Home is where the discount is.

Last month low-cost airline Peach began a promotion in which people could get discounts on airfare to certain location in Japan. These locations, however, were determined randomly by the turn of a capsule machine.

Mr. Sato took the plunge and got a trip to Oita in return. However, he wasn’t the only writer who tried and was joined by colleague Mariko Ohanabatake who drew Nagasaki. Normally this would be a disappointment because Mariko is originally from Nagasaki, but since COVID-19 had kept her away for the past two years, it would be a very welcome return.

She decided to surprise her family and talked to them on the messaging app LINE as if she were still in Tokyo, saying that she would be out in the field for the day working on an article, but was secretly making sure they would be home when she popped in unannounced. Certain that her family was at home, Mariko rang the door bell and shouted “Taroimo!” into the intercom. “Taroimo” is her family’s own variation of the standard Japanese greeting “Tadaima!” which translates to “I’m home!”

He mother opened the door in shock and stared at her daughter face-to-face for the first time in two years with a look of disbelief. The first words out of her mouth were “What happened?! Did you quit your job?!”

Mariko explained what had happened and spent the rest of the day catching up with her family. Already the luck of the draw had paid off immeasurably, but this was only half of Mariko’s adventure.

Much like Mr. Sato in Oita, Mariko was given a special “mission” that gave her a chance of winning an additional 3,000 Peach Points valued at 3,000 yen (US$27). To complete the mission she would have to go to Glover Garden, a very well-known landmark to locals like her, but also often considered just a typical park. This garden was originally part of a settlement for foreigners in Japan during the Meiji Period and as a result mixes Western and Japanese architecture, and it’s in a beautiful location overlooking Nagasaki Port.

According to her voucher, Mariko’s mission was to find an “unusual fortune” on the grounds of the garden. Although she had been here many times, she was surprised to not know what the paper was referring to.

After paying the 620 yen (US$5.45) admission, she decided to search for this “unusual fortune” on her own. She could have just asked the staff, but since she already had a home-field advantage she decided to make a challenge of it.

First she consulted a map but was surprised. She never realized how big this place is before.

Without knowing exactly where to go, Mariko found herself wandering into sections of Glover Garden that she had never seen before. The weather was also perfect on this autumn afternoon, and you couldn’t have asked for a better time to visit a place like this. Whoever made this the travel mission really knew what they were doing.

Mariko used to use this garden for taking casual strolls but never really looked around it. It wasn’t until she saw it through the eyes of a tourist that she began to appreciate the small details, and that is how she found her “unusual fortune.”

▼ “Glover Garden Koi Fortune Telling”

To play, Mariko purchased a tub of fish pellets and a piece of paper with her lucky color of koi. According to the paper, by getting that colored koi to eat her pellets, her fortune shall come true. In her case she got the red and white koi with a fortune that felt almost too on the nose for her particular situation.

She tossed in her pellets, aiming for the red and white fish each time, and wished for better days ahead. When she walked back through the park, she noticed a lot of other people out and about as well. After the past two years it was a bit of a strange sight to behold, but a promising one too.

There are some valid complaints one could make about Peach’s campaign. The random capsule itself costs 5,000 yen, and you only get a guaranteed minimum discount of 6,000 yen and a chance at winning 3,000 yen more. However, it did get Mariko on that plane and back to her home and family after a long period of isolation, and for that she was extremely grateful.

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]