Awaji road trip
Before I start On the road trip saga. I have to say, I find it weird that people are still signing up to follow my old blog, when it states I have started a new one, and that one, “Zensekai I – by land” is finished. I have been getting notices. Is it just me who finds that odd? Not the notices but people signing up to follow. Not that it is bad, just sort of weird. Oh well, whatever…
I was invited out to Awaji island for a BBQ. Last year or really less than that, the guys from tye band went out to there friend’s house and played. They all belonged to the same translation group. The posted a vid of them doing a song. So this time around I was invited. I do not know the host and felt i was really just invited to play for them with our guitarist. I was not all that thrilled about going. LZ said it was a long involved trip to get there. I hesitated. The guitarist said he would drive and I could ride with him. I was still not all that thrilled, the memory of the IZNT embarrassment was still in my mind. An attachment I needed to release, but was not there yet. Also I kind of felt like the invite was just to be the entertainment.
After a while I agreed to go, since I did not have to do anything but ride. I was thinking, ok a couple of hours by train, by car it should be about 1 hour. WRONG! I boarded the train to go met up with “M” the guitarist & “H” his girlfriend.
We met up at about 9:30 a.m. I am thinking, wow so early what are we going to do getting there so early. Since I was getting a free ride, I rolled with it. It was three of us, M, the guitarist, his girlfriend and myself. The drummer was out of town, and LZ was not up for it, she had to go help her mother and worked late the night before. So off we went in M’s electric car, a Nissan, Leaf.
About 1 hour onto the trip we stopped for a pitstop at a highway rest stop. I was a bit surprised to hear Stevie Wonder playing over the sound system. It was just like, well almost like a road stop in the States. We did as one does at rest stops then set off again. I am still not use to having a woman cleaning the restroom whilst I answer the call of nature.
Another drive for 30-45 min or so, and we stop again. This time at a Nissan dealer to charge up the car. Wow who knew! We needed a 30 min charge stop.
The dealer offered us , tea, juice etc, free as was the charge. I am again surprised. Wow Japan! Oh , there was also a charge station at the earlier rest stop but we did not use it. It was also free!
Ok, we are off again, city turns onto countryside and still we drive. I am thinking now, wow this is a road trip! I Was not expecting this. This place is far! We stopped again at a convenience store, for a break and again did what one does at such places.
M, calls the host, he says we are about 30 min., away! I am thinking, whoa! This is far, it is now close to 12:30. The party starts at 1:00pm. So we are on time. More driving, over a bridge and through country countryside, down some side road and we arrive.
Nice little country home , big yard, rose garden, wood piles, etc. the owner come out to met us. There are people already there. I am introduced and start scoping the place out, the yard and garden.
The host’s wife comes over with arms opens and gives me a big hug.
I am taken off guard, this is not very Japanese! I roll with it and like her right away. She reminds me of someone I know.
I am taken over to the food, shown what is veggie and told to help myself after having been giving a glass and had it filled with champagne.
Ok, I am feeling not uncomfortable. People came over and introduced themselves, it was a mixed crowd, Japanese and foreigners. I loaded myself a plate and sat and listen to the chatter. A few questions here and there about me, mostly just talk. Everyone knew everyone else as they had all been here before. Everyone was nice and growing nicer as the bottles became less full.
After eating and a couple of glasses of wine, I was asked by “M” if I felt like playing? Asked after he got his guitar out of the car and was carrying it past me. I said ok, let do it. The host said, only if you feel like it, do not feel obligated. I thanked him for that and got my gear, I was feeling fairly comfortable by now. I had spoken some with the co-host earlier. privately, about flowers, nature, spirits. I liked her, she spoke of being friends with the area crows, and how she/they were just renting the place from nature.
The house was small but comfortable, they did not need a lot of stuff. It was big enough for an overnight guest, a small dining party in the living room and a big yard for gatherings. Simple life was good, life is not about gathering stuff. I was comfortable with her spirit.
So M and I played for a while, easy tunes, I stayed in the background as much as possible and just supported him. I was asked a few times to sing, I did for a couple of pieces, but wanted for M to have more of the attention. Anyway it fun, the people enjoyed it and seemed really to appreciate it.
Afterward a little more chatting about this and that, Japan, the states, Australia, etc. it was good conversation, nice it was in English so. Could easy follow. After a while it was time for us to head back. We said our goodbyes, and hit the road. We did not go far before stop for a sunset picture. Interesting shot of sun setting over a field of solar panels, I did not get the huge windvale also in the picture. that would have been epic.
Then a little further up the road, we stopped to re-charge at a station. It was also a stop for a group of bikers on a road trip. Across from the charging station was a hot springs, hotel and restaurant, there we took a snack break whilst the car recharged. Then got back on the road.
Long drive … Before another stop at a roadside rest area, then onward to the Nissan dealer again for another recharge. The electric car is nice, but the milage is not that great. It however nice that there are free charging stations all over. You can even check on the built-in GPS where they are located. ONe things though you have to plan in time to sit and wait for the recharge. Also if someone is there charging you have to wait even longer. As we were leaving the dealer another car pulled in behind us.
Ok, so finally after a long drive we made it back. I got on almost the last train home and made it back just after midnight. It was a long day, but interesting, pretty fun, overall pleasant. It was a worthwhile trip in social meeting experience kinda way. I would go back to the next one, as long as I did not have to take public transportation.