Nagano: A man named Coffee

I will be commenting on my final day in Nagano. There were a lot of mixed feelings combined, but no doubt it was a trip worth taking. I am currently very restless because I will be traveling again, this time out of the country. I again cannot guarantee internet connection, but I hope to come back alive with plenty of stories.

In the meantime, please check out the previous Nagano posts here:

First Day: Click me!    Second Day: Click me!     Third Day: Click me!    Fourth Day: Click me!


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I woke up early in the morning on the fifth day to catch the train going back home. Yoshida-san took me to the station. It wasn’t an emotional parting, but I had mixed feelings. I was sad, yet ready to back home. Ready to go back to my comfort-zone. I learned many things regarding farming, but also learned a lot about myself. I realized that I do have some kind of complex, and I should find a way to work on it. The previous night, we watched 東京物語(Tokyo Monogatari) and I related a lot to the leading lady. Just like her, I always try to smile. In the last scene though, she finally let her Japanese walls down a bit and cried because of the stressful circumstances. It was a great movie.

On the way home, I decided to make a stop in Nagoya. I know a few people there so I thought that it might have been possible to have lunch with a friend. Unfortunately, no one was available and I decided to walk around until I decided what to do. As I wandered, I remembered what everyone said about this city: There’s nothing to do here. It is very true. The buildings are dull and there is nothing distinct about Nagoya. Though it has its own feel, the area around Nagoya Station is on the bland side.

Whenever I visit, I have the tradition of making a pitstop at T.G.I.F. before heading back home. Because I was slightly full, I decided to digest a bit before I got a bite. In the area, there was an organic foods market going on. I didn’t think much about it as I went through, but everyone seemed to be in an extremely good mood. I walked on to see if I could find a good spot to draw, but I soon realized that my search would be in vain and quickly turned back to the organic market. I walked through, and got some free candy in honor of the holidays. Before I started to sketch, one of the stalls offered me some Hojicha to drink. I loved the taste and decided to bring some back home to my family.

I would have loved to have drawn the Hojicha stand because the man in charge was very kind, but it didn’t have a lot of detail. I looked around and I saw the ginger shop. With all of the different colors of the signs, and the different kinds of rice and ginger, it was the perfect subject. Five minutes into the drawing, people and tourists commented on the picture as they walked by. A woman also sat down and asked me more detailed questions about how I choose my subjects. I also showed her some of my personal sketches from the Train Stories. She was a lovely lady and I will be sending her a sketch via mail soon.

After I started to reach the end of the painting, an extremely friendly woman came up and introduced herself. She was in charge of a local newspaper and wanted to ask me a few questions. To make a long story short, my sketch and I will be in their next issue.

An hour later I packed my watercolors and pens and headed to Fridays. I usually end up meeting interesting people there and this time was no exception. I sat at the bar, and there was a young Japanese man working there when I came in. He started talking to me right away and he told me about his home stay trip to New Zealand. I also learned that his name was Coffee.

With a good meal and an exchange of drawings between Coffee and me, I got back on the train to Ikoma. It was still a good three hours away so I still had a ways to go. What I loved about that afternoon is that no matter how boring a place could seem, there is something always waiting to be discovered.

I finally made it home and it was the same as I had left it. It was a great trip and I find that in the situations I am the least comfortable in is when I grow. I hope to be able to do the same with the trip I will be taking tomorrow.

It will be an adventure for sure.

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