Sunday, February 3, 2013

completely lost in shinmatsudo

in a couple of months from now, it will be 5 years since that unforgettable experience of finding my hotel in a totally new place and where people spoke a different language. sadly, those strange linguistic tones had fallen incomprehensibly into my illiterate ears. quite the opposite of what i had hoped for, bringing a handful of words with me in japan was both a boon and adversely, confusion to many people whom i asked.

Matsudo Chiba Japan

on that fateful day, i was in search for shinmatsudo station hotel and common sense surely did tell me that it should be near the shinmatsudo train station. the station was small so, it didn't take much effort to figure out the possible exit towards the right direction of my hotel. i intuitively searched the hotel on a weekend so that i won't end up roofless in the middle of the week. i was to transfer on a tuesday from my first hotel to the shinmatsudo hotel and i couldn't imagine myself towing my luggage in the evening after work -- while looking completely lost.

when i emerged from the train station, i started to go left and after a while, i found myself climbing the steps of an inconspicuous hotel. i must have seen shinmatsudo in the signage and i readily assumed that was the hotel i was looking for. without hesitation, i told the old woman at the receiving area on what time i could check in because i still had work during the day. it was an arduous conversation requiring patience from her because of my broken japanese and i had to even write in hiragana what i had to say. she asked help from the other staff in trying to somehow figure out my cryptic communication with them.

our conversation went on for a few minutes and i endlessly uttered the shinmatsudo station hotel until they figured it out. they then told me that it was the wrong hotel. but they were very nice in carrying on the conversation with me and they even told me the direction to my hotel.

Matsudo Chiba Japan

my sense of direction that time had probably flown away to another planet that i still hadn't found my hotel after that. i walked aimlessly towards a residential area and went back again towards the station. what i painfully gained that time were dead toe nails. eek!

it turned out that i had passed by the hotel a number of times and a man who was fortunate enough to understand my japanese, even literally pointed the building to me. can you guess why it was so hard for me then? the hotel's name was in kanji! kanji characters are chinese characters used in the japanese language.

the photo above was one of the very few that i managed to take using my phone as i dashed for work. that view was from the hotel and 'book' was facing the train station.

after i finally found my hotel, my problem did not stop there. i inquired my name to the receptionists and i was told that they didn't have my name in the reservation list. but for me then, it was alright because at least, i already knew where i would end up days after.

Pagoda Ueno Park Japan

Hippopotamus Ueno Zoo Japan

Zebra Ueno Zoo Japan

but all is well that ends well. my hotel reservation was reconfirmed by my manager and that secured me a roof for the rest of my stay.

maybe treading on a new place that time awakened my sense of adventure. there was no way i could give up my search -- no matter how it slowly became futile. there was something inside me, telling me to go on. there was no one to rely on but myself and of course, i was thankful for the people who didn't hesitate to lend out a helping hand.

without the confidence of going around a little bit of japan, i wouldn't have seen the stunning pagoda at ueno park, the monstrous look of a hippopotamus and most importantly, a zebra's ass in ueno zoo. haha!

Shinmatsudo Hotel
Matsudo, Chiba, Japan


in the coming days, i may need again this spirit of adventure and confidence of finding my way. and i'll cross my fingers and toes for that! will you cheer me on? ;)


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