It’s called The Land of the Rising Sun for a reason; the morning vista can be something special, a crisp blue skyline with the brightest yellow sun. If I were a morning person, I would like the mornings here, but I like my futon too much and have to work today, so it is difficult to appreciate the view. I enter my local conbini, a 7-11, to buy a drink and a sandwich.”Irrashaimase” exclaims the cute girl from across the counter. I smile awkwardly and nod upon hearing her words and grab a copy of The Japan Times from the newsstand, fold the paper and present it and yield five hundred to the lady behind the counter. Arigatogozaimasu she says, and Arigatogaimashta I say as I exit the conbini. Since I am need of a good internet connection, I linger outside the train station, pacing up and down as I listen to YouTube videos and podcasts.
There are many benefits to standing near a train station. You are outside, so there is good internet and a means of escape should, to put it kindly, troublesome individuals turn up, individuals such as The Newbie, whom has just come up on the elevator and is making a beeline for the ticket machine. I close my eyes and focus on the sound of the talking head being emitted from my headphones and imagine a world where, since I could not see The Newbie, he could not see me.
Alas we do not live in such a world, and as he waves his arms to get my attention and begins galloping, releasing the hand of his latest belle; a cute young girl, petite with dyed brunette hair, I wonder if The Newbie has some kind GPS tracker app that enables him to find me when I least want to see him. I know I shouldn’t be unkind, it’s just he’s young, ever so eager, yet being fresh off the boat, completely clueless about Japan, and there is something about that combined with his average looks and the fact he always has a new cute girl by his side that makes his face eminently slap-worthy.
He asks me if I had tried the latest seasonal soft drink ‘sakura cola’, essentially just cherry cola. I say I had but found it a bit too sweet – a lie – I actually quite like it, I just want this conversation to be over as soon as possible. A pause, if I were a sociable person this was where I would speak. I hear the chimes announcing an approaching train, quite literally saved by the bell, I shrug, stare at my iPhone and mumble:
“Sorry, I’ve got to go”.