By Ciara Blount
A long time ago, I went to see a concert in Naruto, Tokushima. That year was the musicians’ tenth anniversary, and they’d made a concerted (ha!) effort to spread their tour out to more rural areas instead of sticking to the typical Tokyo-Osaka-Nagoya-Fukuoka-Sapporo route. They wanted to give their fans in rural areas a fairer chance to see them, which I thought was quite thoughtful of them. I was happy to give them my money.
Excited to see a brand new prefecture I’d never visited before, I took a highway bus from Kobe with a friend to Naruto. We promptly got lost, remained lost for about two hours, then finally arrived at the venue and thoroughly enjoyed the concert. We even got a wristband with the name of the prefecture on it to prove we’d done the thing.
When the concert ended around nine o’clock, we thought nothing of the reams of fans leaving by car. Rural place, lots of fans probably lived locally. We planned to take the train back to Kobe, and we’d passed the station earlier in the day (while we were being lost), so we just headed back in that direction. We were a little surprised by the small number of fans walking with us, but we figured everyone else just chose to drive. Or walk. We weren’t judging. Walking is free, and free is a great price.
Oh, hey, speaking of trains, wanna hear about the first time I learned about how early the trains stop in the countryside?
Heyyy, it happened during this story!
We got to the station and the bemused staff person there told us very kindly that the last train had departed about when the concert started. We realized with slow-dawning horror that everyone hadn’t just chosen to drive for funsies. It was more that unless one wanted to stay in Naruto overnight, you had options A) car, B) bus, or C) feet to get you back home. When we searched for a bus home, we found that there were still some scheduled to leave, but a lot of cleverer fans from our concert had already booked their tickets and filled them all.
So. That left us in a pickle of a situation.
Wanna hear how I found out that there’s a really nice Marriott hotel in Naruto, Tokushima?