Goodbyes

My last day in Tokyo looked like this:

The nice weather that had been with me since the typhoon just didn’t want to hold out another day. I woke up early at my hostel in Minami-Senju to realize that I didn’t have a printed e-ticket for my plane. The hostel didn’t have any printers. An easy solution was at hand. Akihabara: the land of Internet Cafes, amongst other things.

In the pouring rain I walked the 10 or so minutes to the station. In just those 10 minutes, even with a large rainbow-colored umbrella standing out amongst the gray of Minami-Senju, my pants were soaked up to my waist and my shoes were full of puddles of water. I was hoping the weather might let up by the time I arrived in Akihabara but I had no such luck.

First order of business was to find an ATM. This wasn’t all that hard, I suppose, just troublesome as I had to jump over deepening puddles to get to where I was going. After this I began searching the sides of skyscrapers for signs that said Internet. I found plenty – however, some told me I needed to pay obscene amounts of money to become members or something like that before I could print. Others simply told me they didn’t have printers. These were all manga/internet cafes, something very Akihabara. I suppose their main purpose was serving people who came in wanting to read manga and surf 2chan. I grabbed a lunch at a Mos Burger so that I could dry out a little bit before admitting defeat.

After returning to my hostel in the downpour and arriving in Asakusa by taxi I went to what I thought was the JR station that would take me to the airport. I was unpleasantly surprised to find that I needed to walk a block or so with two heavy bags to find a subway station. A woman in the JR station gave me directions. She asked me several times if I had an umbrella. I did, but there was no way I was going to carry it with all my luggage. Taking a deep breath I started my journey through the rain.

It didn’t take all that long to arrive at the subway station, and compared to the downpour in Akihabara and Minami-Senju the rain had died down considerably. I could be thankful for that, but only shortly. I found that the closest entrance to the subway had no elevator. I would have to walk another few blocks to get to the elevator. I didn’t feel like facing the rain. I dragged my baggage down three flights of stairs, staring at the next three in defeat when two Americans stopped to help me. I didn’t get their names, but if they’re out there somewhere, thank you!

From there I didn’t have to go out into the rain anymore. It was smooth sailing, I suppose. A station attendant helped me get the right ticket and a train took me all the way to Narita. While I didn’t know which terminal I was to go to as I didn’t have a ticket, I made the correct guess and was swept up into the skies rather quickly. Turns out I didn’t need to print a ticket at all. It seemed like no time at all before I was looking down on Tokyo, its sea of gray fading away into a real ocean covered in rain clouds.

During takeoff I felt a bit sad, but it wasn’t the worst stage of the parting that I’d felt. The day before I left Saijo was the worst. I had been hanging out with one close friend and for the first time in a year, instead of, “See you,” he said, “Goodbye.” When I gave some of my old things to a different friend he gave me a hug. When I got a message from the Maker of Deadly Takoyaki, that was what really got me. Somehow the, “Take care!” really hit me, so I sat in my now-empty dorm room rather uncomposed. Saijo was where all my friends were. Saijo is where the parting would really take place. Everything after that would slowly point toward a transitional period.

The day I left Saijo, however, I was able to remain cheerful. A group of us hung out on the steps outside of my dorm, just chatting about nothing. Though I wanted this conversation to last forever, we knew our afternoon in the humidity couldn’t last. They waved to me as the bus made its way down Boulevard until we couldn’t see each other anymore. I was off to Hiroshima, to Osaka, to Tokyo, to America. Yet the casualness of the conversation we’d just had made it seem like we would be seeing each other again like always.

Those were the kinds of goodbyes that I liked best. The ones that weren’t goodbye.

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~ by megumiwasframed on August 27, 2011.

2 Responses to “Goodbyes”

  1. Very nice. And I agree with you about those kind of goodbyes, much better.

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