The very last day in Japan! Tomorrow, sitting at the airport doesn’t count as being in Japan anyway. I wanted to make the best of today, and so, I took a bus pass to roam around the city. After a very brief visit to Yodobashi (family stuff, you know – shopping never ends literally!), I got into a random bus. And I did not get off it! I could see that I was going the same route over and over, but it felt nice to relax and watch the city move around me. I don’t remember how long I traveled in the bus, but it definitely didn’t feel as long. The one last meal in Japan was again in an Indian restaurant – Maharaja. I know, it does sound stupid, but if there’s one thing I don’t trust Japan with, that’d be distinguishing vegetarian and non-vegetarian food! Took a stroll around Kamo river, walked through random alleys, saw couple of geishas and meikos – what more can you ask for in Kyoto! And finally, to end a great day at with hot cup of coffee, I sat down at the Starbucks by the riverside. As I enjoyed my last evening in Japan, it began to drizzle outside. The day was cloudy, but I hoped to be in train before it poured. Winding up the day, I reached the station only to know that all trains to Minami Kusatsu have been cancelled! Apparently it rained heavily, and the rail tracks were blocked. Panic mode was up and running, and then I thought of Divya roaming around in Kyoto. Called her up, figured out alternatives and went full-on crazy and scared about missing the flight tomorrow. After a while, we mustered courage to talk to the busy station staff who were dealing with the chaos without a pause. To my greatest surprise, the staff at the office kept aside his urgent tasks at hand, and patiently explained to me about our options to get back home. He even took out a paper, and drew the entire map on it, just in case we didn’t get his broken English. We had no words for him, awestruck and grateful; we thanked him and rushed through the platform to catch our alternative train. Mostly likely because of our loud discussions about the rail lines and switching of trains, an old man at the platform offered to help us out. Used to the pleasant nature of Japanese, we weren’t surprised by the offer. He talked through the journey, got off at the intermediate station with us, walked till our platform and ensured we’d be fine on the way since JR line was restarted by that time. My last memory of interacting with Japanese people would probably that old man at that platform, who waved at us continuously, till our train was out of sight. The picture of that man who then walked away to his platform is a frame that wouldn’t fade in my memory. I am glad I could give him the only ‘kachcha mango‘ I had then.
Japan, I am proud to have visited you, and humbled by your humility! I have never been surrounded by such goodness and peace, like when I was here.