IX 1982, JAPAN, a kind of dangerous [when did my research actually start?]
First week was terrible
already raised the question, when / where does a storyline] start? In
retrospect I even
than one answer. However, one of the answers is defensible: the moment that I put my feet on Japanese soil, ignorant,
open-minded, reckless, strong and confident [or 'stupid' one might
say; both words are interchangeable sometimes]. Day one is a hard
lesson about assumptions, ignorance, people's ways and in the very
end: relieve. In my immigration-year 2005, when I started writing,
I made two sketches about my "First day in Japan" -1982, somewhere at the
end of June, I suppose, and 3 weeks later. Kind of then the
Sakawa-monogatari started, me at that time totally unaware of
Jove what am I doing here?
still can clearly see it: the Niigata-station at the right side, at
my left hand side a viaduct and a teacher English, who used me for some
time to practice his English conversation on. He came sitting next to
me and legitimized his presence by ascertaining, that talking with me
would approve his capability. It was 1982; summer, the end of June
earlier at the airport I assumed without hesitation to be able to buy
a map to
my journey on foot through Japan.
rucksack was heavily loaded, including a meths burner, without
many books. Twenty five kilogram.
chance to buy a map whatsoever.
airport proved to be situated rather outside the city.
outside the airport building, I discovered a bus stop. I could have
found out the bus'
destination myself, but asked around. Actually, I could have started
but in what direction?
things first: try to obtain a map.
bus arrives. Shortly before a young Japanese female asks me in
I help you?" White, beautiful ironed blouse! I melt.
step in the bus, take at your left hand-side a small stroke of paper
out of a machine; there is a number on it. Sit. No change. No
problem: banknote in another machine next to the driver. Coins roll
out during driving. An indication with many numbers above the
driver's seat shows the price per number.
exact sum of money on the conveyor-belt together with the
entry-stroke next to the driver, who checks with half an eye. Done!
My very first transaction in Japan.
traffic-system. Bookshop. Map of the province^ bingo!
I feel very
satisfied with myself.
...Oh...NO... every thing in Japanese...
I now really landed in Japan. Unfasten your seatbelt.
around somewhat, feeling utmost tired after a long year of hard
working and a very long flight. It's almost 16.00 hours. Anyhow I
want to try to walk out of the city as
as possible, before it's getting dark. I take a short rest on a
exactly I want to go? Anyhow out of the city. What direction?
try to distinguish the upper- from the underside of my newly acquired
I really don't know. I stare at my alienating map, actually seeing
I get out of the city?
English teacher understandably does not understand my question very
an attempt to grant my absurd question some respect, he points at the
viaduct: if you
under, then turn to your right.
am walking for hours already.
city is not becoming less city. Daylight lessens. How tired am I.
the twilight the built up area finally becomes spacier. I walk
through more and more
fields, which are flooded. Millions of tiny frogs jump around, nature
be careful were I put my feet.
one square meter where I can put my tent. Every flat piece of ground
my God -why did I start this? What am I doing here?
according to custom, I swore. Even here and now I illustrate, that my
is a Christian one.
choice but to continue walking. No traffic, no people, small road.
really dark, may be 7 or 8 in the evening, may be much later. Feel
also hungry, but above all things intense tiredness and getting lost.
a venture to Japan! at random: Niigata. We'll see were this ends.
Well as a matter of fact: here!
long I walked further I cannot remember anymore. Black dark. A few
houses. No people. Feel demoralized. Is that a small shop?
sliding door, low, hit my head, mini-shop, nobody present.
nothing, then clattering after my whispered calling and finally a
old woman. She sees a tall man with an unshaved, tormented face, that
which should resemble a smile and a huge rucksack.
is a world-language: the umpteenth wrong assumption today.
am looking for a place to put my tent on."
utterly surprised expression on the woman's face remains. This
situation cannot be
She calls her husband.
of the same.
encounters are interesting. But not now !!!
point with an overdoses of mimicry on my packed tent and express what
I desire most: SLEEPING. I mime sleeping.
The astonishment just
Lasts an eternity, it feels to me.
of the two probably went out, or no, more probably made a
telephone-call. A third person enters, shy. A number four. And
more. I repeat at the utmost of my ability my references to my
tent and my ultimate dream to sleep.
I imitate snoring-sounds, I
show in the small space how to build up a tent ...
Providence takes over control and somebody shouts with a gesture like
"why did not you tell before....?",
asserts, that Japanese is a difficult language? Who ?
people guide me outside and in an intense darkness I am brought
somewhere. After one minute I see flat ground, erect my tent in
trance and glide in supersonic speed into a dreamless, comatose
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