Life in progress

JusJoJan 5 – A December Evening in Tokyo


I’d like to tell you a story. It’s a true story of a weary traveler who landed after a thirteen hour flight in a country far far away from home. Alone, tired, and barely able to read the signs or speak the language, she found a train that would take her to a station close to the hotel in which she was booked for the night.

Crude map in hand, and fully equipped with an address, she approached a policeman who was standing guard at a road block and showed him her piece of paper. Much to her astonishment, he directed her to go in the exact opposite direction to which she believed she was supposed to go. This should have been her first clue, indicating what was to come. After a little wandering around, she decided to ignore his directions and go where she thought she should. So far, so good.

She walked a little way and came across another hotel. Surely, she thought, they would know where their competition was located! Sure enough she was rewarded with success – another, even clearer map of where she was to go. So off she went.

She had been informed by the website from which she had made the reservation that the hotel was only a ten minute walk from the train station. She wandered along sparsely lit streets, dragging enough luggage for an eleven day trip behind her, quite positive that soon she would recline on a cozy bed, softly slipping into dreamland.

An hour later, she stopped at a convenience store. Whilst waiting to speak to the busy clerk, a stranger stepped up and asked her if she was looking for directions. In English! (It must have been the two maps in her hand that made him ask.) Yes! She replied and showed him the address of the hotel. Oh dear, he said. That is indeed a long way away.

And so she set off again, trudging down dark unfamiliar streets, the traffic on the wrong side of the road and the sidewalks non-existent. Had she never visited this far away country before and felt supremely safe there, she would have lost her shit by now.

After several miles back in the direction she had come, she stopped at yet another convenience store – one that appeared to be on her initial map, a landmark promising that she was close to her destination. Finally.

The clerk there, in broken English, told her she needed to go up the street – again, not in the direction she would have gone, but he was quite insistent. So off she crawled, lugging behind her her tonnes of luggage. By the time she reached the train tracks from which she could, in the distance, see the station at which she had disembarked from her train she was almost in tears. And so she set off in the direction of a large supermarket, hoping that there, someone would be able to finally give her a definite direction.

It was by chance that she came across and made the decision to go into a car-rental office. She stepped up to the desk with her luggage and placed her two maps on the counter.

Help, she whispered, holding back the tears. Three men behind the counter shuffled about, trying to make sense of this woman, our poor traveler. She attempted to speak their language but came out instead with a word here and there and, in her extreme exhaustion, flailed about in sign language, gesturing her utter desperation until the three employees were all but backing away in fear. And then he appeared. Her knight in shining armor.

With one glance at the original map, which just happened to have GPS coordinates included in the address, he gestured to her, Come with me.

She heaved her luggage into the trunk (he wasn’t that gallant) and slipped into the passenger seat as he punched in the coordinates on his street finder, and within seconds they were whipping in and out of traffic in that little rental Toyota. Three minutes later they were at her hotel. Eureka!!!!

He popped open the trunk and went into the lobby while she struggled with her suitcases, wheeling them finally through the door of her refuge. The knight (Sir Non-Gallant) spoke to the desk clerk, laughed a little (by this time she didn’t care) and she thanked him profusely for dropping her off.

And that is how she came to rest, finally, sixteen and three-quarter hours from the time she had boarded her plane to the moment her head hit the pillow and she drifted off into a thankful slumber.

And thank God for little GPS-equipped Toyotas and the marvelous, kind-hearted Japanese men who rent them out.

The End.

This post is part of Just Jot It January. Click here and tell your true story: It’s never too late to join!

JJJ 2015

Author: Linda G. Hill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

39 thoughts on “JusJoJan 5 – A December Evening in Tokyo

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  5. I also remember the first time my colleague and I look for our training center , with our limited Japanese we asked a passing Japanese lady. She pointed us to the correct way and she was silently following us until we reached our destination. We only noticed her when she approached us again together with her daughter.


  6. That was our finding too. The Japanes are so kind and gracious.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: JusJoJan 12 – Yokohama, Japan | lindaghill

  8. Oh, wow, what a story! I remember getting slightly lost in Dublin with a couple of the people in the group I went to Dublin with. We had a map and all too, but we didn’t have quite the adventure you did. Anyway, at least Sir Not-Quite-So-Gallant stepped up to help you at last. Did he charge you for the ride?


  9. OH my goodness, you are brave! I can’t wait to hear more about your trip! πŸ˜€


  10. This brings back memories… So glad she was able to find the place and found a person that finally helped her.


  11. I was such a brave young lady at one point in my life. Flew to Hong Kong all by myself and navigated their public transportation system all by myself. Not sure if I would do that again. Glad you were safe and had a great time regardless. Enjoyed your story!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for sharing Linda. Happy you finally made it to your hotel. πŸ˜‰


  13. Omg! Linda what a nightmare. Beautifully told. πŸ™‚ xx


  14. Oh wow Linda I’m in awe of you!!! You’re the bravest woman I know. I’m so happy you found an angel in a foreign land. I have heard Japan is the most hospitable country. 😊


  15. I can’t even imagine. After such a long flight that is not how a person would want to spend their evening. It was so sweet of the gentleman to help like he did.


  16. Having recently been to Tokyo myself I well understand the difficulty in finding your way around. The police are very helpful, the people are very helpful, the problem as you discovered was in understanding what they were saying, the same issue I had for I had several instances of the blind leading the blind though I was very fortunate in having my Japanese speaking cousin there to do much of the talking for me. I found Japan the cleanest city I have ever been in and the people the most polite. You made me remember my own wonderful time there.


  17. Aaaah!!! That was rough Linda… I did come across some funny sign languages that I used when I was in Mexico and not knowning Spanish and trying to go around on my own. But nothing was this bad.


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