In 2002, I was riding my bike along the Rhine river Germany in June bymyself. That day, I left Bonn in the later morning and inchng my way to Cologne. I knew that it’s not a long way to ride a bike to there, so I enjoyed riding my bike at a slow pace.
Suddenly, it started raining cats and dogs. There was no shelter around so I rode my bike so fast to find a place to escape. In that desparate moment, I passed another guy like me on the bike but I wasn’t paying attension to him. Soon, it stopped raining and I was almost at the city limt of Cologne. After the rain, I remember there were so many slugs crawling on the bike road and they were so yuky. I maneuvered not to ride through them and that time, I already entered Cologne.
After one hour ride, I was able to check in at the youth hostel in Cologne and started unpacking and hanging my wet T shirt and socks to dry in my dormitory.
Half an hour later, one Asian looking guy entered into my dormitory with a large backpack. He looked at me for a second and suddenly asked “Are you Japanese?” I said “Yes” then he asked “You passed me by bike earlier” I was not sure but I thought I saw him before entering Cologne, so I answered “Oh, that was you! What a coinsidence that two Japanese guys were riding bikes on the same day to the same distination!” We shook hand and introduced each other.
That night, we had dinner together. We talked a lot because both of us wanted and missed speaking Japanese at that time. We were both backpacker from Tokyo area Japan and just started traveling Europe by bike. He was solo traveler that time but he was going to see his Japanese girlfriend coimng to France in three months.
He showed his little knitted teddy bear kind of like a lucky charm. He said” My girlfriend gave this to me at the airport” I said “that’s good” He added “She said please have this with me and when I feel lonley see this and feel her” I said “That’s so sweet of her” he continued” lastly she said if I had really really big trouble that can’t do anything bymyself, open this teddy bear and see what’s inside” He passed his little bear to me. It was a cute littele knitted bear but I could feel something hard inside and back of it there was a part that someone obviously put something from there and stiched back. I asked with full of curiosity “You want to open it? ” He said”No, I’m not going to open it and hope I will not have to open it until I see her in France” I said “Why not? If I were you I would have opened on my first day” but he insisted that this is their promise and better not opening it. “I guess it’s…… money….? sort of emergency money!” he said “She is not that kind of person. I’m sure it’s not money” I was so curious to know what’s inside” Let’s open it!” he said”definitely no” he looked serious about it, so I stopped teaseing him and changed the topic.
We traveled togeter after all for a month. I concluded that he can’t be my best friend because of his personality but it was really interesting to spend some time with him. We had lots of weired incidents and happenings but luckly or not he didn’t have to open his teddy bear for help. We parted at Amsterdam. He went down to France to see his girlfrind and we promised to see each other in Tokyo in the future.
The next year, I was somehow able to contact and see him again back in Tokyo. We talked about our trip in Europe and his trip with his girlfriend after words. A couple of hours passed quickly and we decided to go home. His direction was opposite so I said see you again to him but I knew that I won’t see him again. Suddenly, I remembered, last question to him.
“Hey! Do you remember your teddy bear? Did you open it?”
“Off course not!