A while ago, I was surfing Quora feed and found this question “What is an only in Japan moment?” I tried to answer on Quora a few times, but I am not a super active member there. However, this question brought me to a memory I had in my very first few days in Japan, so I decided to spend my time writing the answer to that.
Now that I have my own blog, I think it would be nice to share the story on my own space. Here we go:
“I was in Tokyo and I had to catch a bus at 8:05 to go to Sendai, a city that is 6 hours away by bus, for my internship.
It was my first time in Japan and I didn’t have a SIM card or pocket WiFi. Plus, my navigation skills are one of the worst ever.
After arriving at Ikebukuro train station, I had to go to a bus station in Ikebukuro called Sunshine city that is around 1.3 kilometers away, but I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t load the map. I thought there would be WiFi in the station, but there wasn’t. So I came out of the train station freaking out. It was 7:40.
I went around and encountered 2 people. The first one – a young girl, refused to help me because she didn’t understand what I was saying in English and she just crossed the street, leaving me standing in despair.
The second one barely spoke English. I showed him the name of the station on my phone. He told me to turn right (in Japanese, I just guessed it from his hands pointing).
So I turned right and still had no idea where to go next. Then I saw 2 men loading things up a truck. I tried my luck once more. I asked one of the men where the bus station is. And he understood – woo hoo. He said he would take me there. I had 2 luggages with me, a huge one and a small one. He offered to help me take the big one. It was 7:51.
My freaking-out facial expressions must have told him that we didn’t have much time. So we both ran. Like really running. With the luggage it was not easy. Without him I would have never made it.
The moment I saw the bus was 8:03. I could not express how grateful I was for that man. He was all sweaty and breathing heavily. I kept bowing down and said “Arigato Gozaimasu”, which means Thank you very much (one of the few Japanese phrases I know). He was smiling and gave me a head pat, then said “You are welcome”.
I got on the bus and it left at exactly 8:05.
So that was my very first experience in Japan. Amazing country with the nicest and most honest people.”
You can see my original answer on Quora here.