The trip from Uno back to Tokyo was one of our longest and required two train changes. Hiro, our host at Uno Slope House, drove us to the train station and escorted us into the carriage where we said our goodbyes. After a couple of big days, I was looking forward to a restful one, even if it doubled as a ‘travel’ day.
We met Kenyuji on the first leg of this trip. He had overheard us speaking English and with an ease that admittedly took me by surprise, he asked us where we were from. As it turns out Kenyuji, an Uno native, spent a couple of decades of his life in New York and Toronto before returning to Japan. He was a 70+ year old retiree and no longer drank — if I have a drink I will die, he told us. We told him about our trip so far, and our plans for the next week, and he told us about his safety concerns as far as Japan’s big cities were concerned.
At Chayamachi we changed trains together and when we had to change platforms to catch our Shinkansen at Okayama he made sure we were on the right track before heading off, (I’ve gotta split, guys), but not before giving us ¥1000 “to buy yourselves a couple of beers”. He was extremely apologetic he could not give us more, but he needn’t be. It was such a generous gesture, and coupled with sharing stories with him on our trip, we were very grateful.