On the second day, I woke up around 6:30 and waited until around 7 to send out a message that I was going out for a walk and anyone was welcome to join me. No one responded, so I figured everyone was still sleeping. I headed to the park where the majority of the festival’s attractions were and wandered around by myself. After about an hour, I decided to go back and grab something for breakfast. When I returned, people started messaging in the group chat. Apparently, other people had been up and wandering around as well. At first I was really frustrated. Why did they not message me back? Why did they just ignore the message altogether?
It took me a little bit, but I finally reframed the situation. We were not on a trip together. The situation was more like we were each on our own trips and we just happened to be in the same place at the same time. If we ran into each other, cool, but if not, we should each be doing our own thing. I do not think I will be organizing another group trip like this again in the future, but I definitely had more fun once I started looking at it more like a solo trip.
I realized that, as stressful as they can be sometimes, I am starting to prefer solo trips where I can meet up with people along the way. I went back to the park and wandered by myself some more. Though my ankle was starting to ache, I pushed through it. I am still not sure if I should go back to the doctor or not, but I will give it another week or two. I am not sure if it is normal for it to still be aching, as I have no one to ask about these kinds of things.
Regardless, I had a good time making a loop around the park and seeing all the sculptures. By the time I was headed back, a group of my friends had arrived at the park. We walked around a bit together and I stopped to get myself a set of ice spikes for my shoes.
For dinner, we went to a burger place that Roger (who used to live in Hokkaido when he was on JET the first time) raved about. The evening sort of went downhill from there. I was having a great time, looking forward to going bowling with my friends and eating a delicious hamburger (a rare treat). However, while waiting for our food, Chris accidentally knocked a full glass of beer all over me. My jeans were completely soaked, and everything else had a liberal coating of the stuff. I’m not a huge fan of how beer smells on the best of days. Still, I was not mad at Chris in the least. I was wet and uncomfortable, but not upset at Chris.
I honestly think he was more upset than I was. After trying to dry myself off with some towels (and thanking Past Jodi who made the wise choice to make her camera bag out of waterproof cloth), I sat back down and was determined to get on with my night. However, Chris felt bad enough that he ran to a nearby Uniqlo and picked me up a pair of sweatpants, HeatTech leggings, and an undershirt. After getting changed in the bathroom, I was feeling much better.
And then we started having problems with the food. Orders kept being made incorrectly, didn’t go to the right person, or just plain didn’t show up. By the time I finally got my burger, we had been waiting three hours and everyone else had already finished his or her food. I asked for a to-go box and took my burger back to the hotel room while everyone else went bowling. I just did not have it in me to muster the social currency required for bowling.
Not only was the burger cold by the time I got back to the hotel, but the patty was too salty to eat. However, the fries and the bun (which they make at the bar) were really good, so I had something. After I ate, I washed my beer-soaked clothes in the bathtub with some detergent I picked up from the convenience store and hung it all on the built-in clothesline that all business hotels seem to have in their showers. (To my dismay, I would later discover a coin laundry on the second floor.)
As I was leaving the bathroom, I managed to smash my arm in to the doorknob hard enough that I still have a bruise. It was a long, frustrating, day. And yet, I would probably be willing to go through all of it again just to spend time walking through the snow like I did that morning. The snow alone makes the trip worth it, in my opinion.