Raher than rent a car, we decided Cliff would carry everything. He stuffed the contents of his daypack into his main backpack, then donned the now sixty-pounder. Next, he hoisted my pack in front, covering his chest and stomach. With one free hand, he clutched my daypack. The poor boy looked like a pregnant dromedary on its hind legs, forced to carry a daypack. Every time he moved, he clanked and rattled.
“What is that?” he demanded, prevented from tugging his beard by the pack slung across his stomach.
I could hardly say, “Twenty-one pounds of ineffectual potions in individual glass bottles.”
We took the train to Shikoku, the smallest of the four Japanese islands, met our friend, and continued to the next island south, Kyushu. Cliff bought me a cane. Crossing the entirety of Kyushu to Nagasaki, we stayed at Minshuku Fumi. Minshuku are family-run inns, but Minshuku Fumi was run by one extremely sweet guy. He told me his surname several times, but between the Nagasaki dialect and the incessant throbbing in my foot, it wouldn’t stick. I thought of him as Mr. Fumi.
Cliff thought I should ask Mr. Fumi if they might have a wheelchair at our primary destination, the Gembaku Shiryo-kan, referred to by everyone but the guidebooks as the A-bomb Museum. As soon as my sentence hit the word I didn’t know, “wheelchair,” I mimed rolling myself along.
“Kuruma isu?” asked Mr. Fumi.
Kuruma is Japanese for “car.” Isu means, “chair.” I grinned and parroted, “Kuruma isu.”
Mr. Fumi clapped with delight. “Your Japanese is so good!”
(Dramatic music) Again with the dramatic music? Feh. Post more mishegas, already, so I can get to my early-bird dinner.