Japan Travel

Shizuoka Get-away

Had a marvelous stay at the Yamaha (as in pianos) Tsumagoi resort in Shizuoka prefecture this past weekend. It was just for a day, but a most excellent Tsumagoiday. I was there there for the first day of the Granrodeo Fan Club “Relaxation Vacation” event, which included a mini-live concert, party and photo opportunity. Since it’s GR-related, my main write-up will be over on my GR blog. But here I wanted to talk about the (semi)non-GR aspect of the weekend that made it even more amazing than expected.

When I signed up for the trip, I paid extra to get a room to myself, since Nancy wouldn’t be coming and I didn’t want to room with strangers. But when my final paperwork arrived, it included a notice that I would be getting a refund for the room supplement, but no explanation. So I didn’t know if they’d decided to refund the money and I’d still get a solo room, or if I’d have roomies.

My bus, one of two coming from Osaka to the resort, was dead last. We got there about 15 minutes before our live performance was to begin. I scurried over to my wing of the hotel, ended up on the wrong floor, finally got to the right floor, right room, and wondered how the heck I’d open the door without a key (I am guessing that they actually left the rooms unlocked and put the key inside for everyone, rather than waste time handing out keys). I didn’t knock, just opened the door in my hurry to get my stuff in and run off to the live. And I proceeded to walk in on four very surprised Japanese women … well, I think we were all equally surprised. Introduced myself somewhat formally, though in my nervousness rushed through and left off the usual “please be kind to me” part. Whoops. Anyhow, once they got my name, we didn’t really have time for anything else and we rushed out to go find the line for the live.

Turns out our seats were together, and I quickly clued in by looking at our badges that we were in the same group the whole weekend – concert, dinner, party table, order for the photo opp. And you know what? That was perfect. I don’t know if any of the other groups that ended up getting put together in a room bonded, but we did. Even me, despite the language barrier. I had no worries about getting to events on time, or finding them: we went as a group. Didn’t have to eat alone, because we sat together. We even went souvenir shopping together at the hotel store after dinner. Yes, not understanding everything kept me from participating more in conversations, but I did pick up on a lot, and they made an effort to include me, or listen when I chimed in. Of course the conversation revolved around Granrodeo a lot, so having a common currency helped, definitely.

I owe it to them for getting me an extra high-five with the band during the party, as quite literally one of them came back to our table (I was trying to be good and not sneak in an extra chance), put her arm around me and coaxed me pretty much into the perfect spot at the end of the next row. I was happy and grateful that she did so. I did pass on going to the baths with them, which gave me some introvert down time (though I find I need less of that, these days).

We had our bus driver take pictures of us in front of the bus, sat together on the way back and all ended up exchanging emails and phone numbers (I’m amused my first four business cards went to Rodeo Girls). One saw me off to my shinkansen gate after asking me if it was okay to write me in Japanese, since she doesn’t read English (I assured her it was okay. I can always use a dictionary, if necessary.), shook my hand and said hopefully we’d meet at the GR concert in Osaka in February. Since getting back, I’ve heard from two of them, including the super quiet one I didn’t expect to hear from. I’ve emailed both back already, but I need to email them all back and thank them profusely for their kindness.

This was completely unexpected, walking away from the event with four new friends. I knew I’d have a good time because of the band, but this was a pleasant bonus. Becoming a Rodeo Girl and moving here have definitely been some of the best changes I’ve made my life. ♥♡♬☺(✿ฺ´∀`✿ฺ)

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