For the sake of getting a room with a panoramic view, Mt. Fuji, I purposely didn’t stay in a budget hostel like what I usually do. Fortunately, Mizuno Hotel has a relatively affordable rate to make my dream come true. I was happy that Ollie agreed to join the experience with me.
Plus, the hotel has a pick-up service for all guests at Kawaguchiko Station as the meeting point. Nonetheless, I just realized it after finishing the boat trip around Lake Kawaguchi and returning from the the 400-meter-observation deck with Kachi Kachi Ropeway. So, at that time, we were already stranded at Yuransen Ropeway Iriguchi Station.
My bad. I didn’t read the booking itinerary carefully in advance.
At 5 pm, nearly all stores and tourist spots were already closed. We hardly or did not see any buses and taxis on the road either. Google Map predicted that it took 18 minutes to reach the hotel on foot. But let’s round up to 20 or even 30 minutes. Not to mention if we got lost and how long we could get back into the right track.
Free shuttle service was such a waste unless we used it. So, Ollie decided to claim our right by contacting the hotel using a public phone nearby to pick us up since none of us had a Japan SIM card, despite the doubt that the receptionist could speak good English.
The response was an automatic voice message that ceaselessly said, “Mungo, mungo, mungo….”.
At least that’s how she thought how it sounded like. After third attempt to dial both hotel numbers appeared in the booking itinerary, the phone couldn’t stop saying mungo-mungo thing. Oh, forget it.
If phone a friend didn’t work, ask the audience would be the last option.
A very few people passing at the station, but the hope to find the right person to bring the solution still rose. I started a quick search for someone having a local (Japanese) look and being familiar with the area.
About 10 minutes later, I hurriedly ran into a man wearing a black blazer carrying a briefcase who walked fast. He seemed to be familiar with the surrounding in the way that he carried himself. I got a feeling that he was on the way back home from work. Additionally, he looked Japanese enough to me.
“Are you Japanese? Do you speak English?” I asked.
“Yes, I’m Japanese.” He replied.
Thank God. He had no idea how much it made me feel relieved.
“Could you tell me how to use a public phone?”
Suppose anybody tells you that, “There’s no stupid question, only a stupid answer”, think again.
He frowned instantly, puzzled. Still having a deep thought why I asked such a question, he answered, “You just need to take the phone and press the numbers.”
Deep down my heart, I really wanted to laugh. Of course I know how to use a public phone. I’m a city girl, but it’s not the case. I briefly told him that we tried to call the hotel with a public phone, but it didn’t work.
I lead him to the phone booth and perhaps, he would gave us some instructions on how to use a public phone in Japan that might be different from other public phones. Instead, he asked me the number we were trying to connect and tried to dial it himself.
He subtly shook his head, expressing something went wrong with that public facility. He took his smartphone out of his pocket and pressed number for us. As soon as he did it, we saw a very familiar picture of the lake view and triangle-roofed dark brown building on his phone screen right away, with an inscription “Mizuno Hotel”.
“This one?” He showed me the image on his screen before pressing the green button with the white phone logo. I nodded.
I had no idea how come that picture appeared on his screen although (I think) he didn’t save the number. And I’m sure he didn’t open it on Google Chrome. Wow, magic!
“Moshi moshi….” he started a conversation to the other party. I heard him mentioning “… pinku parka…”. I guess he was talking about my pink jacket.
Hanging up the call, he told us that he already gave our descriptions to the receptionist, such as what we were wearing and all that, so the driver could later recognize us.
We thank him for what he did for us. Without a single effort to engage us with a small talk, he nodded, waved his hands, and crossed the street right away.
We finally managed to burst out, laughing at our own stupidity. Feeling relieved, Ollie went back to her “shell”, the phone booth, because she was freezing. I begged her to leave her comfort zone for a while, worrying that the Mizuno chauffeur would not be able to identify us as described by the fine gentleman.
Seeing a big empty bus approaching us seconds later, I said to Ollie cheerfully, “Hey, that’s the one!”
“Duh, I don’t think so! Who do you think we are? That bus is way too big just for the two of us.”
She was right. The bus just needed some space for making a u-turn to change the lane.
It felt like forever to wait for the shuttle. I prayed that the chauffeur would not forget us.
After a while, a dark blue minibus approached and stopped in front of us. We saw an inscription “Mizuno Hotel” appeared on both sides of the car. A sliding door automatically opened for us.
That’s our ride!
We couldn’t thank the gentleman enough who was willing to give some of his little time to help the lost foreign girls. He was our hero of the day.