Today I was supposed to meet a friend at Kanazawa University. I looked up the Kanji for University, asked a Japanese lady what bus would take me to Kanazawa University and took the one she pointed out to me.
The bus was crowded with young people, that was promising. I drove and drove and drove, and after 30 minutes driving, when the bus went higher on higher on narrow streets in the snowy mountains which seemed to be so far away from my balcony I begun to be nervous.
But I saw it written in the bus – the Kanji for Kanazawa and University. Calm down, Marie.
Just as I calmed down, the bus took one last loop and crawled up a hill, into stony walls. End station. This was definitely not the university. No, it was some kind of a highschool. Who could have expected that “University” and “Highschool” look so similar?
So, I, the German girl with almost no Japanese knowledge, was lonely anywhere at a cold, rainy place with a great view on Kanazawa and had just paid 420 Yen to be somewhere where I wasn’t supposed to be.
I caught the bus driver just as he was about to leave.
He took me into his bus to drive me to the bus base where I got invited to get into the station. A bunch of bus drivers, technical assistants, office workers and other people with funny hats watched me moreless inconspicuously and tried to communicate with me. It somehow worked. They told me how to get to the University (first of all I gotta go back to the stop where I entered the bus) and asked me several questions. Where are you from, what do you do, do you have a boyfriend. Giggles.
It were fun 30 Minutes. I was entertained by lovely bus people (I seemed to be the best attraction since years) and entertained back, while proofing my Japanese skills which are apparently less non-existent than I expected them to be.
Afterall one happy bus driver (he blushed when the boss told him that he gotta carry me back wherever I wanna go – for free) went off with me and I waved as we passed the windows with all these happily jumping, laughing, waving men.
I’ve never been treated so well and took so many advantages from my stupidity – ever before.
Sometimes I ask myself if Japanese people are treated equally to foreigners who – from my experience so far – can do whatever they want and still get cheered.