As my school term has been progressing, each day I have been improving my journey (both in terms of time and route) to school. I started by taking the easiest routes for the first few days. The last thing I wanted to do was to lose my way and end up in Kobe. The first two days it took me slightly more than forty minutes, but I was chuffed as I successfully completed my expedition and managed to arrive at school on time to boot. (Looking at it from arm's length, I find it interesting how one's measures of success change in a foreign land.)
By the end of the first week I managed to cut the time down to about thirty five minutes or so. In an effort to further decrease my commuting time, I thought I might find a (proverbial) shortcut. The first such likely spot to get noticed is the ruins of Naniwanomiya, which if I recall correctly is the site of a former emperor's palace. It is now a large park, and I thought I might jaunt diagonally across it (doing my best to recall my grade ten math and put Pythagoras' theorem to use).
So this morning (after doing a little preliminary scouting) I attempted the shortcut. At first everything went swimmingly, there were no stairs for me to negotiate, the park had a beautiful walkway for me to ride on. But then after making my way through most of the grounds, the stone walkway just ended. Well I didn't let it deter me and I proceeded up the grassy knoll, only to find a fence. I turned to follow along the fenceline, and encountered a number of temporary shelters where homeless people were still catching a few zzzs in the warm morning sunshine. I tiptoed through the slumbering folk and managed to drop my bicycle off the edge of a four foot wall, (with me jumping down after it), to the amusement and stares of several pedestrians. I found myself back in familiar territory.
It was indeed a proverbial shortcut, and left me to bust my hump to make up some time.