Was it a right turn, or a left? I had no idea. I’d drawn a little stick like map believing that it would be all I needed, but, I’d totally fucked up. I tried to remember the original that I’d copied it from but it was useless.

In my defence, how was I to know the train station had more than one exit on both sides of the road. The last three stops had all been underground so I had totally lost my bearings and final direction of travel. Fuck.

I stared in vain at the little chicken feet scratching of an attempt at a map trying to recall if I’d had drawn it to any sort of scale. Knowing me I knew I wouldn’t have. Fuck fuck.

I remembered looking at the original with an idiotic nonchalance, “Yeah, yeah, out the station, turn left, third street over, follow it for a mile, right and the second left.” I remembered saying it. I had even made little notes beside the shoddily scribbled map, ‘L, 3st, 1 mile, r, 2nd L.’

What fucking use was it. If I had come out the wrong exit of the station on the wrong side of the road, then that first left could turn into a first right.

I’d just have to go for it. Pick one way, follow the directions and, if it ended up wrong, hope I could trace my route back to here.

It was the last train into the suburbs of Kyoto and there was not a soul about to ask. All of the fancy automation meant that most of these outlying stations were unmanned. Most people thought that no one would obviously be that stupid to turn up in the middle of a new town with no idea of where they were meant to go. But there I stood with my stick insect map, pained expression and little to no knowledge of the area.

If I had cash I could have just found the nearest ryokan or capsule hotel and bedded down until morning, but at half twelve at night, no disposable money and a desperate wife waiting for me, all I could do was pick a direction and follow it.

Both ways looked as dark and dreary as the other and with the rain beginning to fall harder I pulled my Disney poncho hood up, let out a ‘tut’ and a sigh and said,” Fuck it, let’s keep it left, proceeding to follow my original guidelines.

Head down against the rain, my gaze averted from my potentially wrong journey, I followed it to the last turn where, with a huge sigh of relief, my final left turn brought me out on the street I was looking for. The caravan quietly parked under a streetlamp.

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