Japan! Stories

storie dal Giappone

Japan! Stories

Tokyo

3,2,1 go!

We start our journey in Dubai, but we can easily skip this detail to arrive directly here in Terminal 2, Narita Airport. It’s summer and I can feel it in the air. However, here I can breathe, not as in other Asian destinations. Look mom, I’m in Japan! I landed in between an alien movie and the tidy drawer of my friend Sabrina. After repeating as many time as I can ‘arigato’ (thanks) I finally try to find a logic in all this order. The navigator keep telling me I have to find an underpass called B2F. I’m lucky enough to find it and even blessed, ‘cause two person address me in English!

Il treno di Tokyio
Tokyo and trains from the future


Right now what I really need to do it’s just to find out how to buy a ticket. It seems all pretty easy to me, but to understand the amount for a single ride is still an ancient secret of Japan, to me. Finally I buy a Funabashi ticket, direction Funabashi Station. I’m pretty sure my pronunciation of Funabashi is quite as funny as ‘trigonometry’ pronounced by a Japanese. Anyways people here in Japan are super respectful of this funny gringo and no one underline my ignorance in pronunciation.

Then, Tokyo


Ticket in my hands, a future train moving under me ready to go, let’s move! My first ride seems endless. Tired from 10 hours flying and this new reality. Yes, in this line I will define it as ‘alien’, but please don’t find it offensive. Everything seems different to me, starting from light signs, to the way you need to address unknown people, finishing with the disposition of escalators. It’s Japan, babe.

Then, Tokyo

An entire world drawn on black coated paper, a dark black able to scratch the train windows with all its elegance. Tokyo appears to me like that, as it was a fascinating woman accompanied by a natural elegance. Elusive, it pass fast as fast is the train, speaking an unknown language. The train run fast, a bit bumpy. Actually it reveals useful this bumpiness, as I wake up banging the head on the window. With this sudden wakening I’m able to descend to my stop.
Well, I don’t know if it’s just karma or some ultra futuristic item controlling my mind, but I managed to catch the right stop. Probably it’s my karma, but still I’m open to the second solution. You know, we’re in Japan, anything can happen.

The metro

Right, if this is considered to be a metro, I’m in an alien movie, for real. It appears clean and tidy at 9 p.m. in a way that let you think it’s better to put clean slippers on. The advertisement is a serial killer for my attention. Did you ever tried to remember the name of a secondary character in a Dostojevskij novel while a group of darwish dance all around you, but dress with Pikachu costumes? Right, you have a clue how difficult is for me now guessing the station name, stay awake and at the same time don’t get distracted by the advert in the metro. Even though a part of me believe I’m trapped in another dimension, I come back to the Earth and thanks to a couple of good advice I’m back on track. My two good advices are 5 feet tall and with tall policeman hat. I cannot refrain imagining how similar they are to the children’s carnival costumes. In this case I’m dressed as a western man with eye bags and hairs combed by the wind.

Silence, please

The subway is silent, only the train speaks. All the human beings, digested in this multitude with caterpillar shape, are clean and tidy. And then, horror. A small plastic bottle has been left free to bang all around the train wagon. That sound it will be the only one sums up to the train background. Bing, Bang, Bong, but no one say anything. Silently, everyone is expecting the noisy thing will suddenly be alive and decide to descend at the next stop. Outside Tokyo seems a video game, with the ultimate elegance of a top model. Lights are similar to eyes, a plague that seems to infect a promising peaceful and solitary darkness. Everyone keep the eyes on the screen of some smart- thing, even when a beautiful girl (probably coming from a manga comix) arrives and sit in front of me. I feel myself a man coming directly form Neolithic. In the meantime the train keep singing tu tum tu tu tum tu tu tum tutu tum. I’m ready for the next station.


The second trip

Second trip is easier than the one before. I’m in Funabashi (so far so good, Hubert would say).
But I still don’t understand:

  • A. How can I get my ticket
  • B. Where is the subway here
  • C. Which direction I have to take it?
  • D. There is any kind of cause- effect relation between the Yen I’m spending and my ride in the metro?
  • E. Everything is controlled by Voldemort?
    P.s. it seems there is a logic behind it. Obviously, it’s a mysterious and alien one, like a key to press on the screen (vodoo).

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— Read in Italian —

Daniele Frau

Daniele Frau is a translator and content writer living in Dubai, coming from an amazing Italian island, Sardinia.

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