Someday we will be sitting at one of Austin, Texas’ finest Tex-Mex restaurants, raving over the local cuisine, sipping on a Lone Star, and looking back at all the bemusing events that we shared in Japan.
“Remember that late-October weekend in Shikoku?,” someone will nostalgically mention as the waiter – complete with perfectly ratted blonde dreadlocks – brings a refill of warm tortilla chips and precisely mixed, made-to-order salsa.
“Yeah, that was probably one of the most amazing – not to mention random – weekends we had!”
“No doubt, eh? How did we even begin to process being whisked away at that end-of-the-world ferry port into the bright lights of Matsuyama, and then ending up in the back of an Aussie’s little work truck that hauled us to that guesthouse that oddly resembled an old hunting shack. I still cannot get a handle on any of it.”
“I don’t know, man. It was crazy.”
“And white-water rafting with Power Rangers!? Beautiful.”
“I know. What was that!? Just ninja-kicking each other off the boats, like it was no thing. I was seriously afraid for my life a few times, but I knew we could get through it.”
“I still have no idea how I managed to jump off that cliff. I seriously have no idea. I wasn’t going to do it. But, I just had to go for it.”
“You did, babe. I am so proud of you.”
“The onsen was pretty incredible, too.”
“I cannot believe you went in the cold pool.”
“I just like to try all the different options at those things.”
“I wonder if Gordon is still smoking himself silly in Nepal?”
“Yeah, Gordon – ah, the Kiwi with dreads. Kind of reminds me of our waiter. Quite the character, yeah? You know, he refuses to be a guide in North America because of all the strict rules and regulations?”
“He licked my face!”
“It was just so incredible how we ended up at that little Aussie BBQ shindig up that mountain. We were party crashing from afar. It was ballin’, though. A little Nihongo dake – it just unloads after a couple beers for sure.”
“You totally passed out early.”
“YOU passed out early.”
“I thought we were playing Go-Fish with Obama propaganda cards.”
“I don’t know why I dove into the Franzia.”
“Sorry! I kind of egged you on.”
“Remember my magic trick? Cause I don’t, honest!”
“You were three-for-four that night.
“Mark’s daughter was soooo cute, like a doll. Perfect command of Japanese and English. Really, really incredible.”
“His wife was pretty awesome, too. I thought at first she was the one dressed like a nurse!”
“She was Elmo, I think.”
“So, nice, though, yeah?”
“Incredible! I still look at all those photos from that weekend.”
“Remember how badly we all needed that getaway? It was perfect.”
“….remember…….remember….. remember…… remember…..oh, wow…… yeah….. that….. jeez!……. I know!……Christmas……you have got to be……. CONGRATULATIONS!…….oh, you guys!…..”
The conversation will continue to trail off into more reminiscing of days gone by as I listen to the words blend together like poetry. The dread-locked waiter will tell us we need to square up as his shift is ending in ten minutes. A tip will be sorted. Someone will mention how they miss not having to tip in Japan. Hugs. Car doors close. Off into the still Texas night, we ride.
四国 in photos:
Action Rafting Photo Credit: Various Power Rangers from Happy Raft Rafting Company