It’s the last morning in the city. As always, I awake with the dawn. Sleep could have been better again. Gone are the Germans, in is the guy from Beijing who energetically has to talk to everyone the moment thmey enter the dorm room, no matter the hour. There are only so many times a half sleeping body wants to hear a man in the cot across hop out of bed and talk to people coming in from the bars in the middle of the night. I’m sure the others felt the same way. But like the rest of the guests half sleeping trying to block out the noise with ear plugs, I say nothing and just grumble under the covers.
I shower and check out early, getting permissiont to leave my bags while I go for one last wandering. I take my camera and return to Shinjuku park, it deserved it. I also do a final stop at Tokyo station, feeling my way through the weekend crowds. People pour through the tunnels like a flood. There are more people in this station at any one point than a small Canadian city.
Returning to the hostel, I collect my bags, pose for photos with Saori to put up their Facebook wall. One of the staff members even has a new Polaroid which they use to take pictures with all the guests and pin to cork boards around the lobby. My photo is now among hundreds of otbers, adorning the walls of a small, friendly hostel in Japan.
I take the slow train through the countryside tomget to the airport. We pass suburbs and suburbs before the bulk of the city is behind and rural Japan opens up. It looks remarkably with rural Quebec at times, near the st Laurence river, only with rice fields and the odd pagoda. I still get to the airport early. I don’t get lost this time in its tunnels this time either.
I check in to my flight, browse the kitschy airport gift shops, thinking of things to pick up on the return visit, and prepare to say goodbye to Tokyo.