, my yakou basu (night bus) to Tokyo. The seats were arranged in rows of three and reclined to a near horizontal position to allow you to sleep. I managed to get some shut-eye, better than on airplanes I suppose. It wasn`t particularly comfortable, but considering it was the cheapest option (and still nearly 50.00 pounds!), I didn`t expect it to be.
So this (now yesterday) morning I was lurking by the Hachiko the Dog statue outside Shibuya station, wondering what I could do so early (6.30am). I decided to store my rucksack in a coin locker and find my bearings around the plethora of shops, restaurants and amusements. Two hours later, hands numb with the cold, I retreated inside a Starbucks (yes, I spotted about 4 of them on my walks…) to pass some time and write postcards and letters. The rest of the day I dug out and scowered certain shops looking for the things I wanted, irritatingly coming back with none of my favoured items, but Bertrand Russell`s `A History of Western Philosophy` instead. I thought it was about time I started to brush up in preparation for my course this September, but the amusing pink Socrates `Think Tank` display had nothing to do with my purchase, no no ^_^;.
I hopped to Shinjuku briefly, and discovered the horrors of trying to learn an area`s layout by dark… o.O;. I despaired and returned to Shibuya getting an English map of Tokyo from a hotel lobby. Curiously, when I went to get my rucksack from the locker, I spotted some keys dangling from one of the locker`s own keys. Doing the good thing (as is expected in Japan anyway!), I took them to the nearby Koban (police box) and tried to explain. I ended up having to write my name down (I think I was supposed to sign, but anyway…) which – what I gathered from the English spoken to me – was supposed to be to say I didn`t want to play `Finders Keepers` with the set of keys… Hmmm…
I`d been walking on an empty stomach all day, so I grabbed a cheap bowl of fried beef and rice before retreating to my 6-hour haunt here, in B@gus Internet cafe. It was much cheaper than the Capsule Hotel, and I figure I can forego sleep a bit longer to enjoy the opportunity. And what an opportunity! Not just a computer set up for 6 hour`s Internet use at a low charge, but several bookcases full of manga (albeit all Japanese) that you can borrow. They also have magazines, computer games (although I think that`s a different offer, as I see no PS2), television and DVDs! I`ve just watched `Big Fish`, fuelled by the free drinks here (they have melon flavoured milk!!), sitting in my own personal large, black leather, cushy armchair that reclines, swivels and does all manner of strange things when you do so much as move a muscle! Ahhh… If it wasn`t for the fact it`s 3am and I`m still slightly sore from snowboarding, I`d call this bliss ^_^ hehe.
Well now, I`m going to watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in my remaining couple of hours and try to push through tomorrow. At least I have a proper bed at Yoyogi Youth Hostel in store, so I can rest then. For now, goodnight ^_^