No afternoon class on Friday meant I had a lot of free time and nothing to do. It felt too early to do homework, I wasn’t particularly tired, and there weren’t many people around. I finally decided to go into the city, specifically Akamondoori. I ended up talking to a woman I often see at Urban Square who seems to like watching people win things at least as much as winning them herself, and was pretty knowledgeable about the Nagoya game center scene. I headed back out on Saturday — after sleeping in, that is — and after my usual rounds, spotted the woman again at Urban Square. I also struck up conversations with a couple of the employees there, two guys who always seem to work weekend nights and are generally pretty nice to me. They seemed interested in talking, mostly because I’m an obvious foreigner who comes in weekly.

The TV tower near Sakae, as seen from the top of Oasis 21.

The next few days were mostly uneventful. I visited the new 7-11 they’d been (rapidly) building down the road, as well as finishing the last of my second batch of meds. I also bought and packed a box with some of my purchases and winnings to send ahead. By Thursday, I had the itch to go out again. My time here grows short, and I think I’m unconsciously starting to feel like I need to cram in as much as I can. I left right after getting back from class, and ended up talking to some of the day-shift employees at Urban Square. Cosplay seemed to be the order of the day, too: while the girl working at Mandarake being dressed like the main character from Persona 4 wasn’t entirely unusual (but was entirely awesome), seeing one girl dressed as Haruhi Suzumiya and another wearing a loose-fitting tiger outfit at Urban Square was out of the ordinary. As evening fell, I took the train back to Hoshigaoka for kendo. This week, it seemed the cheerleading club had an impending meet, because they had taken up half the gym for (noisy) practice. I worked a bit more on my own while our initially-small group grew to fill the half-gym, but was frequently distracted by the girls (for obvious reasons).

I’d been hunting down mailable boxes at Seiyu, since they’d be free, but finally took advice from Mrs. Haba and tried the neighboring pharmacy that Friday, finding two more. Katou-san, the nice old man who brings potatoes and vegetables from his farm to us here for free, came by that evening with gourds and various potatoes. He seems to genuinely enjoy speaking with non-Japanese, so I try to chat with him whenever I see him by way of thanks. He took Natascha and me into the kitchen and showed us a quick way to peel the potatoes with a knife, then fried some up for us. Not bad.

Around that time, the TV news broke in to warn everyone of a fresh earthquake and typhoon specifically threatening Miyagi-ken, the unfortunate victim of last year’s disasters. The students were glued to the TV, but neither Katou-san nor Haba-san seemed particularly concerned, saying Aichi-ken was safe. Still, I feel for those people.

I walked Katou-san to the door, and as he was leaving, he asked when my flight out was. I told him it was really early, and he offered to drive me to Fujigaoka to catch the airport bus, since the city bus and trains wouldn’t be running that early on a Saturday. He’s coming back this week, and told me to give him specifics so we can finalize the plan. He’s a really nice man.

Saturday, the wind was blowing hard, but I’d wisely worn my excellent winter coat and scarf. As I made my rounds, I said goodbye to one of the nicer guys at Namco Land who always seemed pleased to see me. I finished my night at Urban Square, as usual, talking to the woman from before (we have yet to exchange names). Unfortunately, I lost track of time, and got out much later than usual. I managed to get to Hoshigaoka before the last bus, but had just missed the previous one, so had to kill half an hour. It was something of an object lesson as well: taking the last bus is Not Fun. We were packed from front to back before the first stop, and took on a few more passengers there. I was nearby the exit door, and for the next few stops, a few of us had to step out to let people off, then get back on. It wasn’t bad, just inconvenient. I chatted a bit with a girl nearby me before finally reaching my own stop.

I wasn’t able to mail my things until Monday evening, but the nice thing here is that they’ll send a guy with a portable scale to come to you. He weighs your packages, takes your payment, and drives your boxes back to the post office. The Habas were really helpful throughout the whole deal, too; I’ve promised to make them some grilled-cheese sandwiches (which they’ve never had) in return.

My cough had come back sometime Monday night, and by Tuesday afternoon, I knew it wasn’t going anywhere. I hated going back to the clinic a third time, but I had no choice. The doctor did his usual, then offered me a week’s prescription this time. He actually asked if I wanted more, but I kept insisting that his recommendation was fine. They charged me less this time, probably because it was my third time there for the same thing.

With a week and a half left here, I feel like I have so much to do.

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