Hello, we are back from Japan! Needless to say, we didn’t want to come back at all. The weather was perfect, the sights were beautiful and the food was AWESOME. I will never go for sub-standard ramen and sashimi again.
The way we ended our trip was most comical. From our service apartment at Shinjuku, it was supposed to be a short drive to the train station where we were to catch the Narita Express. The trains depart at one-hour intervals so missing the train would have meant missing our flight. Of course, us being us, we were running late and had only 15 minutes to spare before the train left but we thought it was fine since the station was a mere five minutes away.
And of course, us being us, nothing went as planned. First, the cab we hailed was steered by a most useless driver. He saw us with suitcases at our feet but did not open the boot. It was only after husband banged repeatedly on the boot before he popped it open.
After the luggage had been stowed, we told him that we were heading to Shinjuku Station to catch the Narita Express. He started rambling on and on in Japanese, opening up a directory and flipping it to the Shibuya pages. Hello! We said SHINJUKU! We gestured to him the way forward but he continued peering at the Shibuya maps. Exasperated, husband sprinted back to the lobby and got a staff to help us communicate with the driver. She explained nicely to him where the station was but he kept asking, is it there? Is it really there?
Finally, he decided that he was certain of his way (it was but a five-minute drive away!) and started cruising along. That’s right, he was not driving but CRUISING at a leisurely speed. Husband nearly reached over to snatch the wheel from him, I reckon.
Once we reached the station, we ran as fast as we could with the luggage in tow. But, this being Tokyo, the station was all about staircases and there were no escalators or lifts in sight. We heaved our suitcases – they weighed all of 39kg, mind you – and plodded down the stairs and that was when I realised that yes, it IS possible that I could love my husband more than I did before, as ridiculously madly in love with him as I was.
So husband turned around, saw that I was moving surely but slowly down the stairs with my 19kg suitcase, and grabbed it from me despite my protests. Look, I am pretty strong for my size, even though the stupid luggage was almost half my weight, and he knows it. But he still took it from my hands and toddled down the flight of stairs with a bulging suitcase in each hand. I don’t know why but the situation struck me as pretty hilarious and I burst out laughing behind poor husband’s back.
Once we hit the ground, I took my suitcase back from him and we ran for our lives. Only to realise that the platform was like, oh, a mile away. Well, it feels like a mile when you are running and pulling a 19kg suitcase behind you while trying to navigate a crowded, complex station. We ran and we ran and I thought that my lungs were going to burst. At a certain point, I almost gave up but it’s all mind over matter, isn’t it? I started talking to myself in my head (I do that a lot), I can do this, I can do this, don’t give up.
Husband must have read my mind for almost simultaneously, he turned around, read the expression on my face and came to my aid by taking my suitcase from me. We eventually reached the entrance of the platform – he dragging the luggage and me clearing the path – and I dashed up the escalator in relief.
Only to see that the blasted train was at THE OTHER END of the platform. Without a backward glance, I propelled myself forward, planted ONE foot solidly into the train and stood there defiantly. The train driver and conductors must have thought I was a bit mad and stared at me…until they followed my worried glance and saw husband huffing and puffing away with two suitcases. Then they smiled and waited till we were both safely ensconced in the train before pulling away from the station.
When we got to our seats, I threw my arms around my husband and told him that he was my hero, I didn’t know where he found the strength from but he was just plain marvellous. And then I started laughing and did not stop until he told me to get off him because he was all hot and sweaty.
Now, he is still Mr Thick (around the waist – the food we devoured in the land of the rising sun certainly did not help) but I also proclaim him the bestest, sweetest, MANLIEST hero to ever reside on earth.