Throughout the day I’ve talked myself into and out of paying for accommodation tonight. The forecast for tomorrow says “chance of rain: 100%”, but I can’t go hotel hopping all the way to Soya.
As I turned in my key for last night’s room the hotel manageress offered me a free breakfast, so obviously I stayed just a little longer. She told me her daughter lives in Mutsu, 50km north and my target for the day, and her boyfriend is Australian. Then she said something about him being my friend and I couldn’t tell if she was assuming that since I am a New Zealander (one of 4 million) I would probably know Alex the Aussie (one of 14 million?), or she was suggesting she’d introduce us so I could have a free roof.
I started out in rain but it faded away within the hour and I just walked north along the road making sure not to pass any puddles at the same time as a truck. I walked a long way today stopping only at a road station to try to sort accommodation. The free internet there (rare but very handy) suggested Wakinosawa Youth Hostel whose address was “Mutsu-shi” (as in Mutsu-city). Their terrible online map didn’t match my version of Mutsu so I called them for directions. It took me 15 minutes to establish that they aren’t actually anywhere near the city but 45, yes forty-five, kilometers to the west. They had been trying to tell me this for a while but I’d mistaken it for people not understanding how far and fast I walk. It was of course my fault for not knowing enough Japanese, but the postal service or government body for addresses needs to be overhauled if they think that place can share a name with a town so far away. But then the Japanese address “system” is a whole other issue.
Anyway I walked on quite late. Getting myself right into town in an effort to either be spotted by Alex the Aussie or get a hotel. I passed a kendo club room where the little old lady waiting for her grandson inside tried the old TALKING LOUDLY TO FOREIGNERS trick when I said I didn’t understand. I still didn’t understand, and I guess she just thinks I’m a little slower than all the other people she meets.
As it turns out I am stealth camping in a park. One hotel was below ¥5,000 but the park is free :-)
Word of the day: mi-mi ga ki-ko-e-nai = deaf
Distance today: 56.5 km