“Destination Wedding,” by Ido Dooseman

Dec 10th, 2014 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Dear Auntie,

First of all, happy 80th birthday! I hope your social security check arrived. Guess what? Tim and I are having our wedding on August 20. And guess where we’re taking our vows? Koya-san, Japan! It’s the happiest place on Earth. It’s gonna be so cool. I know you’re comfy there in Kansas City, but I just know you’ll want to be with us, especially with Mom and Dad dead. Being at our celebration is kind of an honor, y-know.

You can use your Delta frequent flier miles if you have enough; otherwise cramped economy tickets are only $1202 each. Buy some knee guards in advance. Then, buy a JR (Japanese Railroad Pass) on-line, if you know how to do that, and they’ll send you a voucher.

To get to Koyo-san, you and Uncle Joe fly to Los Angeles, then take Chinese Air (Delta’s partner) to Kyoto via Taiwan. Spend the night at the Grand Hyatt; they just charge $362 a night. I recommend dinner at Niki-San’s Rest-O and have Kobe beef (not named for Kobe Bryant, but for cows who are fed beer, massaged with sake, and soothed with soft music.) The dinner is a little pricy ($550 for two), but it’s the best steak you’ll ever eat!

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After you’ve had a few hours rest from your nineteen hour flight, have the people at the hotel transfer your overnight bags to Koyo-San. They’re impossible to get on a train, especially with your and Uncle Joe’s awful arthritis.

Make a card that says “Train Station” in Japanese ahead of time and show it to the taxi driver, who probably won’t speak English. And don’t touch the taxi doors; they open automatically. And don’t tip. The cabbies consider a tip an insult. Funny, huh?

Enter the station and find the JR information office to exchange your voucher for a JR pass. If you have trouble finding the office, ask directions from anyone between 23-28, (they’re college grads and about the only ones who speak Anglais). They’re also pretty darned polite and some are cute.

Use your JR rail pass and travel to Nagoya. Take the 7:00 local train Hida #465 which arrives at Nagoya at 10:33. You’ll need to get up very early (like 5:00 a.m.), but it’s not every day your favorite and only niece gets married. At Nagoya, head downstairs. Make sure Uncle Joe’s cane is ready. Be careful, the twelve steps are totally crowded with men in identical, black suits and little kids in starched uniforms. Can you believe they ride the train in their own, no parents?

Now, follow the signs to Shinkansen and take Hikari #465 to the Shin Osake station at 11:11. I know the timing sounds tight, but you can buy sushi, noodles, or a green tea ice cream cone at the track level.

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The train will arrive exactly on time. Those folks put the Swiss and Germans to shame. If you haven’t eaten, have lunch at Shin Osaka station. (Eat the same, safe foods as above.) Around 12:00, follow the signs to the Central station. Exit Shinkansen station using your JR Pass and follow the signs to the subway (Midosuji or Red Line).

Purchase 4 subway tickets for 540 yen. If you can’t figure it out with all those darned, stupid coins, someone standing near you will quickly take the cash from your hands and put it in the machine.

Get on the subway by using ticket #1. Be sure to retrieve it as you exit the turnstile, or you’ll never get outa. Take the southbound track going in the direction of Tennoji, then travel seven stops to Namba station and follow the arrows. Okay, you’re almost halfway there!

Now, here is the itsy-bitsy tricky part. Use ticket #2 and proceed to your left between tracks #3 and #4. Locate your train on the electronic sign and proceed to that track. Take the Limited Express Koya #7, which departs Namba at 13:34 and arrives at Gokurakubashi 14:53. You won’t believe how fast the train goes. You can barely see there are no trees or bushes between the tiny houses.

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After arriving at Gokurakubashi, follow the signs in Japanese to the cable car. Isn’t that cool? Take the cable car up for about a half-hour. It’ll be a little scary with your acrophobia, but no one’s fallen out for at least a week. You arrive at Koyo-san at 15:03. After arriving at the station, go up the stairs to the exit and use ticket #3 to get out. Take Bus #5 (the sign on the bus will say Okunoi-mae.) Travel by bus to the temple. Exit at Ichi-no-hashi-guchi. That name is for real!

Oh, Tim is calling me. I’ll send you the other half of the details later.

Love, Franny.
Defenestration-Ido DoosemanIdo Dooseman is a freelance writer in freeway-insane L.A., but soon to hang his pigpie hat in Portland. A former TV wordsmith, he has also written plays concerning ethics (or lack of them) and altered perceptions. He’s put his computer keys to work for Walter Matthau and Jack Palance, but has never done one-arm pushups at the Oscars or at the YMCA. His last novel, while considered incredible and by his friends, didn’t get quite that response from literary agents. His wife Niki is a produced playwright and his daughter Alexa has also published here. You can bother Ido at Ido-Nik(at)earthlink(dot)net.

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