Ever since I have arrived in Japan, I have had a friend by my side to lead me around the confusing streets and stations of Japan. It was something I was incredibly grateful for since I didn’t have data on my phone.
Japan is partly known for it’s amazingly organized subway and train system. Even so, it’s common for locals to get lost at times. That said, could you imagine how lost I would’ve gotten if it weren’t for my friends?
Well, I’ll tell you now, I got incredibly lost without them.
It all started at Takadanobaba station. The day started out perfectly fine and it was generally a good day. I got to see Godzilla in Shinjuku and I went out to eat okonomiyaki with the Japanese students at my school. However, by the time the sun was setting, the good day took a sharp turn.
My friends and I decided to complete our commuter passes. It costed each person $250 to set up their commuter pass. As if taking $250 from me wasn’t enough, life decided to throw another curve ball at me. As soon as my friends and I were done paying for our new commuter passes, we split up. They went back to their homes while I headed to mine.
Now, why is this a bad thing for me?
Well, for the past couple of days, my friends have been staying at my place. This enabled me to become dependent on them for directions because they would always use their phones to take us home. I didn’t have to scrounge for Wi-Fi because of their help. Most importantly though, I started to follow them blindly without question whenever we had to go somewhere. They became the human version of a GPS for me.
This proved to be a mistake on my end, especially after I was left alone in one of the most popular stations in Shinjuku.
The moment they left, I started panicking.
I needed to find Wi-Fi as soon as possible so that I wouldn’t miss the last train home. It took me a good ten minutes to get connected to the Wi-Fi so that I could search for directions. Even after I connected to the Wi-Fi though, I was still confused and lost.
I had no idea how find the entrance of the subway line I was supposed to take, let alone how to get onto the correct platform. I wandered around helplessly until I found the gate that matched the Japanese characters on my phone.
My problems would surely end here, right?
Even though I entered the correct subway line, I was on the wrong platform. With just a few seconds to spare, I had to sprint to the correct platform before the train took off. It didn’t help that it was rush hour and there were crowds of people waiting for the train.
In that moment, I truly missed driving my car.
When I got onto the correct platform, I rushed into the train that was about to take off. I only had to take the train one stop over to get to my house, so I thought it would be a relatively easy ride.
Little did I know I was completely wrong.
The train I got on took me two stops over instead of one; it completely skipped my stop. It dropped me off at a station that I wasn’t quite familiar with. It became clear that I was on the wrong train and that I had to quickly hop onto the next train that took me back to the station I started at.
At this point, I was sweaty and annoyed. The stations were ridiculously crowded and the humidity tested my patience.
Eventually, after turning back to Takadanobaba station and finally taking the right train, I was able to get home. The whole struggle of trying to figure out what train to get on and where to go made me realize I shouldn’t have been so dependent on my friends in the first place. I should’ve tried being the GPS for the day to try to get familiar with the stations. I also should’ve paid more attention to where I was when they were taking me to and from certain places.
All in all, I learned a very important lesson from this experience.
Moral lesson of the day: try to figure out things for yourself so you don’t suffer when people aren’t able to help you.
It took me around an hour to get home when it should have only taken me 10 minutes. Even so, it proved to be a good lesson.
I guess you just live and you learn.