[TF LATFY] SOUVENIRS FROM KYOTO

We left Kyoto to Osaka on our third day in Japan. Our plan was to leave our luggage at the train station nearest to our place of stay once we arrive in Osaka, thinking that we could come back and pick them up on our way back later. But surprise, surprise – it’s the weekends : all the lockers at the station were full!

We saw a group of tourists facing the same problem. Apparently there were two sides of the train station, and that side’s lockers were also fully occupied!

We then took the train to the next station, the one nearest to the Osaka Zoo (a zoo in a city), and there too the lockers were full!
We did so many train hopping from station to station looking for lockers that day that it could become another entertaining story on its own! Oh Well, at least we were happy utilising the one-day passes.

Since by now we were just an hour away from the alloted check-in time to the AirBnB (2 pm. This too depends on the property owner. Some had people renting one day after another and needed time for the cleaners to come in between rentals), we thought we’d just head to the place and sit in a cafe nearby until it’s available.

This time we had to push luggage along the street (at this point I would like to suggest that you invest on good well-made luggage/spinners with strong twin wheels), had to march through a busy market, treaded along the backstreets (all of these backstreets were surprisingly really clean) and when we arrived at the supposedly the right place (according to Google Map), we couldn’t find the building!

I saw a woman getting ready to mount her scooter and asked if she knew the place. After much confusions (again, it’s the language barrier, and the property owner not specifying the actual building name didn’t help), she finally realised that she actually knew the place.

The building was not exactly at the street pavement frontage, but rather a bit behind. There’s a small path leading to the building, and we were literally right on it’s track! She knew we couldn’t speak Japanese, so she left her scooter, walked us to the building, pressed the unit number on the intercom, and spoke to someone who seemed to press the door open.

With her leading the way, we took the elevator up to the 10th floor. On the way up we got to know that she works as a cleaning lady. As we arrived at the apartment door, a woman who answered the intercom came out. She’s the tenant before us, who seemed to be waiting for her ride to arrive.

We thanked the woman who helped us find the place and said goodbye.

I was amazed with how far some of these Japanese people were willing to extend their assistance to strangers. I still am.

On our last day here we had a 7-11 staff who actually came out to the door to show direction at 5 am. We had a gentleman who jumped out of his seat (from a stationary train, of course, though the temptations to add drama to this story by saying he ‘jumped out of a train’ did actually crossed my mind) to correct his earlier instructions on which train we should take.

Strangers whom we met literally went out of their way to help us.

I had been to some countries where it seemed that everyone were out there to take advantage of you, where they offered help but THEN asked for money in return. In some places they would get commissions by turning you up to a retail establishments (happened to me twice on two consecutive days when I was in Sri Lanka with my buddy. Now these guys literally went out of their ways to take advantage of us!).

I was weary of this too when we arrived in Japan. But we had a number of incidents that proved otherwise. Maybe we just happen to be lucky. But what a lucky streak that was!

Us Malaysians were known to be one if the kindest and hospitable people on the planet.

I wonder if we’re still are.

Maybe at one point we became fed up with people taking advantages of our kindness that we stopped being as nice and as a side effect, became cautiously skeptical to people coming to offer help.

The world ia made of all sorts of people. Not everyone you meet is nice. Some have bad intentions.

But then there’s also nice and honest people. People with good heart, who still believe in goodness. And as the world get shrunk smaller and smaller into globalisation and overwhelming junk consumerism (where everyone is on his/her own survival), there are still nice people who will still help strangers.

We just needed to have a bit of faith.

Do you still remember the story that I told about the man who walked us more than a kilometer to make sure that we find our place of stay on our first day in Kyoto?

Well, the next day he came over and gave us a wall ornament and a nice scarf as souvenirs!

LATFY A. LATIF
Thirdforce Media
9/11/2017

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