Going back to places you knew for nostalgia’s sake always runs a risk of disappointment. Things change, stores close, people move away. I had spent much less time in Osaka than Nagoya, so that risk was much lower. Still, of the many university friends I contacted, those who responded had all since moved away after they graduated.
Incidentally, it wasn’t until Tuesday that I finally realized that none of the hotel rooms contained the numbers 4 or 9. (Without going into a lengthy explanation, suffice to say it’s a cultural superstition, similar to Western buildings not using the number 13.)
I woke up early and packed, got my shower, and checked out of the hotel. The weather had held up for me this time, and I nearly left my 100円 umbrella behind, but ended up taking it along anyway; it was paid for, after all. I wanted to check the onigiri place near the U-Community one last time before giving up, so I hopped the train to Kawachi-Kosaka. It was still closed, which was a huge letdown, and the lady I’d spoken to the day before briefly commiserated with me before I left.
Defeated and hungry, I returned to Shin-Osaka to catch the Shinkansen home. The station had a Lotteria, one of my favorite fast-food places, so I bought a thick burger and quieted my stomach. Rather than spend too much on a drink in the station (or buy an overpriced one on the train), I went outside and found a smallish convenience store called Coco!, which is apparently common in Okinawa (but nonexistent in Tokyo). The Nozomi that carried me back to Tokyo was somewhat less crowded than the one I’d taken to Osaka. I picked a window seat and dozed for most of the trip home. By the time I got back to my apartment, it was only mid-afternoon. I spent the rest of the day doing laundry and resting my tired feet. Nostalgia has been exhausting.