This is part of a series of posts about my thoughts and my experiences through the KOSEN-Joint Polytechnic startup program.

And the professor from the KOSEN wanted the students to work into the night on their projects. He was worried about the discipline of the students, or should I say, the lack of it. They came back late the night before, leading them to be late for the next morning’s program. They came back more than 40 minutes late after lunch that day! In fact, the night before, I understood that one of the Singapore students need to be carried back because he didn’t wear sufficient clothing for the cold night. I heard that his legs went numb and he was unable to walk properly. Hence, the professor want the students to deliver something by tonight.

“You should never be late in Japan,” as my friend, K, would put it.

But they were late and very late. Hence, on the night where I planned to meet K who I hadn’t met for eight years, I was left with no choice but to literally steal some time from dinner and do an ultra-short meetup instead. The students had to work in the night, and hence, it’s my duty to be with them .

“I think we could only meet for about an hour, sorry for the hassle,” I typed into the Facebook chat.

I departed from the hostel and headed towards Sangubashi station alone and tapped in with the newly bought Suica card. I intended to reach Shinjuku a bit earlier, in hope that K might end his meeting earlier and will be able to meet earlier too.

Walked around Shinjuku a bit.

Ended up at Kinokuniya…

I thought I promised myself not to buy anymore Japanese Language assessment or guide books but I bought one anyway. As I waited for K…

He did reach early!

We spent the precious hour at a Japanese pasta restaurant.

And it seems that both of us landed in a teaching job!

What’s magical about meeting old buddies is that even though we hadn’t met for a long time, our frequency remained the same.

And an hour was of course not enough…

That moment we part, where I had to hurry back to the train station to get back to my students, I couldn’t help but felt a tinge of poignancy flowing through my eyes.

As the train departed from Shinjuku station…

The commuters who stood silently in the train…

The lonely walk back to the hostel…

The coldness of the March winds blowing in my face…