Hooking up with Mavis is possibly one of the best things that has happened to me during my time in Japan. Deep into our honeymoon period, we are tearing it up all over town. I even thought I would be clever and take her to my last eyebrow threading appointment in Nishi-kasai AKA a place very far from central Tokyo when all you have is your legs to carry you. I thought it would take about an hour of concentrated love-making with Mavis to get there and thought, why not? I had nothing better to do that Friday night than get my brows lined up and take a monster bike ride.
Getting to Nishi-kasai from my side of town, I have to cross two rivers. Two! Here I thought I was living in a metropolis, who says there isn't nature a-plenty to enjoy. The way there was fairly uneventful but long, and things didn't start to look iffy until I was starting to cross the second bridge, which spans a wide big Bertha of a river. You would think with such a wide river, the footpath on the bridge would be ample but no, there was barely enough room for two bicycles to squeeze by each other and wouldn't you know it, the only crazy motherfuckers crossing the bridge were on two wheels. Have I mentioned that it was windy and dark? So I am pedalling for my life across this huge bridge, until I approach other bikers of course, when I have to slo-o-ow it down so that we can cross paths unscathed. It felt rather like a wild nature safari after my years of self-imposed confinement to concrete.
Pretty-browed and a short break later, I prepared for the journey back. Biking far and wide is fabulous as long as you remember that you must ultimately rely on your own two legs to get you back home. It was recommended that I take a different bridge on the way back, one with more girthal allowance, and as I headed to the first river, instructions on turning right or left were promptly carried away on the wind. Reaching the river, I automatically thought the bridge to my right was the one I had come over on and so I logically started towards the bridge to my left. "Left" is a bit of an understatement; "bridge way the fuck down river" would be a more fitting description. Away I pedalled, sometimes glancing down at the dark black river churning to my right. A yakata-bune made it's way down the river with its kitsch red lanterns swinging to the waves and as I looked across the river and saw nothing but low buildings and fog trimmed in hazy light, it occurred to me that I was very far from home, Toto. I couldn't see clusters of high buildings in Shinjuku, Shibuya or any other civilized hub. This caused me to pedal faster and with more purpose towards the bridge in front of me.
It was as I passed under the bridge with no on-ramp in sight that I started to feel a little nervous. I had been told explicitly that the river path led right onto the bridge and well, this huge bridge way over my head was not looking accessible from on top of Mavis's leather throne. I did the only logical thing to me at the time and began to pedal inland from the river, thinking that perhaps the on-ramp to the "bridge" started way over there where my eyes couldn't reach. Notice how I just used bridge in quotation marks? That's a little bit of foreshadowing right there, for as I got further and further from the river and into abandoned industrial area save for a lane of very fast cars, it began to dawn on clever me that perhaps there was no path over the "bridge" if you weren't in a car, or by the looks of it, an eighteen-wheeler truck. It was Sophie's choice trying to decide whether to keep going further in to find this path that frankly, was beginning to look as if it existed only in my head, or to turn around and go 30 minutes back to the bridge to my right. No one in the world knew where I was at that moment, so I decided to cut my losses and head back to the original bridge. Turns out, this "bridge" I had planned on crossing? It was a fucking highway.
It also turns out the original bridge wasn't the original bridge, but the one I was supposed to take on the way home to save myself the stress of playing chicken with other bikes. By this time, exhaustion was setting in and climbing up the bridge's steep incline, I was actually uttering the mantra "You are a strong powerful woman, you are a strong powerful woman", possibly out loud, to get me over to the other side. It was that or think about how not even the beau knew my whereabouts and if I didn't propel my ass home, I was going to be spending a night camped outside a Jusco (yes, that is how far out of Tokyo Nishi-kasai is).
Almost two hours and a regular coke (which I never drink) later, I made it back to my sweet sweet home and basked in the comfort that is feeling surrounded by concrete and department stores with things I cannot afford.