In the end, it turned out that they didn’t trust us to drive our car. At first I was a little upset and pissed off about it, but visibly we’re obviously not in the best shape. I haven’t looked at my own face, but Risa and Ayako are noticeably skinnier, and they look like they’ve aged quickly in a short time. Kids shouldn’t have bags under their eyes… Apparently I don’t look much better after the lack of food, water and sleep. One of the SDF guys called Hiroshi drove our car. I wasn’t sure if it was Shinoda’s order or if he had offered himself, but either way it was kind. We are definitely feeling a bit rough.

It’s good to see Ayako chatting with someone actually. She has been really quiet lately, and the only people she tends to talk with are Risa and myself. Hiroshi and her sat up front and chatted. He doesn’t seem like the army type. He just seems like a quiet, slightly nervous or shy kind of guy, but there is a kindness about him. Ayako hasn’t been good at talking with the more macho SDF types, so I this is a good opportunity.

In the back seat, Risa lent against me and fell asleep, while I continued to use my phone with my free arm. While we were driving, I got a message from the woman at the Nagano ski resort. I’ll post it here and reply later.

Charlie, Risa and Ayako,

How are you doing? We’ve been reading about your pursuits. Very sorry to hear about Alex. Seemed like a really practical, level headed guy. Sure you guy miss him a lot and it’s pretty rough for you. Sorry to hear the castle didn’t work out either. Guys have had a time of it! If you come up to Nagano, you’re welcome to stay with us. Know it’s a bit far, but just want you to know the option is there.

Been in contact with the castle crew. The orphans they rescued seem to be doing alright, but they are in need of food. The guy I was messaging said he was gutted he couldn’t take you in, but the unexpected newcomers stretched them more than they had expected.

We’re doing okay up in the mountain, but with the  last of the snow clearing up, we’re a bit worried it’ll be easier for the infected to come up. Should be alright though. A bunch of us walked down (can’t use the snowmobile anymore…) to lower village to do some fishing the other day. Had been a real while since we had fish, and it was amazing. It was the first time some of the group had left the ski resort since this all started, so it was a good experience all round. Good to get away from the last of the mountain snow, and down into the freshness of spring.

Some of us are actually looking to move away from the mountain. It’s been good and safe and all of that, but it also feels too remote and isolated. I know, all of that has been ideal given everything that’s happening, but it would be nice to be able to bump into some new people. We’re a bit out of touch here, and as the Japanese news cycle seems to have kicked up a notch lately, we’re keen to know how much of it is true. Starting to send out little information gathering exhibitions. Know you haven’t had much of a chance to check the news so much, but the general theme is that things are on the mend. I’ll send you some links soon. You might want to share some of it on your blog, as it’s quite hard to believe. I can’t understand why they would say it if there wasn’t some truth to it.. Let me know what you think.

Stay safe and I really hope Tomogashima works out. Don’t think too badly about the castle crew. I’d say they have it rougher than they let on.

See you round.

– Hannah



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