This past weekend I went to a birthday party for a friend from church, Taro. Now, Taro has just turned 40 and my posse had absolutely no idea what to get him. I mean, what do you get for a 40-year old Japanese man anyway? Also, they’re not really MY posse, I’m more like part of the gang rather than a leader. Anyway, Chris, Renei, and I went to Sakae to buy him a giftcard to the bookstore and some nice chocolates from the imported food store. That went quite smoothly, with the exception of me getting lost in the Sakae subway station and meandering around Sakae for about 15 minutes while I tried to get my bearings straight. The day I know I belong in Japan is the day that I can actually get where I want to go on the first try out of Sakae subway station.
So, after the three of us get Taro’s gift, we call up Rex, who has a car. We were all going to meet up at his house at 1:30 and head over to the party, which started at 2. Now, Rex isn’t really the world’s best navigational person, but in Japan, who can blame him? He’s not Japanese. But Rex’s car is equipped with GPS, and everyone else but me had been to Taro’s house via car once before…so we thought that we would manage. And for the large majority of the trip, we were absolutely on track…until we got into Taro’s neighborhood. Things quickly went downhill from there.
The GPS did us no good once we got into the general area of Taro’s house, so at that point we started relying solely on Chris’s instincts, which as it turned out, weren’t so good. So, we’re completely lost, driving around the greater Nagoya area hoping against all odds that Taro’s house would just magically appear. Now, the rest of us were all about calling Taro’s wife Zelda for directions, but Rex refused to let us right away. He insisted that he could figure it out. Now, keep in mind here that Rex got lost the last time he drove to Taro’s house as well. So, we’re in the car driving around, and Rex’s motto is “Guys, we’re fine.”
Well, we drove until we hit a dead end by the train station, which we knew was nowhere close to their house, and Chris pulled out his phone and called up Taro at his own party. By this point, it was probably 2:15. He got some directions and off we went. But somehow, our directions got muddied and we ended up on this semi-highway and crossed the Shonei River, which we knew we weren’t supposed to cross. So, we pulled a U-ie and called up Zelda this time. And you know how people always ask what you’re near when you’re lost and they’re trying to give you directions? Well, it seemed that we were always near a Circle K (a convenience store), but it was never the same one. So, I think Zelda was having a hard time giving us proper directions. And at one point, Rex started driving on the wrong side of the road, which back home would actually be the right side, and Chris actually had to say something before he realized it. At that point, I think we knew that Rex no longer believed that we were fine.
Chris made one last call to Zelda and she got in her gold minivan and waited for us on a main road. And I tell you what, at 3:00, after an hour in the car in what should have been a 20 minute car ride, that van turned into our golden chariot!
So, 6 phone calls, 4 U-turns, and multiple passes over the Shonei River, we made it to Taro and Zelda’s house. But to our credit, there was no way we ever would’ve found their house on our own. We were just waay too lost!
But, in spite of it all, we had a grand time singing Disney songs really off-key, joking about Circle Ks, driving for so long we were sure to end up in Korea, and hoping to eat lots and lots of meat at Taro’s party. So, imagine our hour of crazy driving interspersed with lots of laughing and us recording our last moments in case we drove into the Shonei River or died from lack of food. 😛