Madcap Adventures Ensue

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Almost forgot to write this up. August 18th an all night beach party was planned at Tsuzumigaura North Beach (鼓ヶ浦海岸北). Due to some problems – probably O-Bon related – the party was rescheduled for September 1st. We gathered a group of five teachers and headed north by train to catch the concert. Rumor had it that around 600 people were coming, so we were looking forward to a good time.

Official start time was 9pm, but my experience has been that they don’t usually get rolling on schedule. We caught a train just after nine, hoping to show up once things were in full swing. Also, half the crowd was expected to be Brazilian, and they generally start coming out around midnight.

We had a few concerns. Because I wasn’t driving and the last train home is at 11:50, we knew we’d have to stick it out until the first train at 5:15am. Also, I checked the weather report which showed a significant chance of rain all night.

Our plan for the first issue was to sleep on the beach if we didn’t have the stamina. We brought mats to throw down. The possible rainfall was a little more difficult to handle. We figured we would go and make a decision about returning just before the last train.

As our train neared the location we got some hard rain, but at our stop it was almost stopped. This bode well, or so we thought; halfway to the beach, we ducked under a bike shelter to avoid the sudden downpour. As it quickly passed, we continued to the beach to discover they weren’t charging any cover.

We listened, danced, chatted, played in the surf, and had a few drinks. I ran into folks I hadn’t seen in forever. I may have had the best time I’ve had in my three years here. Someone got word that only two or three bands would be playing. We realized that would leave us on the beach, in the rain, far from home, with no trains running. We had just enough time to catch the last train back, so we said our goodbyes and departed. Our atmosphere was a little too casual and distracted on the way to the station. I was awakened to the world when one teacher complained that I was walking too quickly with the cute young lady next to me. As I paused and looked back, I also checked the time, we had about two minutes to catch the last train.

We rushed around the last few corners to see the train roll away. There was one more train about a half hour later, but it would only take us part way home; stopping at the garage for the night. We hopped that train, hoping to catch a taxi from there to Shinmachi. Splitting the cab five ways wouldn’t be too bad. Generally, there are taxis waiting where trains end for the night, being a source of easy revenue from desperate individuals.

The best (and worst) laid plots of men aft go awry. We got off at Shiratsuka (白塚) and found that the taxis were gone. We made some phone calls and the taxi companies insisted that they could not help us. I had a few questions about that; although the few taxis on duty were busy, I would hope they could eventually come get us. Ultimately, the solitary man in front of the station got drawn into our conversations. A cab was coming to get him and drive him to Shinmachi. He quickly surrendered to my requests that we split the cab with him.

When the cabbie arrived, I had a lengthy discussion – or rather, negotiation – trying to convince him that it would be all right to load six bodies in his car. He refused to surrender, so I forced the three new teachers into the cab, insisting they not worry about us. With the remaining teacher, I walked to the main highway and headed south. We were thinking about heading all the way to the 24 hour McDonald’s so we could sit it out until the morning trains, but one of the new recruits saved us.

On the ride back she convinced the driver that he should head north and pick us up. Thanks to cell phone technology, they reached us, I explained our location, and we waited for the cab. I had another 20 minute walk home from our destination, so I got back close to 3am and a little wound up. I watched some TV and collapsed into my futon.

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