Sunday, October 5, 2014
Small adventure 34
Right after the Sakurajima walk, I wanted to return to Dolphin Port to see if I could get close up to the destroyer docked at the wharf. But, as I'd mentioned, when I got to the docks, it was gone. I spent a few minutes walking around to see if I had the location wrong, or if it had moved, then I went to the side of the aquarium to find the submersible to take photos of that. I was getting hungry, so I visited the shops in Dolphin Port, but I couldn't find anything I wanted to eat - most of the restaurants were either closed, or only serving snack foods.
Eventually, I headed back to Tenmonkan. As I got closer to Izuro street, I reached one company that sells large blocks of ice. One of their side businesses is kakigori (shaved ice with various syrups on top), similar to snow cones in the U.S., for 250 yen (50 yen extra for the condensed milk topping). I got the coffee kakigori with condensed milk. Now, the cups they use are fairly heavy clear plastic, so they have recycle boxes out for both the cups and the spoons. All of the customers were just hanging around the shop, eating the ice, then throwing the cups in the box before leaving.
I wanted to recycle the cup as well, so I just stood near the shop, enjoying the kakigori, when a woman came up to me and asked if I knew where the youth hostel is. The only one I know about is on Sakurajima, so I started talking about having to take the ferry to get there. She interrupted me, saying that some foreigner she'd met on the airplane had recommended the hostel to her and that it was supposed to be close to Dolphin Port.
I asked if she had a map of the area, and all she had was a simplified diagram on her smartphone showing a place called Green Guest House. I've never heard of Green before, but the map indicated that was only a block or two from where we were standing. She decided that she'd have more luck searching on her own, so she thanked me and headed towards Dolphin Port.
I still had half of my kakigori left over, meaning that I'd have 5-10 minutes before I could return the cup to the shop. Rather than just stand there, I headed down the side street behind the shop, looking at building fronts to see if any of the signs said "Green". At the next intersection, a taxi driver noticed me and rolled down the window to ask if I needed help. Just on the off-chance, I told him I was looking for Green Guest House, and he said to go down one more block, turn left, turn right at the next corner, and go one more block. He offered to drive me, but I thanked him and followed his instructions.
Pretty quickly, I found Green, then turned around to see if I could find the woman. She was back at the main street, returning from Dolphin Port. As I caught up with her, I passed the street where the taxi was parked. The driver saw me from a couple blocks away and flashed his lights to see if I'd gotten lost. I waved to show I was ok, and caught up with the woman. We chatted as we walked. She mentioned she was from Taiwan, and was in Japan for the first part of what was going to be a global vacation. Her next stop would be in Kyoto, so I gave her a couple suggestions for what to do there, before she went into Green Guest House and I returned to the taxi driver.
As I approached, he saw me and got out of the taxi to ask if everything was ok. I said it was, and he asked if the woman was my girlfriend, or someone I knew. It was kind of difficult to explain that I had no idea who she was, and I was just killing the time needed to finish off my kakigori. I thanked him for his help and we talked for a while before I went back to the shop to throw the cup and spoon in the recycle boxes. What I should have done is ask the driver for his business card to request him specifically the next time I need a taxi. I expect that I'll be able to find him pretty easily when I'm in the Dolphin Port area, and I'll get his card then. And maybe another coffee kakigori. With condensed milk. It was a good kakigori.