Chasing time.

As a consequence of staying up late Thursday night to catch up here, I got up and out much later than I’d intended on Friday, which set the tone for the day. I had a handful of things I had to do before heading into the city itself, but it didn’t go as smoothly as I’d have preferred.

A surprisingly low price, considering that it’s full-service. I’ll miss this place!

First was a trip to Hongo to cancel my health insurance at the ward office. Japanese bureaucracy is world-renowned, and certainly didn’t disappoint; I was there for a long time. The plus side is that I was able to give them my last payment directly, and after they recalculated it, I owed much less than what the bill said. From there, I hastily went back to Takabari for a haircut, but not before stopping into the Seiyu McDonald’s. I hated having to do it, but I hadn’t really eaten anything and was starting to feel unwell from lack of food, so I bought the cheapest burger they had and wolfed it down. Doragon (the barber shop) was surprisingly quiet; Tsuge-san told me that was because it was still a weekday (which I kept forgetting; it felt like Saturday). He cut my hair, but handed me off to another guy for my shave and worked on a newcomer — probably someone else who prefers the boss — then finished me up. I told him I hoped to see him sometime next fall, and made my way to the nearby post office to buy a box (there was no time to hunt down a free one). On my way back, I stopped at Softbank and card-charged up my phone, meaning my number and e-mail will endure for another three hundred sixty days (more than enough time for me to get back).

Back at the dorm, I filled the box with stuff I’d recently acquired — my ASU mug, re-swapped bento box, the extra bag from the bingo game, and my 書道 stuff, plus some odds and ends — and since the post office would be closing soon, I had to go straight back. I’d bought a day pass on my trip to Hongo, though, so I was able to take the bus back to Takabari. Mailing the box took longer than I’d hoped, too, but I finally got it sent off and reboarded the bus. My next stop: Nagoya Station.

I’d been waiting for Animate, a well-known otaku shop, to stock a certain talking-base collectible figure set, and they’d just come out the day before. This was my only chance, so I picked up an unopened box of them and got out of there in a hurry. From there I headed to La Vamo to check Lashinbang and Leisure Land, but found nothing I couldn’t live without. The guy I always talk to at LL had already left for the day, giving me yet another reminder I should have started much sooner. (As an aside, one of the female employees from LL said she’d spotted me at Animate earlier; in typical Japanese fashion, she hadn’t said anything at the time.) Since I was running low on funds — very few places seemed to accept cash that day, including the post office — I got just a fish sandwich at MOS and fast-walked it back down to the station so I could get to Kamimaezu before the stores closed.

I hit the small used-game shop in Akamondoori and switched my region-locked version of Espgaluda II for what I hoped was a region-free copy before moving on. Mandarake had nothing that jumped out at me, which was for the best, since I was already low on space in my luggage. Even Urban Square wasn’t too exciting; most of the employees I knew weren’t there, and the one I did know well was officiating a Gundam tournament at the other end of the building for most of the time. Again, it was a Friday, so not quite as busy as the next night would have been. It wasn’t long before I just gave up and went home.

Once I got back to the dorm, it was time to start giving things away. Jun had already taken my space heater and one set of towels (he’d been drying himself with a hand towel for almost four months!), and neither Tom nor John was there, so I left the floor tiles outside Tom’s door in the hallway. Sai came and got the foam pad, and gave me a small Chinese charm as a souvenir (I think she felt like she had to give me something in exchange). I offered Aki the heating pad, and after explaining how useful it was, she gladly accepted it. That left the rug for Isou, but I hadn’t eaten yet, and had offered to let Isou share some grilled-cheese and edamame with me (i.e. the rest of the stuff in my fridge). She happily accepted, and invited Suyeong up as well. Suyeong hadn’t seen how to make the sandwiches, so I demonstrated again (really, it’s easy), and while they split a sandwich, I made one for myself. Isou and I ate about half the edamame, but Suyeong politely declined. We all shared my last liter of Pepsi Twist. I gave the leftover stuff to Isou (one sandwich, the remaining edamame, and the sauce I bought for cooking), as well as the rug. That was that — time to clean up.

Jaime, my WVU predecessor, had left me an awful lot of stuff from his year at ASU, much of which I puzzled over and then put back into the box he’d left it in. I’d already handed out the useful things I couldn’t bring back, so I took everything else (as well as some unused plastic bags) and put it in the TV room for anyone to take as they liked, wrapping up with a short farewell on the whiteboard. Jaime had also left me an assortment of cleaning supplies, which I used to clean the refrigerator, bathroom, and shower, none of which were particularly dirty. That done, I was finally able to use the newly-clean shower myself. I left the cleaning supplies and the last little bit of shampoo in the utility room next door for someone else to use, and the remaining paper towels and some toilet paper in a closet for the next guy.

It was coming up on the time Katou-san said he’d arrive. Cramming my hair dryer and shaving kit into my suitcases was much more difficult than I’d anticipated. Mrs. Haba kept coming by: first to remind me it was almost time, then to tell me Katou-san was waiting. She did not, however, lend me a hand until I specifically asked her to. It was exceedingly difficult to get everything closed back up, but I somehow managed, and we hauled the heavy luggage downstairs. I made sure to toss my worn-out dorm slippers into the trash (farewell, old friends!) and put the last set of towels in the washer for Jun before turning out the lights in my dorm room for good. It was raining outside (of course!), and I was already soaked with sweat from cramming stuff into already-full suitcases after a fresh shower — it would be quite some time before I was dry again. We jammed everything into Katou-san’s car, including me, and sped off to Fujigaoka on nearly-empty streets. I’d already missed the 5:30 bus, but they ran them every half hour, so I could still catch the 6:00. It was finally time to go home.

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