Chiba was a silver lining that came up in my travels because I never thought I'll be visiting Chiba, or even heading over to Japan again if not for Chiba and her aunt's hospitality. She picked me up at the airport when I just arrived, spotting in the Hoki overalls, I could also see her Makuhari Denim jacket, which's been unbuttoned over her Kawamura strip shirt. Her Keisei earrings were very prominent as well, but it wasn't as bright as her smile when I saw her waving, her smiley eyes and her cheerful glee.
She hosted me in her aunt's place, whom I dearly addressed as Aunt Funabashi, a very nice lady. Together with her husband Ken-san, they stayed in a humble 2 storey apartment that I called home for the next 3 days.
The weather and timing didn't allow for us to head over to the southern bay over at the beach, however, Chiba decided to bring me a dash of luxury by inviting me to a high tea session with her Aunt at her Hotel, and also a trip to her favourite theme park.
"Breakfast on you! since you took more than 15minutes for your make up!", I said jokingly.
"Breakfast on me and dinner's on you~!", she chirpily retorted and started running towards the bus stop.
It was a very different style of travel from what I expected, and for once I was more comfortable than comfortable. Chiba also made the best sandwiches! Together with a cup of hot americano.
"Come come", she started dragging me around the huge theme park that has different worlds and universe sprawled across the huge distant lands.
"I'm... not very good with rides", I said in a burst of nervous laughter.
"C'mon! okay then let's go for space mountain okay?", she said and laughed.
"S-space mountain?!", that name doesn't sound kiddish to me. I was thinking among the league of spinning teacups.
"Yes yes! it's all dark anyway"
"Ohhh okay, then I guess it's fine?", at least it's enclosed and so far I'd done okay with those.
"You're really weird haha! you know the tracks are still there even if you can't see them right?!"
"Yeah... but because it's all dark so I'm less scared"
"That's... a good skill to have HAHAHHA"
The ride was crazy... just kinda made the one back at home seem like a kiddy ride in hindsight.
"Here try this, we have a variety of popcorn here! this one is curry flavour! nice?!", she started feeding me popcorns randomly.
"Mmmm, woah, this tastes great!", the burst of flavours came after I started chewing, and the way the curry blend with the Popcorn.
"I know! before that, people didn't know curry and popcorn can go well together, but if you never try, you never know... RIGHTTTT?!", she said before stuffing more popcorn into my mouth.
"You know... my father always told me that I'm a princess, and that... like a fairytale, someone would come and "save" me", Chiba said as she looked around at the theme park. I believe this is a huge fairytale book that her father had written for her. The beautiful whimsical worlds and theme that lays across this huge place, the people who're ever happy, like we're always in the "happily ever after".
"Hmmm", I made the sound as I was chewing the mouthful of popcorn.
"But... I think I can save myself, you know", she smiled at me and said.
The princesses of the different palace began to parade across the theme park, waving at the crowd, while the other dancers follow suit, throwing confetti. It's like a festival to get lost and happy in.
"There there", I said and I waved at the huge moving carriages that slowly waltz through the park.
Chiba smiled and waved too, then she said, "And I don't think I look like them".
"Well, I'd like to believe that you do", I replied, with my eyes still fixated on the parade, waving and vlogging the moment down. "Smile!", I flipped my camera towards her and said!
"Hey!", she smiled for abit before blushing and pushed my hands away.
"Everything aside, I think... I believe that we can save ourselves."
"My parents always think that I'm still a kid, and moreover I'm their daughter, so they always feel that females are weaker... and need saving..."
"And the princesses don't help"
"Exactly! Love stories and fairytales too"
"Yes... always the damsels in distress, eh"
"I'm going to write one where the female will do the saving", she said, this time looking at me with some fire in her eyes.
"Please show me when you're done okay!", I nodded and smiled at her.
We spent dinner and the night talking for abit more, bouncing ideas off Chiba's fairytale to show her family and people around her that she's stronger than she seems, and I shared my collectives and writing with her as well. It is indeed bizarrely intimate to share writing, but I guess, sometimes, it is easier for us to share with familiar strangers, than long time friends.
We spent the next few days cafe hopping, doing abit of window shopping for Chiba's family, and I decided to do some for mine too. Temple hopping, getting some charms that'll bless them and keep them safe.
"Hey!! I didn't even tease you for Tokyo yet!"
"Oh please, she told us all about you. And you'll be visiting her soon right?"
"Yes, I'll see her before I leave Japan"
"Okay!....", she looked at me sheepishly
"Whatttt", I looked away, this time I'm alittle too embarrassed.
"Hey! it's okay to fall-"
"It's not what it looks like", I said with my hand ruffling the back of my head.
"Hmmm, just don't forget the rest of us! You'd got a whole lot writing for every one of us right?", she said referencing to my "Her" collective.
"Of course, I won't forget you guys!", I looked at her sincerely and smiled.
"You better! Now go, before it's late!", she said awhile ushering me up to the bus.
I laughed to myself at how my heart skipped a beat. I guess, this is how going home feels like... right?