No longer the guide

With 3 umbrellas in my hand, I waved goodbye to the green bullet train leaving Sendai station this morning. My brother and his wife were abandoning me to spend 3 nights in Kyoto.
I will miss them. We shared a lot of things over the last 10 days, not only meron-pan but also experiences: sushi and sake on the first night in tiny drinking dens around Nishi-Ogi station; the big sky and the big sea on the over-night boat to Hokkaido; the creepy kyakya of the crows around the yellow, bubbling pools of sulphur at Io Mountain; the sudden, stunning sunset in the wilderness at Lake Kussharo; a curry breakfast in an empty dining room at the huge concrete “Pyongyang hotel” in Kawayu Onsen; the “spooky” sea mist at the lonely edge of the Erimo peninsula; papercups of beer in the drizzle at the Kleenex Stadium, and in still broken Ishinomaki yesterday, the Masked Rider, orange-coloured hoya (sea squirt) and bluefin tuna sushi – “the best food of the trip,” according to my brother.


Now I have no-one to trade lame jokes with; no-one to pester for the latest cricket score, and no-one to debate the virtues of rat-eating with. And I have still got three umbrellas to dispose of.

After saying goodbye this morning, I wandered for a while, lost and confused without my little group. A few hours ago I retreated to a familiar bolthole, paying 1,200-yen for 5 hours of instant comforts in a cyber cafe, a timeless tomb where the lights never dim, the air-con never stops and the staff never smile.

It is a sanctuary from the real world, full of guilty pleasures and cheap happiness – 10,000 yen gets 72 hours of all-you-can-read manga, all-you-can-eat ice cream and all-you-drink vending machines. I have just about enough money to stay here for 3 months.  Perhaps I could do a virtual trip around Tohoku instead of a real one.

Tomorrow I plan to travel to Yonezawa, an old castle town in Yamagata. Firstly though, I have to get rid of those bloody umbrellas.

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2 Responses to No longer the guide

  1. Rurousha says:

    Umbrellas disposed of?

    It’s good to hear from you again. I’m afraid I’ll have to rely on your blog now, because FB has disabled my account and I’ve migrated, very happily, to Google+.

    I look at your photos and I think, jealously, “Space … space … space … “

    • tomointokyo says:

      Just about, returned them to the ryokan we were staying at near Sendai. Now I have a new umbrella, a purple ladies Jones New York umbrella given to me by the manager of an AU shop I visited. I went into to cancel my phone contract expecting a huge bill; they told me it would be cheaper to keep it until September when the contract ends. Then the manager appeared with an umbrella. I needed it; it is pouring here.

      That is Facebook`s loss. What a weird thing to happen! You are not missing much.

      The space was a major highlight of Hokkaido. My eyes loved every bit of it.

      Might be the last photos for a while. I sold my laptop yesterday. I am shedding luggage every day right now. It is a new approach to packing: pack during, not before the trip.

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