Here’s the story of how yours truly wandered around like a lost soul in the rain for 5 hours.
So, I took the overnight bus (About 6000 yen/person) at 9.10pm from Shinjuku Station, Tokyo, and after a very long, uncomfortable ride, I arrived at Osaka station at approximately 6 am. Do the Math.
The weather in comparison to Tokyo, was dreary. It was raining when I stepped out of the bus to collect my luggage, and on top of that, cold. Thankfully, we were dropped off at the bus stop right next to the station entrance. My first mission was to search for the control station so I could make my way to my Airbnb apartment.
Leaving Tokyo, my portable wifi was at two bars, my phone battery was at 70% or probably less, and I left it on airplane mode throughout my journey so that I’d have ample battery life and wifi to allow me to find my way to the apartment. Seems like I had it all planned out, but apparently not, as you’ll soon see. I even contacted my Airbnb host before my bus ride to inform him that I was on the way.
Well, good news, I found the station master and he told me how to change lines to Sakuragawa Station (which is where my apartment was). At that point, my Airbnb host was still not replying me with the information on how to check-in and so on. I mean I couldn’t blame him – it was 6am. Who’s awake?
Another piece of good news was I managed to make my way to Sakuragawa station without getting lost! Plus points for being able to navigate the train lines in Osaka at first try~
Still no reply from my Airbnb host. Basically I was stranded at the station at 7am, in the rain with no full address. Yours truly decided to follow the Google Map directions in the Airbnb information. It would have been a really good idea except, nothing was open and no one was about at that hour, so I practically had to wing it. I thought things were going well, for about half an hour at least. And then, my portable wifi died.
So I had to use my data. My heart was crying, but obviously I didn’t want to get stuck in the rain forever. I asked for directions from a couple of people, and they seemed to know what they were doing, so I just lugged my duffel bag along and walked, and walked and walked for what seemed like forever.
Still no reply from the Airbnb host.
So, this lady told me, walk straight till you come to a junction and then turn left. I was like oh okay this seems easy enough. So I did. Until the junction became a highway to nowhere and I was like “I’m screwed.”
At that point, I was at some weird government looking building, so I took this flight of stairs down an underpass hoping it’d lead me somewhere. It led me to a different train station – JR Namba station. Of course i asked the station master where the street on my google maps was showing, he simply said “This is not full address”.
He gave me another set of directions that sent me off back in the direction where I walked from, on the opposite side of the road. I did. I followed that. Google Maps seemed to be making more sense. I thought, yes! Finally, i’m going to get to my apartment.
Anddddd I ended up in a warehouse district. I found an apartment. Just not mine. By then, everything was dying on me. My wifi first. And then my phone. And I was taking refuge in a random person’s apartment building in this warehouse district.
I tried in vain to inform the person at the door (he was an old Japanese man who spoke no English) that “Hey, i’m lost. No idea where i am. Is this the correct postal code?” And apparently it was. So Google Maps was wrong the whole time.
My saving grace was a Nepalese man who spoke little to no English; still, he spoke English. He took me upstairs to the laundry room and let me charge my phone and my wifi device there amongst all the washing machines. Guess there’s a first time for everything?
In the end, he took me to the police station and even the policemen didn’t speak English, but thankfully the Nepalese man spoke Japanese. We had to play detective and find the building that the Airbnb picture was showing. He took me halfway and had to leave for work, but I was grateful anyway.
In the end, I decided to go to the nearest station Namba, dump my duffel in a coin locker and roam around the malls till 5pm when I would meet my friend for dinner. It was 10am at that point.
11.30 am. Airbnb host finally replied. He mistook me for 3 different people before he finally gave me my apartment address and check-in details. I took the train back to Sakuragawa station.
Plot twist: Apartment was right next to the Sakuragawa station exit where I was first at, at 7am.