Monday, June 13, 2005

Death even happens in Japan

I'm sure you've heard a cliche that goes something like this: "It doesn't matter what other people think of you." But it does. How people perceive you and your actions does indeed matter. It determines the way they treat you. If your friends think you shot their baby they probably will stop inviting you over for dinner. Which is a shame because you really liked dinner at their house. Even more a shame is that you didn't shoot their baby. You keep telling them it must have been dingos, I don't even own a gun. But the fact they THINK it's you because you are native to these parts and dingos aren't is the important part. I didn't shoot anyone's baby god damn it!

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The picture above displays my lodging situation while I visited Tokyo, Japan this past April. As the photo reveals it's stacked three bunks high, instead of the traditional, American two bunks. The Japanese style bunk did not leave room for my 5'1" frame to sit straight-up once awake. I never knew there could be an entire country where I was tall. Though uncomfortable, it was kind of cool. Like going to a elementary school playground and not fitting in the swings. That's right, first graders don't mess with me.

When arrived at the hostel in the Azu Juban section of Tokyo I didn't know the bunk situation. I chose a bottom bunk thinking it more convienent. Little did I know that I'd be sitting like an NBA player in VW beetle each morning. I entered the room and found my bunk it rose a whole 3 inches from the floor. I literarly had to roll into bed.

Now, I'd like you to come back in time with me to the day before while I flew to Tokyo. On the flight I read a bit of Lonely Planet guide book to Tokyo. I learned that Tokyo sits on a fault line and is subject to frequent earthquakes. My mind began to race. I thought, on this vacation I could be traveling outside the city for the day only to return to devestation. The catastrophe of course would make the news all over the world--even in the US. My parents would have no way to contact to me. Oh the drama! I have to say these thoughts were comforting compared to the thoughts previously occupying my mind---of dieing in a firey crash. At least this Tokyo fantasy I am unscathed.

Back to the bunk bed. I looked at my bed and all I could see was earthquake and the two wooded beds above me crushing me in my sleep. It took all my will each night to sleep. I thought of asking to change my bunk assignment to a top one. But then I thought during an earthquake I'd just get tossed out of bed supine, fall the 10 feet, break my neck, and die or wind up paralyzed.

The first four nights my sleep was fitful. Evening five I finally convinced myself I was being ridiculous, there's not going to be an earthquake. Then on day six at 7am Tokyo time I was awoken by the rolling and shaking of the earth. I flung my body from my bed landing me belly down in the center of the room. I turned my head back to see if the bunks had collapsed. Then this girl, perhaps swedish, says to me, "Relax, it's just an earthquake." Excuse me? Just and earthquake. No, it just drizzles. You just have too much cake! It's not just an earthquake. As it turns out that the just earthquake was measured a 6.1. Just an earthquake.

I'm ok thanks for asking, actually so was the rest of Tokyo. Amazing!

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