Directionally challenged in the East China Sea

They say you learn the most about your partner when you’re abroad. Strange foods, foreign landscape, don’t speak the language…. really brings out the best in yah.

Tate often takes the lead as navigator, partly because he claims to find it “fun” to look at maps (freak), partly because he knows if he lets me lead we will inevitably wander along every which way, stopping to gander at anything and everything and that’s basically the antithesis of a good time in his eyes.

It’s not that I don’t know how to get from point A to point B without interruptions, it’s just that I enjoy a detour or two along the way. The scenic route, if you will.

Anyways, the point of this story is that once we landed in Ishigaki we rented a car. Naturally, if you can’t speak, read or write Japanese, why WOULDN’T you operate a motor vehicle on the “wrong” side of the road, where you can’t even decipher street signs, stop signs, or a basic understanding of local traffic laws.


I digress.

After climbing into our manual-transmission tiny Cookie Monster of a car, buckling up and backing out Tate asks me to direct us to the hotel. Sure, we’ve got a pocket-wifi and two iPhones with Maps, but my ever-observant self notices the GPS in the dash and tap-tap-taps it to wake it up. Apparently, and unfortunately, some predetermined location was already loaded into the system and suddenly this Japanese voice (at volume 37) starts reprimanding us in what I can only imagine is “Turn around. Turn around. Rerouting. Rerouting. Turn around. Rerouting”

I immediately lose my shit and start cracking up, meanwhile my Christopher Columbus of a fiancé is over in the driver’s seat trying to shift with the opposite hand, drive on the opposite side of the road, and slowly but surely feeling the VERY opposite of love for me.

I quickly shutdown my giggle fit, and tried aimlessly to turn off the navigation but by that point we were committed to TomTom’San. There was no quieting it up and we were in for the long haul. A tiny island has never seemed so daunting until a condescending Japanese computer is yelling at you at every turn.


Takeaway message: whilst modern vehicles offer an array of life-simplifying technology, tis best to avoid when not in your native tongue.  Your relationship will thrive pending you heed my advice. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s