By Lauren DeCosta
As the air cools off and Aomori-land begins to feel more like Autumn, we get out of the season of welcome parties, and into a more relaxed busyness. As evidenced in our events column, there are tons of things going on throughout the prefecture in any given month, so no matter what sort of things interest you personally, you can pretty much always find something to enjoy. For example, the Gonohe Music Festival(GMF) that takes place in October. This brings me to this month’s wacky adventure story: my first (and so far, only) encounter with the Japanese police! (Don’t get too excited, I don’t get THAT crazy!)
For last year’s GMF a few of us over here on the west side of the prefecture decided to get together and carpool across to the other side. If you’ve ever driven on the Michinoku Toll Road, you’ll know that there are tunnels that you pass through along the way. If you haven’t driven along the road, that’s all you really need to know for this story. So, we’re driving along, generally enjoying ourselves, despite the bite of the autumn chill, and we enter the longest of the tunnels. About half way through one of the tires blows, but it was subtle enough that we don’t notice right away and keep driving a little bit. Once we notice that, yes, the car is making a noise it shouldn’t be, the driver slowly, and safely, pulls over.
Now, because we drove on it for a little bit, the rim ended up a bit dented, and the driver couldn’t get the tire off to change it. We fight with it for a while, the other passenger tries to call road side assistance (who couldn’t seem to understand that we couldn’t give them land marks because we were in a tunnel), and I try messaging friends to ask what we ought to do. After a while a cop car rolls up. The officer gets out and asks us what happened, and then proceeds to try to help. He can’t get the tire off either. Somehow, in all the confusion, about two more cop cars show up with more help, and one larger truck like version of a cop car. After a few more people try to get the tire off, and realize that it’s useless as it is, one of the officers pulls what looks like a giant sledgehammer out of the truck-esque car and beats the rim back into the proper shape. Finally, we’re able to get the tire changed, and get out of the tunnel. After exchanging all of our information with the police for their report, we are good to go on our way. We missed at least half of the festival, but we made it there eventually. Plus, we got a fun story to tell all of our friends and family about.