One Man Walking

2008-06-07 A fractured mind

June 7th, 2008 · 2 Comments

I’ve spent a lot of today with the early signs of mental collapse. It might be fun to read but first some stuff about the locals.

I took an early lunch break outside yet another combini, setting my bag down outside and tidying myself up a bit. The girl at the counter said “hello” rather than the same old greeting everyone gets (and might as well just be a recorded message for all the care that goes into it). She spoke a little english and I amused her by counting out the correct change in Japanese. I was enjoying my Swiss-roll and pineapple juice outside when Kyoko came over. She said, in very good english, that foreigners don’t come through here and she saw my big bag so she’d come to see if I needed any help. I showed her my map and GPS and she was soon reassured that I was going to be OK. She called me an adventurer and I didn’t have the heart to tell her I tried to wimp out and get a hotel last night.

Kyoko came to see if I needed help 

The afternoon sure dragged on. All the time I could see the hills to the east and south and I was wishing I could be on some lovely trail up there not pounding the pavement down here with the trucks. At this speed I’ll have plenty of time for that on Hokkaido so the weather better be good.

I’m trying not to cook anymore so on the long lonesome road skirting Niigata city I stopped in at a ramen restaurant and had a great time. It helped that the waitress was a bit younger than me and curious about this disheveled stranger. She told the chef (her mum I think) and the three of us talked about what a long way it is. The only two other patrons, older guys in the standard pale green jumpsuits of working men, overheard this and came to join in. The talkative one was pretty hard to understand. He spoke slow but he was so drunk I doubt if most Japanese people could figure him out. The waitress could though and laughed a few times but I was none the wiser. Then he suddenly produced a ¥5,000 note along with the word “Present”! There then followed a round of photos and handshaking. I gave him a packet of Jack Links Beef Jerky. I love it but I had to give him something and it had ‘Made in New Zealand’ on it. The chef gave me some tempura, something Lorraine and I had searched high and low for, and said the people of Japan thank me.

Staff and customers at the ramen place 

So, my brain is doing weird things. I keep having flashes of a different place, or places. Pieces of a memory, or a film, or maybe a story I’ve imagined. Perhaps they were fragments of a dream or another lifetime. Whatever I was experiencing was too fleeting to recognise. It kept slipping away from me when I tried to look deeper. This got me a bit wound up and that may have caused it to happen more often. It’s still happening now. Quite a shame really because I thought I was past the crazy stage and just feeling lonely. Apparently I’m both.

Word of the day: ki-chi-gai no = crazy

Distance today: 48 km

Key:
hiking  ·  movie  ·  photo

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Peter // Jun 13, 2008 at 3:53 am

    Hang in there crazy, enjoying it as you do. Do you get to walk through the woods much? I imagine it’s nicer surrounded by various plants rather than flat fields but I guess the solitude will still be a problem. Perhaps you can make friends with some animals. Yes! Get a pet! (a Wilson football doesn’t count).

  • 2 Levi // Jun 24, 2008 at 5:37 am

    A fertility shrine? I don’t get it… can you please explain in detail… ;)

    Hang in there Craig… know you have a lot of great friends cheering for you from afar.

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