I normally don't care much for weddings, but I thought that this time it would be different.
Two of the folks from our local pickup basketball league were getting married, and we were invited as part of a group that would sing a surprise song for them. The people in the basketball group have never been anything but kind and welcoming towards us foreigners, so in return it was an easy decision to participate.
After the main ceremony and dinner, we'd surprise them in the chapel and sing a song complete with guitar and piano parts. Sure the lyrics were a little syrupy, but that's what you get at weddings after all. After that, we would all go out for karaoke, bingo, food and drinks.
It was a warm, spring-like day in the middle of winter. You couldn't have asked for better weather. I met up with Ryan and we got on our way to the wedding in Usuki. About halfway there, we're jamming out listening to Sublime, got the windows down, and then... "Do you hear that?"
There could be no doubt, when the sound is repeating at a regular interval like that. Something was wrong with one of the tires. We pulled over to check, and sure enough there was about an inch-long screw that had been embedded in the right rear tire. It was hissing air and not looking good, and we had a wedding party to attend to. Oh, crap.
Then I look up, and immediately across the street, there's a car garage. In the middle of nowhere, that's no gimme. It was just crazy that where we parked was literally across the street from a possible solution. There's still some air in the tire, so we drive over there to check it out, and... nobody's home. We walk around, and finally I belt out an "excuse me" in my least threatening Japanese.
This really old guy shuffles out of the back. Maybe he'd been fixing cars since after the war even. We explain our situation, and he says, "You got 10 minutes?" We're like, OK, he'll call a truck or something, and then they'll be here. But no, he jacks up the car, sits down, and gets right to work on the tire. A couple of neighbors show up to see why there are these foreigners standing around in suits. He puts some gunk in the tire, messes around with it here and there, and then it's good to go. How much? Oh, fifteen bucks (1500 yen). It was less than 10 minutes.
Thanks to his Yoda-like tire skills, we're back on the road in no time. We show up, the song goes as planned, and everyone has a great time singing karaoke and playing bingo for silly prizes.