One dreary evening in Kyoto, I tiredly got on a basu home. I’d gotten to know the bus system pretty well and there were a number of different buses that would stop near my home. After checking the number, I got on this bus jishin tappuri. I did not notice that the sign on front with the final destination was a different designation. If it was the right number, that was enough for me and Kyoto place names are diverse; the final stop was no concern of mine.
I snagged a seat by the mado and as it began to rain, I closed my eyes and just felt happy I had a seat. This was not always the case, especially on a rainy day. I dozed a bit, woke up, felt the scenery was a little unfamiliar, but after all, it was the right numbered bus. I still felt fine.
The jōkyaku were weeding out now and soon there were just a few of us left. The bus made a stop and the scenery was totally unfamiliar to me. What the heck? Suddenly I was the only jōkyaku left on the bus! The untenshu kept going and then pulled into a big lot with other buses and stopped. Now I was really on alert. And the untenshu had noticed me on the bus.
“Okyaku-sama, where are you going?”
I said I was headed to Hyakumanben. Had I missed my stop?
He explained that this bus wasn’t going there because it was shako-yuki. And I learned a new word. Oops.
So, what do you think happened next? I had no idea where I was and how far away I was. It was now dark out and it didn’t seem like an area where taxis would be found.
The bus driver was untroubled. He just started up the bus, turned around and drove me home! How embarrassing. I still wonder if he would have done this for anyone else, but at that time there weren’t that many foreigners in Kyoto and a Japanese person would have paid attention to the numerous announcements stating that the bus was SHAKO-YUKI. Live and learn…. And what a sweet guy, right?
- basu – バス bus
- jishin tappuri -自信たっぷり “with plenty of confidence.” jishin means confidence and tappuri means plenty of
- mado – 窓 window
- jōkyaku – 乗客 passenger
- untenshu – 運転手 driver
- Okyaku-sama – お客様 This is the polite way for someone to address a customer, be it in a store, hotel, or in my case, bus.
- Hyakumanben – 百万遍 A district of Kyoto where Kyoto University is located. It’s good for cheap dives and has a real student vibe to it.
- shako-yuki – 車庫行き the sign on the front of a bus (in this case) announcing it is heading for the garage and not necessarily doing the regular route since many routes are circular. Shako means garage and yuki in this case indicates the destination