I’ve just arrived and I’m lost. Great. On top of that, I’m running out of gas.
I’m in Japan and I am driving the empty streets of a small country town. Why can’t I find my hotel? All the houses and streets look the same and there are no signs out the front of the stores.
I don’t even know why I came here. Sure I won a competition with a small airline company. Sure I jumped at the chance for a free holiday. But I didn’t want it to be like this.
I stop my car to ask for directions. I walk to the nearest house and knock on the door. An old man opens the door. I rake my brains for any of the little Japanese I know.
I bow. “sumimasen” (I’m sorry) The man looks at me and shakes his head saying “Gaijin”. (outsider)
Dear God, I hope someone here speaks English….
“Eigo wo hanashimasuka?” I mutter. Do you speak English?
The man shakes his head, “Eigo no…. Eigo no” I can tell he’s trying to speak as much English as he can. Even if the only word he knows seems to be ‘no’.
He gestures behind him. “Wife… English… speaks…” and he shuffles of.
THANK YOU GOD!!
I wait at the door and an elderly woman comes down the hall a few minutes later. “Hello, I don’t know good English, but I try. You lost?”
“Yes,” I answer, “I’m trying to find the Sakura Hotel”
I get back into the car. I have the directions written on my cell exactly how she said them:
One road on left turn. Five road on left turn. Two road on right turn. Count to 30 and then turn left. Find green gate on left. That is hotel.
Great… This is going to take a while…