Headed for Kyushu

Monday morning we were booked to take three shinkansen from Kyoto to Nagasaki. I woke up feeling very less than average and had been coughing and spluttering all night. I always feel sad about leaving Kyoto, but this time I was feeling so unwell, it was overpowering my impending dread. I got up early and went downstairs to talk to Maki. I asked her about what kind of medication I could get at the pharmacy. She said she thought it would be better for me to go to the clinic down the road, to see the English-speaking doctor. She pointed out that once I was in Nagasaki, I would have little access to any English-speaking people, in general, and that if I went to the clinic, she could come with me and ensure there were no communication issues.

While Super Sake Boy got all the kids sorted with packing and a Lawson breakfast, and being ready to leave after 10 days in Kyoto, I walked down to the clinic on the corner of Maki’s street. I have always looked at this clinic and thought it looked friendly and welcoming, and even though I was feeling average, I was happy for a new experience in Japan. I had Googled going to the doctor in Japan on the internet and the information was sketchy and mostly for foreign residents, not visitors. I had read it might cost anywhere up to $500, in cash, and I was not sure what to expect. Maki explained the doctor had done some of his training in America.

We got to the clinic and I filled out the form. I had not bought my passport, but they agreed to see me anyway, as I was with Maki. I noticed a certificate at the front counter that declared Kawaguchi-san, the doctor, was proficient in English for medical purposes. We waited for around 15 minutes, then went up to the surgery. It was super clean, white and sterile, save the cute little characters everywhere, Astro-Boy, Anpanman, and others. I am guessing to distract kids, but they were working pretty well on me, too. Kawaguchi-san had an ultrasound machine in his office and various other technology you don’t generally see in an Australian GP’s office. He listened to my chest, checked my throat, asked about my symptoms and declared I had a virus. He prescribed me some tablets.

I went downstairs, and the nurse came down with a little package for me, including the pills. I was relieved I was not going to have to fill a prescription, as time was becoming an issue. I paid the bill. Just over the equivalent of $50 AU including medication. Cheaper than at home. Maki and I walked home, and we were ready to go. Out the front to get two taxis, with six large suitcases and an always teary farewell. I jumped in the first cab with the girls. Super Sake Boy took the boys. All was going well, and we were ok for time, until I got out of the taxi and went to grab my phone, so I could co-ordinated where to meet. My phone was gone. I felt sick in the pit of my stomach. I wanted to cry. I had all the information for meeting people in Tokyo, the accommodation details, everything in my phone. Super Sake Boy arrived to me in a flurry of panic. Just as we were trying to figure out what to do, Maki came running up with my phone. I hugged her and thanked her, and she said I had left it at the clinic. She had run down to retrieve it, jumped in a taxi, and come to find me at the station. I have wonderful friends, and this amazing woman that I met on the other side of the world is a very special friend.

We were now a bit pressed for time, so up to the shinkansen platform, ready for a long, several train journey. Feeling out of it, and pretty toxic, I slept on and off all the way. We reached Nagasaki around 5pm. My first time in Kyushu. Everyone’s first time in Nagasaki. We quickly found our ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, only 10 minutes from the station. Super convenient, but Fujiwara-san, the owner had put us in one room and all four kids on futons in another. Our kids are all pretty big. I am the shortest in the family by a substantial amount. We negotiated a larger room, with a separating screen for the girls and the boys. We sat down for a bit and chilled out, looking at the information about Nagasaki, then we set off for dinner. We had read about a yakitori place that was close and was recommended. It was seriously delicious. Those that read often will know, I am a yakitori aficionado. I love it, and this place was really, really good. With all our favourites. We were all pretty happy.

After dinner, Super Sake Boy and I spied a sake shop just a few doors down from the restaurant. The kids were happy to watch the stray cats and the crabs while we did a quick reconnaissance. We walked in and we were greeted by a friendly little man, who was happy to help us find what we wanted. In the end he was groping around in the back fridge and pulled out a sake made by the very lovely Maiko-san, whom we had worked at Sake Matsuri with. I showed him a photo. He insisted on taking a photo of us. It was very funny. We vowed to return and headed back for some much-needed sleep. We had made a rough plan to head to Hashima Island the next day.

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