Ehime, Part 1

It’s that time of year again: health check time.  The health check went almost the same as last year.  I embarrassed myself several times, freaked the nurses out when I didn’t seem bothered by getting my blood drawn, and trailed along behind one of my English teachers like a lost child.  You know, normal stuff.

One major difference between last year and this year is that I was on a time constraint.  I had already written in the vacation time book that I would be taking the afternoon off.  I had a ferry booked and a train to catch.  Thankfully, the health check was over in plenty of time.  There was just one more complication:

A typhoon.

The eleventh one of the season, to be precise, and this one was headed directly for my island.  The school had even gone ahead and cancelled club activities for the afternoon as well as the following day.  We had the typhoon information showing on the TV in the staffroom and I split my time between watching that and frantically refreshing the ferry company’s page to check for stoppage notices.

Impending doom.

Impending doom.

But I am ready to go.

But I am ready to go.

While I was waiting for my time to leave, the vice principal was chatting with me.  He was fairly sure they were going to cancel my ferry, but I assured him that everything looked good so far.  Then he told me that I was probably going to get sick on the ferry.  Worse yet, I knew he was probably right.  I had stupidly forgotten my motion-sickness meds at my apartment, so I was trying to figure out how quickly I could run back to my apartment (with my giant backpack on) and back to the train station (which is right by my work).

I knew I didn’t have the athleticism required to make that work, so I resigned myself to taking an extra half an hour of vacation time.  I went to the vacation book to write it down and asked my vice principal if I could just cross out what I had previously written and write the new time in.  Thankfully, he told me to just leave and get my meds.  I had to ask him if he was sure like three times before I was satisfied that he was being serious.  (He is known for being pretty strict when it comes to taking time.)

I speed-walked back to my apartment, grabbed my things, and then speed-walked back to the train station.  I made it just in time to catch the train.  After that it was just a two hour train ride to the port city of Usuki.  I’ve only been there a handful of times, but I am rather proud of the fact that I didn’t even need to use a map to get myself to the ferry stop/building/station/thing.

I got there, got my ticket, and still had about an hour to kill.  Ferries in Japan are a bit different than ones in the States (as is probably to be expected).  Only special second class and first class passengers get actual seats.  For the cheapest tickets you get a spot on a special part of the floor.  So I found myself a nice spot near an outlet, curled up, and tried very hard to pretend that the waves weren’t as rough as they were.  I found myself longing for the ridiculous looking, but effective sea-bands that looked like sweatbands and had a bit of plastic that pressed against a magical part of my wrist to somehow decrease my nausea.

This is the area I stayed in on the boat.

Thankfully, I survived the journey by curling up in a ball and not moving for two hours.

Jennifer picked me up from the port and we went back to her place for a delicious dinner.  Jennifer’s friend Grey stayed at Jen’s apartment too, due to the typhoon.  Apparently her landlord had said something to effect of, “If there is a typhoon, this house is kind of flimsy, so it might be better if, you know, you sort stayed somewhere else.”  So the three of hunkered down for what was supposed to be a crazy typhoon.

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