I was in Japan for the first time on a work trip in 2005 and a colleague who had been there before wanted to stop off at this Starbucks before we reached the office. I had only been out of the United States once before (to China), and am always a little befuddled by travel even in the US, so I was still rather out of sorts. But this Starbucks turned out to be strangely familiar. Not the store itself, I don’t drink coffee and to this day don’t know what all those coffee terms mean, but while waiting on my friend I heard someone call out my name. I turned and saw it was one of my colleagues from Tokyo, I didn’t know we were so close to the office, and suddenly I felt more at ease.
It was a fun trip and on my last day, about to head to the airport from Ueno Park, someone actually stopped me and asked for directions to the zoo. Directions I was able to give! I can’t even give proper directions to most places in Portland, my sense of geography is terrible, but I had passed the zoo on the way to the park from the train and was able to help this couple find their way.