Today, I will describe the place where I spent exactly 20 days. I will get back to Tokyo because I’m fascinated by this city and I have many stories to write.
Over the hills, over the forest, over the rice fields, at the top of the volcano-there lived an author of this blog! But let’s start from the beginning.
November 11th I arrived at Asakusa station in Tokyo. I had bought a ticket earlier, so I needed only to wait for the train and then 2 -hour journey to Akagi. In addition to the timetable, which didn’t cause any problems to gaijin ( all in English) there were also announcements in english. As a result, I stood on the right platform and I could watch what is happening around me (I love to look at everything in Japan! )
The train arrived 15 minutes before departure and I thought that I could enter and take a seat before but no ! Several station employees with vacuum cleaners and lots of unidentified objects to disinfect jumped to that train. They were moving very quickly but at the same time you could see how perfectly they were cleaning the train. When they finished the doors opened and I went inside. I had trouble because the ticket was in kanji so I didn’t know where my seat was but I sat where I liked. On the train, announcements telling at what station the train was arriving were also in English! At some point, some passengers stood by me and even though I didn’t understand I could figure out that I was sitting in their place. The conductor came up with the speed of light and took me to my place. It was comfortable , warm and quiet so after a while I found myself in Morpheus’ arms.
I arrived on time but I didn’t leave train station right away . Well, after finishing trip ticket should be returned, and I hid it somewhere on the bottom of the backpack and had to take everything out to find it.
At the station there was Tomiya-san waiting for me. 67 year-old owner of Ryokan in which I was going to work as WWOOFer . He told me to call him Otosan and his wife Okasan (ie, Dad and Mom!). Previously, he informed me that the ryokan is located in Maebashi. In the car, he said that actually, this ryokan is on top of the volcano and he does not know the address. Outside the Akagi station it was very warm, city’s thermometer indicated 17 degrees. When we went to the Akagi -yama thermometer showed only 3 degrees .. It was cold , and even colder inside the Ryokan. Traditional Japanese houses have no heating , so it was in the case of this house. I was welcomed by Okasan and we ate lunch together .
I will characterize briefly what I did in Ryokan and why I ran away. At first I thought that I would be there until January but from day to day I was realizing that I couldn’t stand there for so long. They rarely had guests, and if they were they would not talk to me. Tomiya -san disappeared somewhere every day and Okasan didn’t speak English.
My day looked like this : 8 am breakfast, then cleaning the rooms, depending on whether there were guests – preparing futons for sleeping , washing dishes , folding robes , etc. About 13 lunch , 18 dinner . Meals had to be carried to the guest rooms. In all these activities Okasan accompanied me. She was nice to me, and I tried to talk with her in Japanese, but even so I felt terribly lonely. What is worse at the top of that volcano there was nothing, all I could see saw in one day. My room was on the third floor, at the end of a long corridor . From the room you could go to the forest , and the doors were only sliding (no closing ) . I often heard shuffling noises at the door, and other sounds forests. Additionally, in my room there were lots of insects that look like a spider and are crickets – spider crickets! Yes, I learned new things, and it was an interesting experience but I’m glad that I decided to change the place because here where I am now ( Mito ) is much , much better. But more on that soon.