July 29 2019
The Perilous Lifestyle of a ‘Japan – 100 Hidden Towns’ Contributor – CHAPTER 2 – Aquaplane In The Playground Of Pain
Awakening to the cool, refreshing summer air of Japan’s northernmost island, myself and Jon – designated driver and chief photographer for this, our ‘Hokkaido Road Trip’ – stumbled out into a morning mist left by a night of restorative drizzle over the quiet, sleepy town of Yuni, and located our hire car in the extensive hotel parking area, in order to continue our research for the book, Japan – 100 Hidden Towns.
Ready to hit the highways and byways of Hokkaido’s highlands, we eased ourselves into our rented mechanical stallion, and punched our next port of call into the navi system.
However, a little niggle, an unscratched itch, remained… Shouldn’t we just check out the panoramic viewpoint beside the hotel, just above that children’s playground?
Of course we should!
So, an abrupt stop, and a clamber out of the car to see what we can see.
Which is nothing. A pea souper. Minimal visibility. A dead end. A waste of time. Occlusion. Oh well…
Mind you… that slide in the children’s playground looks pretty cool… long, high… fun! Shame not to give it a go.
Jon has his big camera with him, so declines my suggestion – a quick descent before we hit the road.
Thus, all alone, confidently, perhaps even cockily, I ascend the steps of the brightly-painted slide and, with nary a care in the world, launch myself onto the slide’s glistening metal surface…
…Soaking wet with morning rain, glistening?
..Soaking wet with acceleration-inducing, deceleration-preventing, morning rain, glistening?
What happens next, happens so quickly that I don’t even have time to shriek, and Jon doesn’t have time to catch the lightning-fast action with his camera – for which I remain grateful to this day.
Suffice to say, there was carnage, a pathetic coup de grace… in soaking wet grass. With painful bruises. And even the odd drop of blood. The blood of a 47-year-old manchild. I want to cry, but need to retain at least a shred of dignity. Bravely, I return to the car, and I say nothing else about the matter.
Jon expresses concern for my injuries. I gruffly shoo away his fussing.
And then Jon starts the car, and spends the entire day’s journey quietly laughing to himself. At me. Again.