Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Phoenix Goes to Tokyo Part III

Phoenix Goes To The Station

So, I was taking the over-night bus to Tokyo, because it was cheaper, right? This entailed having a friend take me to the station on Sunday night. I don't know anyone who isn't super-busy right now, so we ended up going fairly close to my departure time, but we still had time for coffee at Mr. Donut.

No time to buy snacks for the ride, but that's OK, there's a store right next to the station. No time to eat, but that's OK because there is a mini-McDonalds right there in the store.

She drops me off, and I'm thinking "I'm set."

Well, of course, the store is closed. It's got to be after 9 at this point. That's fine, no snacks for me, no worries. I'll probably (hopefully) just sleep anyway.

Also, the McDonalds is closed. That's fine, no food for me, I'll just have a big breakfast in Tokyo. That'll be more fun anyway.

I walk back to the station and sit in the waiting area. There's still quite a lot of time before the bus leaves, so I play some games on my keitai. It's not the most bored I've ever been...

I have to use the restroom, but the one at the station is pretty bad. Eventually, though, I gotta go, and when you gotta go you gotta go. And the bathroom is now closed and locked! WHAT? ...that's fine, no break for me, no worries. I'll just...I don't know, tie a knot in it for now.

Meanwhile, it's getting close to departure time, and I'm the only one there. That can't be right, can it? Am I the only one heading out on the overnight bus from Takefu?

I take my ticket to the attendant to ask where I should stand for the bus, and he looks at it and calls another attendant over. They both look at it and look at me and give a sort-of nervous chuckle.

Then they pull out a map.

The overnight bus (the ticket for which I purchased at this very station) does not come to this station. It comes to the highway interchange. They show me on the map. Here's where we are (lots of streets). Here's where the bus comes (other side of the map, across a river, almost no streets).

As they start to give me directions, I point out the time on my ticket. 6 minutes from now, my bus will be leaving.

Well, that certainly made them spring into action! They grab me and run me out the front door into a waiting taxi. They give the driver instructions in Japanese, and hardly before I realize what has happened, we're off.

The driver is going 80. In a 40. I love him.

Despite the awesome driver, we don't get to the interchange for 10 minutes. However, there are still buses there, so I pay the $20 (so much for the bus being cheaper, that's practically the entire margin right there), and leap out of the taxi.

I run up to one of the drivers and show him my ticket. Is it possible that my bus is still here?

No, this is Japan, and the buses in Japan RUN ON TIME. My bus is long gone, but the driver spoke with another man (someone who was apparently in authority), and they took pity on me. They gave me a new seat on a different bus, and off we went.

I couldn't sleep the entire ride. Why did I have coffee at Mr. Donut right before getting on the overnight bus? I had a long ride to ponder that question.

And I still had to use the restroom.


  1. For someone who supposedly studies Japanese everyday, you always seem a fry short of a happy meal.

  2. The proper response to this would violate my family-friendly rules.

    I'm JUST on the line about disabling anonymous comments now.

  3. Correction: I remembered how annoyed I've been of late by other anonymous comments.

    My friends can talk to me that way. Anonymous strangers can't.

    Anonymous commenting is no longer allowed. If this bothers anyone, feel free to log-in and leave a comment, or send me an e-mail. Don't have a blogger account or my e-mail address? Then I don't know you, and couldn't care less what you think.

    I would post a link to Penny Arcade's explanation but it wouldn't be family friendly.

  4. If I recall correctly, the woman who sold you the ticket spoke a bit of English. Why didn't she tell you where to be?

    Shitcock. -)

  5. The bus ticket was reserved over the phone by my supervisor in Japanese. When I got there, I just had to tell the clerk my name. The slightly-English-capable woman only showed up to direct me to the JR station to buy the train ticket.