One day, though, I got this postcard from Japan. My very first postcard from Japan. From Noriko, a Japanese mum. It was a Nausicaa postcard (if you never watched this Studio Ghibli anime, now you know what to do tonight). It was everything we needed to start an epistolary friendship between the poor 27 years old unemployed French girl that I was and this Japanese ukulele player housewife.
I burst into laughter, and talk and talk about the New Zealand’s landscapes, about how easy it can be to travel once you make your mind about it. He tells me about London, Egypt, and those little dreams he has secretly stored in his heart. I can tell that he’s drunk too, Jason, for he’s sharing his secrets with any random woman that comes along in the streets.
I’m a bit nervous, starting to think that maybe Teiichi’s endeavour won’t be free of charge if you see what I mean. What do Japanese guys dream of? Do they dream about blondie European girls in their hentai’s fantasies? He introduces me to Hamachan, makes me put down Monster in the backroom, introduces himself a bit. He’s working in the Publishing industry. What a coincidence since I used to be a bookseller! As the Japanese tradition dictates, he gives me his business card. He’s often on the phone, seems like he’s calling people to find me a place to sleep tonight. He says I should relax, he’s going out to find me some place. What the hell is going to happen to me?
The only limits are the ones you decide for yourself: between now and tomorrow morning, there’s enough time and space for life to happen and take me by surprise.
It’s a sunny Sunday and after hiking the Abel Tasman Track, I’m leaving Motueka in the North-West of the South Island to get to Greymouth, further south, hitchhiking. Why Greymouth? Well, as I was taking a short break from my road trip in Nelson, I decided to do some HelpX work (volunteering work) in Oamaru during the Victorian Heritage Festival. This year, the festival will be about Alice in Wonderland. After looking up a bit into it at the I-Site and discovering that you can also see some penguins in Oamaru, I was settled to go.
However, Oamaru is on the other side of the island, and I had to figure out a way to get there on time for the festival. I found out there’s a renowned scenic train, the TranzAlpine Train going from Greymouth on the West Coast to Christchurch on the East Coast. From Christchurch, Oamaru is still about 250 km away, so this journey is going to be quite a long ride. Anyways, I need to get to Greymouth first, and I decided to hitch a ride…
All alone this time.
Here’s my TOP 5 of my favourite (cheap) Japanese accommodations!