Anthony's Encounter with a Friendly Local

Yamanashi Travel Blog

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Anthony's Japanese breakfast

Japan has some of the most friendliest locals I have ever met anywhere in the world.  On our way to Kyoto from Fujiyoshida, we took a bus from Fujiyoshida to Gotemba.  While waiting for our train at the station in Gotemba, an elderly Japanese gentleman walked up to me for a chat.  He looked as if he was in his late 50s to mid 60s.  In his hand he had a small covenience store plastic bag which contained what looked like a canned beverage and some snacks.  He approached with a friendly smile and a look of curiosity.  "Firipino?" he asked, which is Japanese for Filipino, to which I responded "Hai.

The bus price table
"  I was amazed to find how well he spoke English, though it was just basic phrases and words.  He noticed that we were all wearing jackets, and probably looked cold, and said "Japan is cold right now."  He was laughing while he said this because he probably assumed that we weren't used to this type of weather around this time of year.  He asked if we were "touring" to which I answered yes we are vacationing.  He was telling me Fuji is very beautiful and I agreed with him.  I told him that I thought that Japan is a very beatiful country.  He asked where we were going and I said that we were on our way to Mishima, which is our next stop to which we would go to Kyoto from there.  I might have spoken to fast because I found out later he thought that we were just eaded to Mishima as our final destination.
Car 8 for Reserved Seats (gurinsha)
  He said that he was going to an onsen in Mishima, and he was trying to explain that it was a hot spring bath.  At this point our train arrived.  Since we were in the reserved Green Car, we parted ways with the elderly gentleman.  It was a short ride to Mishima, and as we were getting our luggage together to deboard the train, I see the elderly gentleman at the entrance of our car waving for us to follow him.  I thought that it was very nice of him to guide us to where we had to catch our transfer shinkansen.  While weaving through the throngs of people, he would tug on my sleeve every now and then and say "follow".  I noticed we were going the wrong way when we exited the station and were by the street.  I stopped the man and told him we are going to Kyoto from Mishima, and he gave me a puzzled look.
in a shinkansen from Gotemba to Mishima
  I am assuming he thought we were staying in Mishima.  So then he guided us to where we could purchase tickets to Kyoto.  I explained that we had JR passes and that we already had a ticket to Kyoto from Mishima station.  So he took us back to the entry gate to the station. He shook my hand and bowed and said have a good trip and he even gave me his bag of snacks and drink.  Not wanting to seem ungrateful, I took it and responded with, "Arigato Gozaimasite".  It was sad to see him go because he was so nice, so helpful, and so friendly.  I think he wanted me to go hang out at the onsen with him or something.  Going back to train platform to wait for the next train, I opened the small plastic bag.  Inside was some fish snacks that smelled strong of dried fish, a stick of string cheese, and japanese beer.  I felt bad that he gave me his traveling snacks and that I didn't have anything to offer him in return.  I knew I would remember him as one of the nicest locals we'd run into in our travels in Japan.  Even moreso, I kept the beer, unopened, as a souvenir and a reminder of that moment of local hospitality.

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Anthonys Japanese breakfast
Anthony's Japanese breakfast
The bus price table
The bus price table
Car 8 for Reserved Seats (gurinsha)
Car 8 for Reserved Seats (gurinsha)
in a shinkansen from Gotemba to Mi…
in a shinkansen from Gotemba to M…
my udon dinner!
my udon dinner!
Yamanashi Hotels & Accommodations review
David, the owner, and his family are very nice people and made us feel like part of the household! David picked us up from the Fujiyoshida station. Th… read entire review
Yamanashi
photo by: bensonryan